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A previous convergent mixed methods study conducted by the author revealed that, based on their preservice preparation and access to in-service professional development, instructors of adult emergent bi/multilingual learners (EBLs) in the United States often felt ill-equipped to address the oppressive dynamics and learning challenges that might manifest in their adult ESOL classrooms. This follow-up interview study explored the prevalence of these oppressive dynamics, such as racism, sexism, and linguicism, and learning challenges, such as neurodiversity, and investigated how preservice preparation, continuous professional development, program administration, and the field of TESOL might address these issues more consistently and equitably. Semi-structured interviews were conducted via Zoom or over the telephone with 10 randomly selected volunteers. The findings revealed that oppressive dynamics and learning challenges are commonplace in adult ESOL programs in the United States. Recommendations included either routinely incorporating discussions and content related to these issues throughout preservice coursework and continuous professional development or creating postgraduate certificate programs to do so. Participants also felt that the field of TESOL should address these issues on a regular versus ad hoc basis through its conferences, publications, and research literature. Limitations of the study and areas for future research were also identified.


This is the author's accepted manuscript of the following article:

Housel, David A. In Plain Sight: Oppressive Dynamics and Learning Challenges in Adult ESOL Programs in the United States. Equity in Education & Society, 2023, Vol. 2(1,) pp. 94–109, © The Author(s) 2023.

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