Provision of Instruction in English as a Second Language by Speech-Language Pathologists in School Settings

Position Statement

ASHA Multicultural Issues Board

About this Document

Members of the Multicultural Issues Board who participated in the writing of this document are Lynda Campbell (chair, 1995–1996), Juanita Sims Doty (chair, 1997-present), Lisa Alford, Ilene Clingmon, Brian Goldstein, Hortencia Kayser, Gloria Martin, Pauline Mashima, Maurice Mendel, Emma Muñoz, Catharine Nagayda (NSSLHA representative), Celeste Roseberry-McKibbin, Bryan Scott, Diane Scott (ex officio, 1993–1996), Vicki R. Deal-Williams (ex officio, 1997-present), Christine Vining, Toya Wyatt, Vic S. Gladstone (monitoring vice president, 1993-1995), L. Gay Ratcliff (monitoring vice president, 1996-present).

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Position Statement

It is the position of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) that speech-language pathologists who possess the required knowledge and skills to provide English as a Second Language (ESL) [1] instruction in school settings may provide direct ESL instruction. ESL instruction may require specialized academic preparation, and competencies in areas such as second language acquisition theory, comparative linguistics, and ESL methodologies, assessment, and practicum. Such specialized education may not be included in the education required for speech-language pathologists. There are speech-language pathologists, however, who as a result of their coursework and experience in those designated areas will meet the requirements for ESL instruction in a given jurisdiction. Because of variability in the requirements for ESL instruction, speech-language pathologists will have to examine their education and experience relative to each individual jurisdiction's requirements to determine their eligibility as an ESL instructor.

Speech-language pathologists who do not possess the requisite skills should not provide direct instruction in ESL, but should collaborate with ESL instructors in providing pre-assessment, assessment, and/or intervention with English as a second language speakers in school settings.

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[1] This term describes individuals for whom English is not their home language.

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Index terms: English as a second language, schools

Reference this material as: American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (1998). Provision of instruction in english as a second language by speech-language pathologists in school settings [Position Statement]. Available from

© Copyright 1998 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. All rights reserved.

Disclaimer: The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association disclaims any liability to any party for the accuracy, completeness, or availability of these documents, or for any damages arising out of the use of the documents and any information they contain.


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