Dissertation

Factors That Contribute to Teachers' Attitudes and Beliefs Toward Teaching English Language Learners

Enrollment of English language learners (ELLs) in United States schools has increased more rapidly than general enrollment, resulting in an urgent need for teachers to be prepared to meet the needs of ELLs in their classrooms. The purpose of this qualitative case study design was to identify teachers’ perceptions of their preparation to influence English learners’ academic success, instrumental factors in teachers’ learning, and essential factors in building common understanding among teaching colleagues in order to strengthen a positive school culture for English learners. The data were derived from qualitative, semi-structured, one-on-one interviews and focus group interview. The study was conducted at one elementary school site ranging from kindergarten to sixth grade in an urban district with a culturally and linguistically diverse student population. Teachers’ beliefs, attitudes, practices, and needs related to ELLs were examined. More specifically, this study sought to understand whether teachers’ beliefs and attitudes were influenced by the specific instructional factors of support, expertise, and time. This case study was framed utilizing the theoretical framework of culturally sustaining pedagogy to examine the influence and impact made on English learner instruction. Recommendations for schools and teachers to acknowledge the experiences and culture of each student were provided.

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