Research Article

Preparing Content Teachers to Work with Multilingual Students

Kara Viesca & Annela Teemant
January 2019 | The Handbook of TESOL in k-12

Published in the Handbook of TESOL in k-12, this chapter “provides a sense of the issues, research, and practices that shape what we know while identifying fruitful directions for deepening the knowledge-base for preparing k-12 content teachers for multilingual learners”. The authors assert that political ideologies and context are key considerations when preparing content teachers for multilingual students. Additionally, the authors find through systematic review of the literature several emergent best practices towards effective multilingual teaching, which are as follows: 

  • create conditions for multi-language learners to bring their full linguistic repertoires (e.g., translanguaging) in the classroom,
  • engage in linguistically responsive teaching across content areas,
  • shift content on multilingual learners in teacher education from deficit orientation to capacity orientation,
  • develop teachers’ perception of non-English language use as a right and not a privilege 
  • increase teacher collaboration to improved planning and practice for content teachers working with multilingual students, and
  • embody critical sociocultural perspectives such as standards for effective pedagogy, funds of knowledge, equitable mathematics, critical literacy, and critical pedagogy in urban schools.


The article concludes with a review of practical applications and outlines future directions of TESOL in k-12.