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Teacher Perceptions of English Language Learners in Rural Mainstream Classrooms

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2011
Dissertation
Author: Suzanna Luttrell
Abstract:
Researchers have identified best instructional strategies for diverse learners; however, some rural school districts lack funding and resources to train mainstream teachers in language learning and cultural responsiveness. Given the rapid increase of limited English proficient (LEP) students in rural areas, the purpose of this inquiry was to discover how much diversity training rural mainstream teachers receive and how they manage ELLs in their classrooms. The conceptual framework included demographic change, language learning pedagogy, cultural diversity pedagogy, and teacher knowledge. The overarching research question focused on exploring the perceptions of rural mainstream teachers about teaching English language learners (ELLS) in content classrooms. Data for this qualitative case study were collected by 3 strategies: interviews with 10 mainstream classroom teachers, observation field notes, and district or school documentation. Typological analysis was used to analyze data based on predetermined categories created from the research objectives and conceptual framework. The findings showed that teachers in mainstream classrooms who teach ELLs perceive these students as highly capable learners and make efforts to find tools and strategies to effectively address ELL needs. A recommendation is that rural school districts make conscious efforts to provide routine ESL training to mainstream teachers to more expertly instruct ELLs in a culturally responsive manner. These findings can affect social change in rural school settings by improving ELL instruction, enhancing teacher knowledge about culturally responsive pedagogy through professional development, and increasing resources specific to the support of ELL instruction in the mainstream classroom.

Table of Contents

List of Tables.................................................................................................................. vi

Chapter 1: Introduction of Study ...................................................................................... 1 Background of the Study ...................................................................................... 1 Problem Statement ............................................................................................... 3 Nature of the Study .............................................................................................. 5 Purpose of the Study ............................................................................................ 8 Conceptual Framework ........................................................................................ 8 Demographic Change ............................................................................... 9 Language Learning Pedagogy ................................................................. 11 Cultural Diversity Pedagogy ................................................................... 12 Teacher Knowledge ................................................................................ 14 Summary ................................................................................................ 16 Definition of Terms ............................................................................................ 17 Assumptions, Limitations, Scope, and Delimitations .......................................... 18 Significance of the Study ................................................................................... 20 Summary and Transition .................................................................................... 21 Chapter 2: Literature Review ......................................................................................... 23 Review of Related Literature .............................................................................. 26 Historical Background ............................................................................ 26

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Impact of ELL Population Shift on Rural Schools ................................... 28 Focus on Rural Education ....................................................................... 30 Implications for Teacher Training in Rural Schools ................................ 33 Instructional Service Programs for ELLs ................................................ 44 Language Learning Pedagogy ................................................................. 45 Culturally Relevant Pedagogy ................................................................. 48 Language and Cultural Relevance With Native Speakers ........................ 55 Critical Analysis of Related Literature ............................................................... 60 Summary ........................................................................................................... 64 Chapter 3: Research Method .......................................................................................... 68 Research Design and Approach .......................................................................... 70 Research Questions ............................................................................................ 72 Context for the Study ......................................................................................... 73 Measures of Ethical Protection of Participants .................................................... 74 Role of the Researcher ....................................................................................... 75 Criteria for Selecting Participants ....................................................................... 77 Data Collection .................................................................................................. 78 Data Analysis Procedures ................................................................................... 80 Trustworthiness .................................................................................................. 81 Summary ........................................................................................................... 82 Chapter 4: Results.......................................................................................................... 84

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Report of Data and Data Analysis ...................................................................... 84 Data Generation ................................................................................................ 85 Data Tracking.................................................................................................... 90 Findings ............................................................................................................ 95 Case 1: District A Findings .......................................................................... 96 Typology 1 ............................................................................................. 96 Typology 2 ............................................................................................. 98 Typology 3 ............................................................................................. 99 Typology 4 ........................................................................................... 101 Typology 5 ........................................................................................... 102 Case 2: District B Findings ........................................................................ 104 Typology 1 ........................................................................................... 104 Typology 2 ........................................................................................... 105 Typology 3 ........................................................................................... 106 Typology 4 ........................................................................................... 107 Typology 5 ........................................................................................... 108 Case 3: District C Findings ........................................................................ 110 Typology 1 ........................................................................................... 110 Typology 2 ........................................................................................... 111 Typology 3 ........................................................................................... 112 Typology 4 ........................................................................................... 113

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Typology 5 ........................................................................................... 113 Case 4: District D Findings ........................................................................ 115 Typology 1 ........................................................................................... 115 Typology 2 ........................................................................................... 116 Typology 3 ........................................................................................... 117 Typology 4 ........................................................................................... 117 Typology 5 ........................................................................................... 118 Cross Case Analysis .................................................................................................... 118 Discrepant Cases or Nonconforming Data ................................................................... 122 Patterns, Relationships, and Themes ............................................................................ 124 Evidence of Quality ..................................................................................................... 126 Summary ..................................................................................................................... 127 Chapter 5: Discussion, Conclusions, and Recommendations ........................................ 129 Overview of the Study ................................................................................................. 129 Summary of Findings .................................................................................................. 130 Interpretation of Findings ............................................................................................ 133 Implications for Social Change .................................................................................... 140 Recommendations for Action ...................................................................................... 142 Recommendations for Further Study ............................................................................ 145 Reflections of the Researcher....................................................................................... 147 Conclusion .................................................................................................................. 149

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References ................................................................................................................... 152 Appendix A: Interview Guide ..................................................................................... 165 Appendix B: Observation Protocol .............................................................................. 166 Appendix C: Document Summary Form ...................................................................... 167 Appendix D: Copyright Permission Document ............................................................ 168 Appendix E: Invitation to Participate in Research ........................................................ 169 Appendix F: Letter of Cooperation to Principals .......................................................... 170 Appendix G: Teacher Participant Consent Form .......................................................... 174 Appendix H: Samples of Data Coding ........................................................................ 177 Curriculum Vitae ......................................................................................................... 180

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List of Tables

Table 1. Demographics of Participating Teachers .......................................................... 90 Table 2. Color Coding Typologies Used for Data Analysis ............................................ 94 Table 3. Instructional Strategies Listed on Observation Protocol .................................... 96

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Chapter 1: Introduction to the Study Background This qualitative case study focused on rural school districts in west Tennessee where small school systems are faced with a rapidly increasing population of linguistically and culturally diverse students. A study by Zehler (2008) that included west Tennessee school districts noted the number of English language learners (ELLs) in these districts was small, fewer than 5 % of the total student body, and these systems had few certified English as a second language (ESL) teachers. For most of the school day, then, these students are in mainstream classrooms with native English speakers. Therefore, ELLs may not receive instruction that uses the most effective strategies for learning a second language simultaneously with content material. As a consequence, most ELLs in these districts do not exit the ESL program within the recommended 2 to 3 years. ELL test scores are low on language chapters of the state standardized assessment and the state English Language Development Assessment (ELDA; National Clearinghouse of English Language Acquisition [NCELA], 2008). This study provided data from mainstream classroom teachers in small school districts that addressed how prepared these teachers felt to instruct ELLs and addressed their attitudes toward the academic abilities of ELL students compared with their native English-speaking peers. Throughout this study, ELL students are also identified using

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other referents, such as second language learner, non-English language background (NELB) student, and limited English proficient (LEP) student. The west Tennessee area is not the only rural area in the United States where LEP student populations have rapidly increased. Zehler (2008) reported a study exploring school districts with emerging ELL communities in the Appalachian region comprising Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia. This study found that regular classroom teachers feel unprepared to teach ELL students. The population of linguistically diverse students in each school district studied was 5-25 ELL students. The population in Zehler’s study has been steadily increasing with each school year. A study conducted by Batt (2008) that focused on perceptions of the rural school teacher of ELL education indicated some teachers feel they lack an understanding of diversity or multicultural education. Another study conducted by O’Neal, Ringler, and Rodriguez (2008) in eastern North Carolina showed teachers had a strong desire to learn more, but emphasized their lack of prior training. In this study, although teachers did not feel confident, the findings showed they were effectively educating the growing population of ELLs. The results of these current studies indicate that the area of instructing culturally and linguistically diverse students in rural schools demands additional investigation. Further inquiry into the rural teachers’ classroom experiences involving ELL students can lead to social change through increasing mainstream classroom teachers’ self-efficacy when teaching ELLs, which may in turn produce increased student academic

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performance. Further explication of the literature supporting this inquiry is presented in chapter 2. Problem Statement A problem exists in rural school systems in west Tennessee regarding the service of NELB students. The problem is mainstream classroom teachers lack knowledge of instructional methods for linguistically diverse students due to little experience with this student population in rural areas. The ELL population is entering the rural public school systems at a rapid pace. Between 2001 and 2005, the percentage of ELLs in one rural west Tennessee school district increased from 0% to 0.8% (0 to 20 students; Tennessee State Department of Education, 2009). Moreover, in a 1-year period from 2004 to 2005, the percentage of ELLs in this same school district increased from 0.5% to 0.8% (11 to 20 students; Tennessee State Department of Education, 2009). Mainstream classroom teachers in rural schools across many states must teach an increasing number of LEP students without professional development of best practices for second language learners (Zehler, 2008). Currently, ELLs enrolled in public schools in the state of Tennessee receive a mandated one hour per day of instruction by a certified ELL teacher (Tennessee English as a Second Language Program Guide, 2007). The rest of the school day they remain in content classrooms with their native English-speaking peers. However, because ELLs are placed in mainstream classrooms with native English-speaking learners for most of their

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instructional day, they continue to struggle academically in this setting due to factors such as the complexity of academic language (Zwiers, 2007), content information that is not made comprehensible (Krashen & Brown, 2007), and teachers who are not familiar with language learning instructional strategies or culturally responsive teaching (Fillmore & Snow, 2000). Furthermore, many ELL students do not score well on standardized language assessments (Short & Fitzsimmons, 2007). According to the NCELA (2008) state assessment performance gap analysis, ELLs scored 22.8% lower compared with all other students. This problem impacts the ELL population because many ELL students do not receive the most effective instruction to maintain academic levels that are age appropriate. In addition, this problem impacts the classroom teachers because many teachers are highly qualified in their content area, but know little about how to help their ELL students due to lack of ongoing professional development (Cummins, 1987; O’Neal, 2008; Szpara & Ahmad, 2007; Yoon, 2008). A few possible factors contribute to this problem. First, rural mainstream teachers are under prepared to teach LEP students (George, 2009) and to use culturally responsive instruction (Field, 2008; Ladson-Billings, 2006). Second, both district and state policy addressing time and scheduling to serve ELLs in rural districts is inadequate (Zehler, 2008). Third, the No Child Left Behind Act (2001) mandated that teachers be highly qualified in the subject matter they teach. This policy was created to hold schools accountable for academic achievement of all students;

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however, teachers are being asked to teach a population of students for whom they are not qualified to teach. Mainstream teachers in small school districts are not prepared to efficiently teach ELLs, causing difficulty in curriculum planning and daily classroom instruction that addresses these learners. This study contributed to the body of knowledge needed to address this problem in a rural setting by examining mainstream classroom teachers’ perceptions of their preparedness to teach ELL students. In addition, information was collected to identify any assumptions or biases held by mainstream classroom teachers toward the academic abilities of their ELL students. Nature of Study This collective case study of a qualitative design was implemented to inquire into the perceptions of 10 middle school content area teachers about teaching culturally and linguistically diverse students in sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade mainstream classrooms in four rural, public, Title I middle schools in Tennessee. This case study approach was chosen to treat each school district as a case and glean data from each case that can be analyzed comparatively. Due to the minimal ELL population in one rural school, four school sites were chosen to increase the number of mainstream teachers to be interviewed who instruct ELLs. The student diversity represented in the classrooms were native and nonnative English learners, students from culturally diverse backgrounds, students with learning difficulties, and students with low socioeconomic backgrounds.

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My role as a researcher was to collect data using face-to-face interviews with teachers, classroom observations, and documentation. I analyzed all collected data. Teacher interviews were conducted during the Fall 2010 semester (see Appendix A for the Interview Guide). In-depth interviews of mainstream teachers who have heterogeneous classrooms were completed to bring forth individuals’ opinions, thoughts and feelings about this teaching task. Interviews were audio taped then transcribed. Lewis-Moreno (2007) claimed that LEP students’ skills depend on regular classroom teachers. Therefore, the teacher interviews were the most crucial form of data collection for this study. Classroom observations were completed during the same semester using an observation protocol that included a checklist and log section (see Appendix B for the Observation Protocol). Classroom observations were used to collect data to help describe what type of instruction happens with ELLs in regular classrooms. Yoon (2008) explained that the need to observe classroom dynamics with regard to teaching that goes on with ELLs in the regular classroom is crucial. Thus, the classroom observation data for this study provided very meaningful information to support the interview data collected. Documentation of the ESL program was also collected from each of the participating four school districts (see Appendix C for the Document Summary Form). These three sources of data, the provision of a case study database, and maintenance of a chain of evidence, ensured the trustworthiness of this study.

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The data were collected and analyzed using appropriate typological data analysis (Hatch, 2002). Data collection and analysis procedures are discussed in further detail in chapter 3. Interviews were coded for predetermined typologies, observation data were analyzed using a matrix to identify instructional strategies, and documentation was reviewed for components that address instruction and assessment of the ELL population. This qualitative study explored how rural school teachers respond to instruction of linguistically and culturally diverse students and their opinions about what type of teacher training they receive to serve this learner population. Using the three stated forms of data collection tools, I obtained information to answer the following questions: The overarching question was: What are the experiences of teachers of ELLs in a group of rural Tennessee school districts? The subsequent questions were: 1. How much training or professional support is provided to mainstream classroom teachers who have culturally and linguistically diverse students in heterogeneous classrooms? 2. How do mainstream classroom teachers adjust their classroom instruction to include culturally and linguistically diverse students? 3. How do mainstream classroom teachers feel that their role changes when teaching culturally and linguistically diverse students? 4. How do mainstream classroom teachers perceive the learning abilities of culturally and linguistically diverse learners?

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The research questions in this study orient to a phenomenon with patterns of either unanticipated or expected relationships (Stake, 1995). The interviews and observations were used to collect data in a natural setting, and the data were analyzed to establish patterns. The collection of data in a natural setting and analysis to identify patterns are characteristics of qualitative research design (Creswell, 2007). More detailed discussion of the methodology used for data collection and analysis is presented in chapter 3. Purpose of the Study The purpose of this qualitative research study was to gain an understanding of rural mainstream teachers’ perceptions of their preparedness to teach ELLs simultaneously with their native English-speaking peers. Teacher preparedness includes preservice teacher programs or in-service professional development activities. Additionally, the purpose was to identify teachers’ perceptions about the academic performance of ELLs in the mainstream classroom. Conceptual Framework Four concepts supported by current literature frame this study. First, a demographic shift in the immigrant population has been identified by a disbursement from urban to rural communities (Lichter & Johnson, 2006). Second, the implementation of language learning pedagogy in mainstream classroom settings can improve the effectiveness of teaching diverse students (Hill & Flynn, 2008). Third, instruction that

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uses cultural diversity pedagogy increases teachers’ utilization of student background to make connections to learning (Richards, 2007). Finally, improving instruction is directly impacted by increased teacher knowledge Thomas, 2008). These concepts guide my data collection process by creating a focus on what teachers know about language learning and cultural diversity pedagogies and how these are implemented in the mainstream classroom in rural school settings. To obtain information that informed this inquiry, I interviewed teachers and observed classroom instruction. Analysis of the collected data specifically identified the use of the two pedagogies in classroom instruction and the amount of training received that provides teacher knowledge in these areas. I remained open to exploring more literature to adequately understand the underlying meaning of data collected in this study. Demographic Changes The problem of schools struggling to keep up with instructional demands created by rapidly increasing ELL populations is no longer isolated to large urban area school systems. In a report on growth in immigration, Jensen (2006) identified the concept that lately immigrants are dispersing from gateway cities and other urban centers. This concept is one of four main ideas that framed this study. This issue now presents itself in the rural school districts that face annual increases in (NELB) student populations (Zehler, 2008). A large number of research studies such as Batt (2008), Esposito and Swain (2009), and Lonnquist, Banks, and Hubert (2009), have confirmed that

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metropolitan areas have been dealing with the increase in LEP students for the past 20 years. Teachers in large school districts who have had high numbers of LEP students receive some form of training that is grounded in language acquisition and cultural responsiveness. In some states, such as California, certification programs for cultural and linguistic instruction have become compulsory for all teachers in that state (University of California [UC] Irvine, 2007). Due to the newness of cultural and linguistic diversity issues in small school systems, much less research is currently available describing the issues impacting small schools. This lack of research was a major factor in my decision to perform a study focused on rural educational settings. In addition, more recent research studies such as Musanti & Pence (2010), Nieto (2009), and Yoon (2008), have confirmed that because LEP populations have begun to spread to smaller suburban and rural areas, the rural school systems are faced with a need to reevaluate their instructional approaches. Field (2008) stated, “Districts with small but increasing ELL populations, underprepared educators, and limited funding, face real challenges” (p. 24). This statement encompasses the most basic challenges presented with increased ELL student populations in rural educational settings. The demographic shift in this population of learners is a phenomenon that requires increased understanding so educational systems can continue to form more effective instructional programs for the second language learners across America’s rural public school systems.

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Language Learning Pedagogy A second concept fundamental to this study is pedagogy that includes second language learning. This concept is important because language learning strategies play a key role in how instruction in regular classrooms must change to include teaching of second language learners. Instruction utilizing language learning strategies has been researched in depth. The theory of second language acquisition (Krashen & Brown, 2007) illustrates these strategies. This theory states that content of new material must be comprehensible, academic language is more difficult to acquire compared with social language, and second language learners learn more effectively through problem solving than through direct study. In addition, second language acquisition requires learning both social and academic language while learning content. Academic language is considered to be more difficult for native English speakers to acquire (Cummins, 1997). Although ELLs may perform well alongside their native English-speaking peers in elementary levels, Viadero (2006) identified a decline in the skills of these students when they move into fifth grade and beyond. “By middle and high school, the gap separating the English language learners from the higher achieving English-speaking students stretches greatly” (p. 22). LEP students who enter the public school system at middle and high school levels struggle to learn required content largely due to material that lacks contextual support and little emphasis on explicit vocabulary instruction through practice in the context of the content material. Zwiers (2007) found that academic language in secondary school

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contexts can be simplified when teachers are aware of cognitive skills required for learning in their discipline and strategies that make academic language more comprehensible for the second language learner. Vygotsky (1978) posited that learners of a second language acquire the target language more efficiently through social interaction. Vygotsky identified the zone of proximal development as the time that social mediation and negotiation occurs between a novice learner (an ELL student) and an expert learner (a native English speaker). Strategies that allow time for students to interact using the target language, such as cooperative learning and think-pair-share, provide necessary opportunity for a second language learner to experience using the new language and negotiating meanings through social interaction. The implementation of this language learning pedagogy in the mainstream classroom was addressed in the current study using an interview protocol that inquired how teachers adjusted their classroom instruction to meet the needs of ELLs. Additionally, classroom observation identified whether language learning strategies are used in the mainstream classroom during instruction. Cultural Diversity Pedagogy Another form of instruction that supports ELLs in the mainstream classroom setting and a third notion framing this study is culturally responsive pedagogy. According to Villegas (1991) culturally responsive pedagogy is built on the premise that “how people are expected to go about learning may differ across cultures” (p. 13). This idea has implications for teachers to get to know their students’ backgrounds then use this

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knowledge to make connections to the learning at hand. Ladson-Billings (1995) noted that culturally relevant teaching includes the preservation of fluid and equitable relations with students. Some teachers may find it difficult to create an equitable relationship with a student who does not share the same cultural or linguistic background. Shealy and Callins (2007) described culturally responsive teaching as the teacher’s use of a student’s own cultural contributions to transform their learning experiences by making education relevant and meaningful. Content area teachers often feel pressured to follow the curriculum without deviating from lesson plans. While this approach may seem to be best suited to cover all curriculum standards required by the state, it does not take into account the value of cultural diversity as a change agent for increased academic learning and enrichment of the learning experience for all students in the classroom. Cummins (1997) claimed that issues related to cultural and linguistic diversity have become an issue for the mainstream of education, and no longer a marginal issue. Finally, Sheets-Hernandez (2009) identified a theory called diversity pedagogy theory (DPT). The author stated that “to be effective as a teacher, you must understand and acknowledge the critical role culture plays in the teaching-learning process” (p. 11). In this theory, culturally competent teachers observe children’s cultural behavioral patterns to identify individual and group cultural competencies and skills. When teachers gain culturally competent skills, they know how to change and adapt instruction. In DPT, culture, cognition, language, and learning are all interconnected. Teacher knowledge that

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includes cultural competency can improve teacher instruction of all students. In this study, the implementation of culturally relevant pedagogy by mainstream classroom teachers was measured using interview questions that addressed how teachers alter their instructional methods to include strategies that are effective for ELLs and classroom observations were conducted to identify whether these strategies are evident in classroom instruction. Teacher Knowledge One way to improve teacher instruction is through increased teacher knowledge. The impact teacher knowledge has on the academic performance of ELLs is the fourth concept that creates the framework of this study. More specifically, this concept can apply to teacher diversity training and improved instruction of ELLs. Mantero and McVicker (2006) provided evidence of the relevance of diversity training by observing that mainstream teachers with higher levels of graduate work or additional professional development have more positive perceptions of ELLs as learners. Subsequently, discovering to what extent mainstream classroom teachers in rural educational settings are being trained to teach LEP students can provide direction for effective teacher training programs in the future that address language learning and cultural responsiveness. Supplying information that can increase a teacher’s knowledge about language learning strategies and culturally responsive teaching requires access to resources,

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provision of time, and the existence of administrative support (Flannery, 2007). Federal law requires that school districts enrolling LEP students must provide instruction from an ESL-certified teacher. This professional can also be a valuable resource for mainstream classroom teachers. However, in rural districts usually only one or two ESL instructors are employed. Sometimes one ESL instructor is shared between two districts. Moreover, rural districts often do not have ample funds to provide professional development and resources to mainstream classroom teachers who work daily with ELLs. In addition, “As a result of the increasing numbers of language minority students with unique educational and social needs, principals need specialized training to ensure that all students have equal access to an education based on academic excellence and high expectations” (Herrity & Glasman, 2010, p. 57). As a result, administrators are also learning as they go because they are responsible for providing support to classroom teachers, yet they are not fully knowledgeable in the area of instruction for LEP students. The current deficiency of professional development in rural school systems for teaching LEP students dictates a need to adjust to the increase of ELLs by integrating knowledge of language learning strategies and culturally responsive teaching into teacher training. Torres (2001) found that classroom teachers require knowledge of language learning due to the presence of LEP students in content classes in the company of native English-speaking students. Furthermore, professional development that is designed to create collaboration among classroom teachers, ESL instructors, and administrators, rural

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school districts can improve instruction for ELLs without having to consider lack of funding (York-Barr, 2007). The district ESL-certified teacher can be a primary source of knowledge for teachers because they work in the same district with the same LEP students. Dearman and Alber (2005) claimed that through professional development that is collaborative and reflective, teachers can adjust to the new face of education. Summary Classroom teachers choose the type of instruction to implement because they predominantly deliver instruction. Therefore, one on one interviews with teachers and classroom observations were used to collect data that addressed the language learning and cultural diversity training teachers receive, whether these modes of instruction are utilized, teacher perceptions of how prepared they are to teach ELLs and their perceptions of the academic abilities of ELLs. Additionally, reviewing district ESL policy documents indicated the amount of support provided by administrative personnel to the mainstream classroom teacher regarding the ESL program each district has in place. The four concepts that guided this qualitative case study are the demographic shift of second language learners from urban to rural educational settings, language learning pedagogy, culturally relevant pedagogy, and teacher knowledge of these two methods of instruction. These concepts framed the phenomenon of ELL instruction in rural schools.

Full document contains 203 pages
Abstract: Researchers have identified best instructional strategies for diverse learners; however, some rural school districts lack funding and resources to train mainstream teachers in language learning and cultural responsiveness. Given the rapid increase of limited English proficient (LEP) students in rural areas, the purpose of this inquiry was to discover how much diversity training rural mainstream teachers receive and how they manage ELLs in their classrooms. The conceptual framework included demographic change, language learning pedagogy, cultural diversity pedagogy, and teacher knowledge. The overarching research question focused on exploring the perceptions of rural mainstream teachers about teaching English language learners (ELLS) in content classrooms. Data for this qualitative case study were collected by 3 strategies: interviews with 10 mainstream classroom teachers, observation field notes, and district or school documentation. Typological analysis was used to analyze data based on predetermined categories created from the research objectives and conceptual framework. The findings showed that teachers in mainstream classrooms who teach ELLs perceive these students as highly capable learners and make efforts to find tools and strategies to effectively address ELL needs. A recommendation is that rural school districts make conscious efforts to provide routine ESL training to mainstream teachers to more expertly instruct ELLs in a culturally responsive manner. These findings can affect social change in rural school settings by improving ELL instruction, enhancing teacher knowledge about culturally responsive pedagogy through professional development, and increasing resources specific to the support of ELL instruction in the mainstream classroom.