Initiating the Third Wave for English Learners: Teaching Self-Advocacy




advocacy, self-advocacy, English learners, K–12 education, equity


In special education, self-advocacy intertwines with self-empowerment. Special education teachers integrate self-advocacy skills into the curriculum to support their students’ efforts toward self-determination. In contrast, teachers of English to speakers of other languages (ESOL) are encouraged to advocate for their English learners but self-advocacy has received scant attention in the ESOL field. As the English learner population in K–12 public schools steadily rises, it is increasingly urgent for ESOL educators to seek culturally responsive solutions that support their students’ language, academic, and socio-emotional development. With a brief review of literature from the fields of special education and Disabilities studies, authors delineate components of self-advocacy and apply them to a self-advocacy unit that supports English learners in acquiring the knowledge and language they need to develop their own form of self-advocacy.

Author Biographies

Emily Jarrells Day, Gadsden City Schools, Gadsden, AL

Emily Jarrells Day, Transition Coordinator, Gadsden City Schools, Gadsden, AL; email [email protected].

Dr. Josephine Prado, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Dr. Josephine Prado, Assistant Professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL; email [email protected] (

Dr. Lori Edmonds, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Dr. Lori Edmonds, Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL; email [email protected] (


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Initiating the Third Wave for English Learners: Teaching Self-Advocacy




How to Cite

Day, E. J., Prado, J., & Edmonds, L. (2022). Initiating the Third Wave for English Learners: Teaching Self-Advocacy. GATESOL Journal, 32(2), 3–13.



Pedagogical Practices, Programs, Policy, and Perspectives