The purpose of this qualitative, phenomenological study was to explore the lived experiences of fourth grade teachers working in a large urban school district, where the achievement gap between English Language Learners (ELLs) and non-ELLs was smaller when compared to other schools within the district. The problem originated from the need to consider factors beyond teacher training that potentially influenced academic achievement. The research question guiding this study asked: What are the lived experiences of 4th grade teachers who have taught at identified elementary schools, where ELL students have demonstrated proficiency on the ELA portion of the state standards assessment? The framework in this study was based on previous research that utilized models rooted in social interactionist theory, sociocultural theory, and social constructivism. Participants in this study were selected from Title I schools with the most narrow achievement gap between ELL sub-groups and non-ELL sub-groups, compared to other schools in the district. Purposive sampling was used to identify 10 participants, including at least one teacher from each of the five identified schools. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to answer the research questions. Five themes emerged and included: (a) language as a barrier to traditional teaching methods; (b) student growth as a primary success; (c) using visuals and other non-verbal instruction; (d) small groups; and (e) building relationships with parents. The themes confirmed findings from previous research, aligned to the theoretical framework, and the themes were used to inform effective teaching practices and guide future research.
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Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
College of Community Innovation and Education
Learning Sciences and Educational Research
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Webley, Tracy, "Phenomenological Study of Urban Elementary Teachers with Proficient English Language learners" (2019). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 6593.