Improving Teaching and Learning for English Language Learners
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While there has been tremendous growth in the numbers of Hispanics and English language learners (ELLs) in our public schools, there has been a lack of educational opportunities offered to these students resulting in low educational achievement and attainment. Additionally, increases in the linguistic and cultural diversity of the student population have not been accompanied by diversification of the corps of teachers and many teachers who serve ELLs are not certified or prepared adequately to meet the linguistic and academic needs of second language learners. This context, in which the potential of our nation's ELLs is not being met by our education system, calls for research focusing on the education of ELLs. The three studies that constitute this dissertation address two critical areas, reading and mathematics, by documenting the cognitive reading strategies that middle school Hispanic ELLs utilize and evaluating professional development activities for teachers of ELLs. The mixed methods studies used student self-report data from the Reading Strategies Questionnaire (RSQ) as well as observational and survey data from a professional development program. Means and standard deviations were reported from the RSQ. Data from the observations of the professional development program were coded to determine the topics that were addressed in the program. Results from the RSQ indicate that Hispanic ELLs, in general, do not consistently adopt a strategic approach to reading in English. Additionally, while professional development is one avenue to improve the instruction that Hispanic ELLs receive, results from the observations indicate that teachers receive professional development of limited quality and that little of the professional development is connected to instruction for ELLs. Findings from this series of studies can be utilized to inform reading instruction for ELLs and to enhance professional development opportunities for teachers of ELLs.
Kandel, Brooke E. (2009). Improving Teaching and Learning for English Language Learners. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from