ESL Teacher Organizations

Instructor: Carrie Soucy
ESL teachers will find a variety of organizations and associations designed to help them develop professionally, create effective classroom instruction and assessments, and actively engage in the future of ESL education. Read on to learn about the different groups and what they do.

Member Organizations for ESL Teachers

TESOL International Association

TESOL is a global association open to ESL teachers and others, such as administrators and researchers, who have an interest in teaching those for whom English is a second language. This group conducts research and advocates for the profession, and provides a variety of services, including professional development. TESOL has more than 100 regional affiliate groups around the world and 21 special interest divisions that allow members to connect with others in their particular ESL field. These include elementary, secondary, higher and adult education; intercultural communication; materials writing; refugee concerns; and computer-assisted language learning.

National Association for Bilingual Education

The National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE), founded more than 40 years ago, is a non-profit organization of educators, parents, and others interested in bilingual and multilingual education. They offer professional development resources for teachers, work to advance teaching practices, and advocate both for the rights of English language learners and for adequate funding for language learning programs. NABE comprises special interest groups and more than 20 regional affiliates that offer the exchange of information, along with networking opportunities. All members have access to research journals and magazines exploring current issues relating to bilingual education.

American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages

The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) is an advocacy, educational and networking association for foreign language teachers and administrators. With more than 12,500 members, the ACTFL has been active in establishing national standards for language education and continues to promote research in the field. Membership benefits include subscriptions to two publications that offer insight into instructional techniques, best practices, and the latest research; online courses for professional development; and mentoring for young professionals in the field.

Additional Resources for ESL Teachers

Along with member associations such as TESOL, NABE and ACTFL, there are several companies and organizations that provide professional development and other resources to ESL educators. Study.com, for example, offers a Resources for Teaching English Language Learners online course, featuring more than 200 short self-paced video and text lessons that provide ideas for classroom lessons, activities, games, and exercises. This short ESL Curriculum Development lesson, meanwhile, provides an overview of curriculum and instruction best practices for ESL educators.

ESL Teachers looking for additional resources and professional development opportunities may also want to investigate:

  • The Center for Language Education and Research (CLEAR). Based at Michigan State University, CLEAR offers online and on-site professional development workshops and assessment resources. The CLEAR website also provides videos covering classroom best practices and applications through which ESL educators can create games, broadcasts, worksheets, and other instructional materials.
  • The Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA). Like CLEAR, CARLA is a research center that offers a variety of resources to ESL teachers. Based at the University of Minnesota, CARLA's website has an online assessment center with learning modules that help guide ESL educators in developing classroom assessments. The center also offers professional development opportunities through a summer institute, conferences, and seminars.

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