Dissertation

Teacher Perceptions of their Preparation in Teaching English Language Learners: A Mixed Methods Study.

Newcomers to America bring with them unique cultures, values, customs, and languages. Although accepted and welcomed, these newcomers are expected to assimilate into the American way of life, and learning English is part of that assimilation. The effects of this continued flow of newcomers to America on public education are broadly evident. With increasing numbers of newcomers comes the need to adjust laws and teacher expectations for instructing students in English. California Senate Bill 2042 (SB 2042) is one example of a shift in policy with a goal of better preparing teachers to instruct English Language Learners (ELLs). Passed in 1998, SB 2042 mandated the Crosscultural, Language, and Academic Development Certificate be embedded in the base credential. This resulted in teachers credentialed in1998 and later being trained in effective English language development (ELD) strategies prior to entering the classroom. This mixed methods dissertation investigates teachers’ perceptions of their preparation for teaching ELLs by comparing pre- and post-SB 2042 credentialed teachers’ perceptions of their adequacy in using effective ELD strategies for teaching ELLs. In the past, preservice teachers primarily received subject matter instruction and direct teaching in classroom management (McDonald et al., 2011). The focus on ELL support was lacking and, in some cases, absent completely. Because of the passage of SB 2042, instruction in the effective use of ELD strategies for teaching ELLs is increasingly promoted and mandated in teacher preparatory programs. In response to the growing ELL population, teacher preparatory programs continue offering ELD strategies in their coursework. Although some studies have addressed the infusion of ELD strategies in teacher preparatory programs, gaps still remain in the current literature pertaining to teacher perceptions of their own preparation for teaching ELLs. The problem this study addressed was the variation in training that teachers receive in effective ELD strategies for teaching ELLs.

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