Inside IES Research

Notes from NCER & NCSER

Asking Questions about Dyslexia

National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) recognizes the important role people with disabilities play in a diverse and inclusive American workforce. In recognition of NDEAM, we asked IES predoctoral fellow, Rachelle Johnson, how having a learning disability impacts her career development as a researcher. Rachelle, a PhD student and FIREFLIES fellow at Florida State University, researches the role various factors play in the reading development of students with learning disabilities, with a focus on socioemotional and environmental factors.

What inspired you to become an education researcher?

Being dyslexic, I grew up in special education and in pull-out reading intervention groups. Because dyslexic students were often in the same classes and pull-out groups, we formed an informal community of understanding and acceptance. But as I progressed through school, I noticed the makeup of my classmates changed.  My dyslexic classmates had spread out—a couple were in advanced placement, many were in regular classes, others still in mainly special education classes, and many in a mix of class types. And many of us came back together for inclusion English class. Among us we had vastly different goals for the future. I was in some advanced placement classes and was looking at going to university, while many of my dyslexic friends were just trying not to drop out of high school. In noticing these wide individual differences among my learning disabled (LD) peers, I wanted to know what differentiated us. Why had some of us gone onto high achievement and some didn’t when we all started out in that same reading intervention pull-out room?

To figure out these answers, I started to read what I could on dyslexia and began attending local conferences on learning disabilities. In doing so, I became frustrated because the people I saw talking about dyslexia were not LD themselves and often I was the only “out” LD person in the room. Even though I was still in high school, I decided I wanted to be the one to find the undiscovered answers to my questions about the factors involved in creating differentiated outcomes among learning disabled people. And I wanted to write about and tell people what I found and have that information help my LD community. What I was trying to find the word for was research, but I didn’t know that was a career option.

When I described my questions about learning disabilities to the PI whose lab I started working in as a research assistant my first semester in college, she encouraged me to pursue a career as a LD researcher. She showed me that answering questions was what researchers do and that being a researcher was a career option for me. Today, I continue to research the same overarching research question that I had in early high school: what factors play into the individual differences in academic outcomes among LD students?

What have been some challenges you have faced as a learning disabled person in academia?

A big challenge I often came up against in my early career was how “out” I was going to be about being disabled. I was told that if people knew I was disabled I would never get hired, no one would take me as a PhD student, and that I was just setting myself up for discrimination. However, part of why I started pursuing research was because I didn’t see LD people being represented and given a voice in conversations on LD. I decided to go against the advice of those around me and disclose my disability. I knew I would not be able to hide my disabilities well and that if I was going to thrive in an environment I would need to disclose. Also, my disabilities are central to my identity, and I didn’t want to hide that important part of myself. It is important to me to be the representation I desperately wanted. 

Another challenge is that there is pressure to “be disabled but not too disabled.” When people first meet me, they often talk about my dyslexia in the past tense, like it is something that I overcame in elementary school. However, I did not overcome my dyslexia. Dyslexia is a lifelong disability and one that is very much still a part of my daily life. Reading is still an issue for me and will always be. I rely heavily on assistive technology such as text-to-speech to read academic articles.

What supports have been the most helpful to you in your academic career?

I have had many great mentors, both current mentors at Florida State University and past mentors in and out of research. My mentors never expected anything less from me due to my disability and were also willing to talk with me through different barriers and find solutions together without lowering the expectations.

As a person with a learning disability, what advice would you give education researchers who focus on students with learning disabilities?

Be sure to actively involve LD people in your research. A small proportion of people researching LD are LD themselves. Help by mentoring the next generation of LD researchers by taking on LD mentees.

What advice would you give students with learning disabilities who wish to pursue a career in education research?

Sometimes, it can be scary thinking about going into a field such as education research, especially if you are not expected to do well.  I have actively sought a career that relies on skills that I have disabilities in. However, even if the field of education research was not structured with disabled people in mind from the beginning, that does not mean that the LD and otherwise disabled community do not belong there. Imposter syndrome happens, but you do belong in those spaces.

Community is so important inside and outside academia and inside and outside disability. I have had many mentors who have supported me. My learning-disabled community outside of academia has always been there for me and that is a cherished part of my support system. Whether that be just friends or someone to help problem solve when my assistive technology is malfunctioning. But it is also important to be involved in disability community as a whole, not just limited to LD. And the level of disclosure and outness of disability is a personal choice for everyone. But I have found that in being out as disabled at least I am not also hiding a big part of my identity and it helps in finding other disability community members to make connections.


This year, Inside IES Research is publishing a series of interviews (see herehere, and here) showcasing a diverse group of IES-funded education researchers and fellows that are making significant contributions to education research, policy, and practice. 

Rachelle Johnson is a proud dyslexic with ADHD. She has been in learning disabled spaces all her life and is actively involved in learning disability research, outreach, and activism. Rachelle is currently a developmental psychology Ph.D. student and FIREFLIES fellow at Florida State University, where she researches reading development and learning disabilities within the Florida Center for Reading Research. She is also a member of the Board of Directors and the Young Adult Leadership Council of the National Center for Learning Disabilities. The goal of both her research and activism is to create a world where learning disabled people are understood, supported, and reach their potential in life.

This blog post was produced by Katina Stapleton (Katina.Stapleton@ed.gov), NCER program officer and co-chair of the IES Diversity Council.

Helping People with Disabilities Achieve their Employment Goals

National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is held every October to raise awareness about disability employment issues and celebrate the contributions of workers with disabilities. This year, we asked Dr. David Mann, a senior researcher at Mathematica and alumni of our University of Pennsylvania predoctoral training program, to share his journey as a researcher with a physical disability as well as his current research on vocational rehabilitation.

As a person with a physical disability, how have your background and experiences shaped your scholarship and career?

Having a disability has profoundly shaped my scholarship and career. My research focuses on the employment, benefit receipt, and health of children and working age adults with disabilities. My interest in those topics is rooted in my own experience as a person with a disability. Before my injury and subsequent disability, I had limited interest in disability awareness or policy. But after joining the disability community, I came to appreciate the importance of generating evidence that can empower people with disabilities to live the lives they want. More personally, I view my disability and the insight it provides as a critical component of who I am.

What sparked your interest in education research?

My interest in education research is rooted in my personal experience. I acquired my disability at age 14, just after finishing the eighth grade. I was taught at a young age that education is critical to having a fulfilling career, but that insight became even more important after acquiring a disability. I knew that if I wanted to be independent as an adult, education would be critical. This personal experience made me interested in education research more broadly, especially the intersection of education and disability.     

How does your research on vocational rehabilitation contribute to a better understanding of how to support students with disabilities as they enter the workforce?

The Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program provides services and supports—including education-based supports—to people with disabilities who want to work. The services and supports are individually tailored based on each customer’s career goals and barriers to employment. I received VR services during my time in college and graduate school. My recent VR research focuses on testing new interventions that could improve employment outcomes for key groups of VR customers, such as transition age youth or people receiving subminimum wages. If we can generate evidence that identifies more effective strategies for helping people with disabilities achieve their employment goals, then we can have a large positive impact in the disability community.

What has been the biggest challenge you have encountered as a researcher with a disability and how did you overcome the challenge?

My biggest disability-related challenge as a researcher is managing the effects of my condition, which are wide-ranging. My limited stamina, inability to physically write, and limited ability to type are key challenges when trying to produce research and keep up with colleagues. I use assistive technology and other accommodations whenever possible to overcome these challenges. However, not all the effects of my condition are addressed with technology or accommodations. Consequently, I also do the best I can to take care of myself and avoid situations that demand more stamina than I have.   

How can the broader education research community better support the careers and scholarship of researchers with disabilities?

If I had to highlight one thing the broader education research community can do to support researchers with disabilities, it would be creating a culture of encouragement. Reflecting on my experience in the predoctoral training program, a few key faculty members linked to the program regularly signaled to me that I could do what I set out to achieve. Put another way, they believed in me. I will always be grateful for that because it gave me the confidence to pursue the career I really wanted, not what I thought was expected of me. Any graduate student can benefit from encouragement but encouraging researchers with disabilities is especially important because of the additional challenges they must overcome.

What advice would you give to emerging scholars with disabilities who are pursuing a career in education research?

Pursue your research passion! I was interested in disability-related research since college, but early in my graduate career an advisor in the economics department dissuaded me from pursuing disability-related research because I have a disability. I now realize how misguided that advice was, but at the time, I followed his advice. It was only after graduate school that I felt free to examine the intersection of disability, education, and employment. Do not make the same mistake—start pursuing now the research topics you care most about.


This year, Inside IES Research is publishing a series of interviews (see herehere, and here) showcasing a diverse group of IES-funded education researchers and fellows that are making significant contributions to education research, policy, and practice. 

David Mann is a senior researcher for Mathematica’s Center for Studying Disability Policy. His primary research interests include the labor force participation, human capital accumulation, and benefit receipt of youth and adults with disabilities. He also has expertise in disability policy reform.

This blog post was produced by Katina Stapleton (Katina.Stapleton@ed.gov), NCER program officer and co-chair of the IES Diversity Council.

It Takes a Village: Supporting the Next Generation of Education Researchers

The IES Pathways to the Education Sciences Program was designed to inspire students from groups that have been historically underrepresented in doctoral study to pursue careers in education research. In recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, we asked Dr. Guadalupe Carmona, Principal Investigator of the P20 Pathways to Education Research training program at University of Texas at San Antonio to share her career journey and advice on supporting the next generation of education researchers.

How have your background and experiences shaped your scholarship and career?

It takes a village….

My goal has been to prepare the next generation of students in STEM by providing all students access to fundamental STEM ideas from an early age. My own early life experiences guided my scholarship and career in mathematics education. I was born and raised in Mexico City by my mother, an English teacher, and my father, a chemical engineer. They always inspired me to wonder, to ask questions, to seek for answers and to ask more questions, to never settle.

I was inspired to become an educator at the age of 15 when I volunteered for an adult literacy program. There, I had the opportunity to meet an amazing group of (mainly) women who taught me the best lessons of my life. One of my students, Doña Lola, was 70 years old. For 40 years, she sold newspapers at the stand only 2 blocks away from where I lived. Every day she would earn a living by selling news that she was unable to read. Doña Lola was an example to her two daughters, who were 35 and 40, who also enrolled to obtain their middle school certificate. For three consecutive years, I met with Doña Lola and her friends every week. Their perseverance and knowledge earned them an elementary school certificate. When graduation day came Doña Lola’s daughters received her diploma because she had passed away.

Doña Lola and all the wonderful people I met in this program have inspired my scholarship and career. They taught me that education was a privilege that I had taken for granted. They taught me about the joy in learning new things that can transform lives in better ways and about the joy of teaching in their learning. Even in these early years in my life, they taught me that students’ agency and participation in learning communities are fundamental to provide all students access to fundamental ideas from an early age.

At the age of 16, I became inspired to become a mathematician. By a teacher’s recommendation, I registered for the Mathematics Olympics. I didn’t know what this was about, but I knew I had to show up on Saturday and Sunday. I was handed three problems and was given four hours to solve them. I found great joy in finding different ways to solve these problems and in finding ways to explain my thinking process clearly so that the judges would understand my reasoning. Several months later, I received a phone call asking me to come with my family to receive an award. In that ceremony, I met Dr. María Trigueros, faculty at Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México, who offered me a scholarship for the mathematics program. She inspired me to write my honor’s thesis about the Conceptualizations of the tangent line and its relation to the derivative, my introduction to mathematics education.

How does your research contribute to a better understanding of the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in education?

My research, teaching, and service have been guided by an integrated vision to build a scalable and sustainable research program to prepare the next generation of students in STEM by broadening access to fundamental STEM ideas from an early age, through innovative approaches to teaching, learning, and assessment. In our research group, we use low-cost technologies that are easily available to develop learning environments in STEM. My work centers on impacting the field to become more diverse and more inclusive of populations who have historically been underrepresented. As a scholar and an educator, I work on broadening participation in STEM and STEM education and building bridges to create pathways from K-16 that leads to improved access and quality to education innovation, research, and workforce in the STEM fields.

In a time when Hispanic students are the fastest growing population in this country, providing support for STEM education resources that are also bilingual/biculturally sensitive in Spanish and English, and especially, strengthening ties with STEM and STEM education researchers in HSIs, Mexico and Latin America, are fundamental pieces to achieve these needed changes. This vision cannot be achieved by a single individual. I am fortunate to work within learning communities formed by national and international network of scholars, research and resources who share this vision.

How can the broader education research community better support the careers and scholarship of researchers from underrepresented groups?

It is important that the education research community respond to the imminent need to broaden participation in education research—especially by engaging groups that historically have been underrepresented—and work together towards systemic change. There are at least four key action items:

  • Increase research focus in educational systemic changes by simultaneously addressing equity and knowledge, in the design of PreK-16 learning environments for all students, teacher professional development to support these learning environments, and innovative assessments to capture the complexity of student thinking in these learning environments.
  • Support training programs, such as the IES Pathways Research in Education Training Programs, for underrepresented individuals to develop careers and create new pathways in education research. These programs support fellows to develop knowledge, tools, and experiences in doing research and participating in learning communities and networks to support their lifelong careers in education research.
  • Foster collaborations for interdisciplinary research that requires broad and diverse perspectives to solve grand challenges in education. It is important to have a shared vision and work together in coordinated ways for changes to occur systemically.
  • Make use of science communication training for scholars to disseminate results of educational research, especially when addressing interdisciplinary challenges in education so that relevant knowledge quickly becomes part of public domain and citizen literacy.

What advice would you give to emerging scholars from underrepresented, minoritized groups that are pursuing a career in education research?

Ask questions. Seek answers. Find mentors. Learn and participate. Be grateful for the doors they will open for you. Build community. Become mentors. Inspire others and open doors for them.

Be passionate about changing the world. Be strategic about the ONE thing you want to change; prioritize and focus. Always remember that YOU are part of the change!


Dr. Carmona is a Professor in STEM Education at The University of Texas at San Antonio and also serves as Executive Director of ConTex, an initiative between the University of Texas System and Mexico’s National Council of Science and Technology (Conacyt) to foster binational academic collaborations between Mexico and Texas that are mutually beneficial for both countries. Dr. Carmona’s research agenda for the past 20 years has focused on broadening participation in STEM and addressing the need to prepare the next generation of students who can have democratic access to the fundamental and complex ideas in STEM from an early age. 

This year, Inside IES Research is publishing a series of interviews (see here) showcasing a diverse group of IES-funded education researchers and fellows that are making significant contributions to education research, policy, and practice.

This guest blog was produced by Katina Stapleton (Katina.Stapleton@ed.gov), co-Chair of the IES Diversity and Inclusion Council. She is also the program officer for the Pathways to the Education Sciences Research Training Program.

A Bilingual Perspective on Literacy Development

This year, Inside IES Research is featuring a diverse group of IES-funded education researchers and fellows that are making significant contributions to education research, policy, and practice. In recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, we interviewed Dr. María S. Carlo, associate professor at University of South Florida, about her career journey and the need for more research on bilingualism. Dr. Carlo is the PI of an IES grant that compares bilingual and monolingual methods of explicit vocabulary instruction for Spanish-speaking English learners, as well as another IES grant exploring instructional strategies intended to help English learners learn the meanings of new words.

How have your background and experiences shaped your scholarship and career?

My memories of childhood are tagged by language. Language is a marker for where I lived, who my friends were, and my feelings toward school. My interest in bilingualism stems from life-long experiences managing my personal and academic identity through the use of Spanish and English.

In a graduate school course on applied and basic cognitive development, my instructors Dr. Keith Rayner and Dr. Alexander Pollatsek told us that we would be learning the scientific explanations for everything our grandmothers could already tell us about human cognition. My anxiety about the course rose because I was convinced that my grandmother, who had not been to college, had nothing to say about human cognition. About a year later, I explained to my mom a study I was doing testing the belief that academic skills can transfer across languages in ways that support the development of the second language. Perhaps sensing that I was sounding a little too impressed with myself, my mother looked at me and said, “Well, your grandmother could have told you that!”  And then she told me a story.

Upon hearing that I was having difficulty learning to read in English, my grandmother got on an airplane for the first time in her life and travelled from Puerto Rico to New Jersey to teach me how to read. She brought with her a cartilla fonética (phonetic primer) that she had used with her five children. Her rationale: “You need to teach her to read in Spanish first before teaching her to read in English.”  As my mom tells it, I was reading English perfectly after my grandmother’s intervention. This, and other experiences with language, have shaped my interest in the role of the mother tongue in second language development. 

In your area of research, what do you see as the greatest research needs or recommendations to address diversity, equity, and inclusion and to improve the relevance of education research for diverse communities of students and families?

I think that one of the problems we face in studying bilingualism is that we really have not figured out exactly how to measure bilingualism. I often find myself having to rely on measures that were normed on monolingual speakers of Spanish and English, and that I believe, often fail to fully capture how bilingual experience impacts performance in each language. One important theoretical assumption about bilingual language processing is that bilinguals never “turn off” a language. We assume that both languages are always simultaneously active and thus susceptible to each other’s influence through bottom-up processes. I believe this has profound implications on language measurement as it can impact everything from item response times to judgements about the plausibility of item distractors.

I think we need measures that are based on a model of the expert bilingual and that are sensitive to the changes individuals experience in language as they move from the novice bilingual state to the expert bilingual state. But to get there, I think we need more research that helps us understand what expert bilingual performance looks like. Some of the most influential concepts guiding our understanding of the development of reading among monolingual children have emerged from research on fluent adult monolingual readers. In education, we are understandably preoccupied with the progress of the beginner. But I think there is much that we can understand about the beginner from looking at the expert. So, if I had a magic wand, I would ensure programmatic support to study expert bilingualism.  

What advice would you give to emerging scholars from underrepresented, minoritized groups that are pursuing a career in education research?

My perception is that young scholars from underrepresented groups do their work feeling a high sense of urgency to transform education to better serve their communities. I tell them that it is true that their work is urgently needed, but that they need to take the long view. My doctoral advisor, Dr. James M. Royer of the Psychology Department at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, encouraged us to think of our work not as single studies but as a series of studies. It is hard to take the long view when you are constantly having to sell your work for being innovative and cutting edge. The process of securing research funding is an example of a context in which innovation is paramount. One of the conversations I have had with young scholars (and with myself) is about making the distinction between innovation (which leads to change) and novelty. I think that we serve our transformative goals better when we identify small changes in our research approach that allow us to move knowledge forward. I believe that these increments in knowledge across an entire community of scholars seeking to advance equity and inclusion inevitably leads to innovation.

How does your research contribute to a better understanding of the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in education?

I try to take a bilingual perspective when I study the English development of English learners. One can study the English development of English learners by measuring progress on English measures exclusively, but researchers who take a bilingual or multilingual perspective have shown that you gain a great deal of explanatory power when you choose not to ignore the other half of students’ language repertoire. My hope is that the work I do advances the idea that a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens is integral to producing high quality rigorous research. 

How can the broader education research community better support the careers and scholarship of researchers from underrepresented groups?

Dr. Royer made me a part of his lab long before I was admitted into the department. He needed a research assistant who was proficient in Spanish and English to help him develop a series of listening and reading comprehension tests using a test development technique he had developed called the Sentence Verification Technique. I had recently completed my BA in psychology without ever working as an undergraduate research assistant. I had no real sense of what psychology research entailed or that it could offer me a career. The day I joined his lab he gave me a desk and a computer and added my name to list of lab members on the door. My socialization into a research career started that day. I was allowed to be fully immersed into the experience. I was invited to lab meetings, to guest talks, to proseminars. I eventually applied and was admitted to the doctoral program in educational psychology.

I share this story to make the point that many others have made before me, that the work of increasing access to academia by members of minoritized groups needs to start long before graduate school admission. We need to open our academic space to young people who may not be able to articulate why they wish to be in that space. I don’t think I would have pursued a doctoral program otherwise. 


Dr. María S. Carlo is an Associate Professor at the University of South Florida in the Department of Child and Family Studies. Dr. Carlo specializes in bilingualism and literacy development in children and adults. Her research focuses on the cognitive processes underlying reading in a second language and in understanding the cross-language transfer of reading skills and how it affects the development of such skills. She is also interested in generating educational interventions that support first- and second-language development, particularly around vocabulary.

This blog was produced by Helyn Kim (Helyn.Kim@ed.gov), program officer for the English Learner Portfolio at NCER.

 

Language Equity Matters: Recognizing the Incredible Potential of Bilingual Learners

This year, Inside IES Research is featuring a diverse group of IES-funded education researchers and fellows that are making significant contributions to education research, policy, and practice. In recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, we interviewed Dr. Aída Walqui, director of the IES-funded National Research & Development Center to Improve Education for Secondary English Learners at WestEd about her career journey and language equity for minoritized populations.

How have your background and experiences shaped your scholarship and career?

My background has been a tremendous influence. I was born in Lima, Peru, and grew up the first child of a modest, hard-working, politically involved, and well-educated family. From very early on, issues of language, education, and discrimination—and the way in which diverse groups were perceived—have been central in my life.

My father was born in the Peruvian jungle, and he grew up in Lima speaking Spanish. Through family conversations at the dinner table and other experiences, I became aware that Peruvian society was deeply segregated by ethnic and linguistic boundaries. For example, as a little girl, I did not understand why it was good for me to study German in a German school, where my emergent German was viewed as wonderful, and not something that negatively impacted my first language, Spanish. . . while the children in the Highlands, where we vacationed, were admonished for speaking Quechua, their native language. Their native language was considered almost an illness that needed to be eradicated, and their emergent Spanish was derided as imperfect.

Although my parents were not linguists, they explained that the language was just an excuse—the real issues were political, social, and economic control. I realized that the children who spoke Quechua were just as talented. But for them, learning Spanish was mandatory. Society saw it as the only thing to be proud of. My father also helped me understand that language was not just used for purposes of communication, but also to classify or package people—which impedes learning who people are as individuals. And that the experience of education itself had a lot to do with this.

Overall, I have had an immensely rich intellectual life. I owe my family, my late husband, and colleagues around the world for making it possible for me to live and work in many contexts, including working in Andean intercultural, bilingual education, teaching Spanish as a second language for the Peruvian Ministry of Education, teaching in Alisal High School in Salinas, CA for six intense and rewarding years, as well as living and working in the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. I’ve noticed the same patterns in all these places. The languages are different, but the patterns are the same: the dismissal of populations that had been minoritized due to language issues, the enormous contribution language minority populations play in these nations, and that additional languages are assets that help you learn.

I’ve become even more determined upon realizing the incredible potential that people have. As a Latina in the United States, I have focused on developing the incredible resource of Spanish that Latinos have, while also developing English at the same level of proficiency.

Success depends on educators and those who support them envisioning the richness of these people, and by extension the richness they can provide to society. It is only looking at the seeds of time that I can say that change is possible. While sociolinguistic discrimination still exists in Peru, tremendous positive changes have also occurred. In the United States, we have similarly made strides, but still have a long way to go. In education, it is important to follow Gramsci’s old advice: pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.

In your area of research, what do you see as the greatest research needs or recommendations to address diversity, equity, and inclusion and to improve the relevance of education research for diverse communities of students and families?

We must coherently put together examples of what is possible. For example, our Center colleagues are working on policy levers such as how to integrate English learner development with subject matter courses to strengthen the education of English learners.

In the classroom, in the past, we have been singularly worried about how well English learners are using language, how to construct grammatical sentences, how to make those sentences correct, and so forth. In reality, the focus needs to be on multiple learning modalities as well as the subject matter, critical understanding, and the ability to express ideas—language—related to the content. That is, multiple forms of learning all matter in the moment, not just one.

We all need to know how to use language well, but we also need to simultaneously learn the content and critical thinking that language brings to life, not just grammatical labels or how you conjugate verbs.

What advice would you give to emerging scholars from underrepresented, minoritized groups that are pursuing a career in education research?

I would say that above all, it is essential for emerging scholars from minoritized groups to know what about education research or development is specifically important to them, and how they intend to contribute to their field, to society, and to the improvement of the groups they represent.

Knowing where your passion resides brings more than just constant direction to scholarly efforts. During difficult moments, it will sustain those efforts. Embrace educational causes you care for, even if they don’t always seem important or popular. Think through them, research them, and communicate them, time and time again, in increasingly more potent ways.

Finally, it is essential to cultivate critical dialogue with colleagues to re-examine ideas, advance proposals, and gain sight into how synergetic efforts can advance the societal educational impact of immensely talented but minoritized groups.


Dr. Aída Walqui directs the National Research and Development Center for Improving the Education of English Learners in Secondary Schools at WestEd where she started and developed one of its signature programs, the Quality Teaching for English Learners (QTEL) initiative. QTEL focuses on the development of the expertise of teachers and educational leaders to support elementary and secondary English Learners’ conceptual, analytic, and language practices in disciplinary subject matter areas. Her main area of interest and research is teacher expertise in multilingual academic contexts and how to promote its growth across the continuum of teacher professional development. In 2016 on the 50th anniversary of the International TESOL Association Dr. Walqui was selected as one of the 50 most influential researchers in the last 50 years in the field of English Language teaching.

This blog post was produced by Helyn Kim (Helyn.Kim@ed.gov), program officer for the English Learner Portfolio at NCER.