Exploring change in preservice teachers' beliefs about English language learning and teaching
MetadataShow full item record
Increasing numbers of English language learners (ELLs) and diminishing services for those students is resulting in mainstream teachers across the United States taking on the responsibility of teaching ELLs. This demands the preparation of all teachers to teach ELLs. Yet adequate preparation of these educators depends on insight into the beliefs that preservice teachers carry with them to the classroom. These beliefs are critical in their impact on teacher behavior and teacher expectations of ELLs. Remarkably, what preservice teachers believe about ELL issues is overlooked in research. The purpose of the present study was to look beyond these previously explored paths of ESL, bilingual, multicultural, and foreign language education to discover preservice Pre-K through 8th grade mainstream teachers’ beliefs about language learning in order to better inform future teacher preparation programs. The research questions used to accomplish the purpose of this study focused on what beliefs pre-service teachers at Texas A&M University hold regarding second language learning and teaching before ESL coursework, how those beliefs change after ESL coursework, and what variables influence these pre-service teachers’ beliefs about English language learning and teaching? A total of 354 individuals participated in the study. They were involved in ESL coursework during their participation in the study. The data were collected from August of 2006 to May of 2007. This study had a mixed method design. The research instruments included a Likert-scale questionnaire and focus group interviews. The interviews were analyzed according to the constant-comparative method. The questionnaires were analyzed based descriptive statistics, paired sample t-tests, and hierarchical multiple regression. Major findings of the study include that before ESL coursework, preservice teachers largely undervalued ELLs’ L1, yet they were aware of ELLs in mainstream environments and positive about ELLs themselves. Coursework was found to be effective in that after ESL coursework there was an obvious shift toward greater alignment in beliefs with principles of ESL education. Interviews underscored the role of field experience, teacher educators and ESL courses in impacting belief change.
Clark-Goff, Kylah Lynn (2008). Exploring change in preservice teachers' beliefs about English language learning and teaching. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from