New Standards Released for Educators Preparing to Be English Language Arts Teachers - National Council of Teachers of English

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New Standards Released for Educators Preparing to Be English Language Arts Teachers

The National Council of Teachers of English Standards Include Antiracist/Antibias Instruction across All Standards and Understanding of Digital Learning Opportunities


Contact: Stacey Finkel,, 703-304-1377


Champaign, Illinois-November 9, 2021—The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) has released new standards for educators who are preparing to teach English language arts (ELA) in grades 7-12.

Since 2012, when the last NCTE Standards for the Initial Preparation of Teachers of English Language Arts 7–12 were released, literacy demands have changed the landscape significantly. NCTE believes that the issues of justice, equity, and diversity are central to the teaching and learning of ELA, and this is reflected in the new standards. The standards focus on elements such as understanding the unique way their students learn, utilizing a variety of resources to plan relevant lessons, reflecting on their own experiences and using feedback from others to inform their approach, among others.

The changes to the standards include:

  • Antiracist/antibias instruction included across all standards and shifted the term social justice to antiracist/antibias based on expert advice.
  • Understanding of how students learn from digital media, including resources such as long-form films, brief videos on sites like YouTube, and commercials, as well as websites, interactive maps and timelines, databases, and other digital texts. 
  • Revised standards based on feedback to improve alignment across each standard and its components, revised for current language used in the field, edited components for brevity (shifting from seven to five overall standards), and aligned with InTASC language. 
  • Revised standards to align standards to language used in NCTE’s policy and position statements and assessment practices.

A group of NCTE leaders in higher education and K-12, spanning early career to veteran educators, comprised the steering committee that initially developed the NCTE Standards for the Initial Preparation of Teachers of English Language Arts 7–12. The updated standards underwent extensive review and feedback from teachers and scholars nationwide. The new standards are grounded in the core values of NCTE, as well as in those of the English Language Arts Teacher Educators (ELATE) group within NCTE, and are supported by research and scholarship from the fields of English education, language and literacy education, teacher education, developmental and educational psychology, and inclusive multicultural education. The standards are organized around the four Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) principles, grounded in the InTASC Model Core Teaching Standards and Learning Progressions for Teachers. 

“The young people that we teach should be at the heart of everything a teacher of English language arts does. Teachers should seek to develop learners who are creative, literate, agentive, compassionate individuals,” NCTE Executive Director Emily Kirkpatrick said. 

“Our field deals directly with the human condition through shaping the literate lives of our learners and is uniquely positioned to act on the complexities we collectively face. Bigotry, discrimination, oppression, divisiveness, and racism are part of the world in which future teachers of English are working. These new standards seek to support educators as they prepare to go into the classroom,” NCTE President Alfredo Celedón Luján said.

The new standards will be featured at NCTE’s upcoming Annual Convention taking place November 18-21, 2021, during a session on Saturday, November 20, 5:15–6:30 p.m. ET. For more information about the NCTE Standards for the Initial Preparation of Teachers of English Language Arts 7–12, visit

About NCTE

The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) is devoted to improving the teaching and learning of English and the language arts at all levels of education. For more than 100 years, NCTE has worked with its members to offer journals, publications, and resources; to further the voice and expertise of educators as advocates for their students at the local and federal levels; and to share lesson ideas, research, and teaching strategies through its Annual Convention and other professional learning events.