Dual Language Teachers' Approaches to Engaging Latino ELL Students in Elementary Education

The U.S. Census Bureau predicts that by 2021, one of four U.S. students will be Latino. Research points to an increase in students identified as English Language Learners (ELLs), thus providing a glimpse of tomorrow’s demographics and framing the reality of the classroom of the future. Schools are examining their partnerships with families from linguistically diverse backgrounds. These partnerships call upon all stakeholders to examine the ways dual language teachers are prepared to educate this growing student population. The literature review in this study examined the troubling picture of Latinos as being the least educated of all major ethnic groups, whose achievement gap has minimally narrowed, and the educators who explore ways to improve their knowledge of instructional practices to strengthen communication with Latino families. One of the major challenges that confronts educators is to work collaboratively with diverse families whose cultural perspectives may differ from their own. Moll’s (1992) Funds of Knowledge and Culturally Responsive Instruction Theory provides the conceptual framework for this study. This qualitative study examined dual language educators’ understanding of effective culturally competent practices and instructional strategies for working with Latino ELL students. Data was collected through interviews with ten dual language teachers who earned a master’s degree, multiple subject teaching credentials, and acquired a BCLAD to be highly qualified to instruct in a dual language immersion school.