Investigating the Perceptions of Preparation, Professional Support, and the Wellbeing of Teachers Serving English Learners (ELs)
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Recent growth in the population of English Learners (ELs) in the United States has created an exponential need for teachers who can serve the complex needs of these students. Academically, ELs continue to underperform when compared to their non-EL counterparts. Researchers, however, have found that in order for ELs to reach better academic outcomes, they must have access to well-prepared teachers. Regrettably, many teachers feel unprepared to teach ELs, and little is known about the professional support that teachers of ELs are receiving. In addition, little research has been conducted related to the factors that contribute to teachers of ELs wellbeing (i.e., attitudes, climate and working conditions), which may contribute to their longevity in the profession. This dissertation consists of three studies that address first-year teachers’ perceptions of their preparation, middle school teachers reported professional development opportunities targeting the instruction of ELs, and teachers’ perception of their wellbeing. Data sources for these studies included the Schools and Staffing Survey 2011-2012 and the Teaching and Learning International Survey, 2013. Results for Study 1 indicated that first-year teachers perceive that they received few professional development opportunities related to teaching ELs. In addition, results showed that as the number of ELs increase in the classroom, the less preparation teachers’ report receiving. Overall, findings revealed that first-year teachers serving ELs do not perceive receiving adequate preparation during their beginning years of teaching. Results for Study 2 indicated that middle school teachers perceived receiving few professional development opportunities geared towards serving ELs. In addition, teachers felt that the professional development that they received had a moderate impact on their instruction. Study 3 investigated teachers’ wellbeing. Results from this study showed that all teachers are experiencing heavy workloads, and almost half of these teachers teach ELs. In summary, results support previous research that teachers are not receiving sufficient professional development training related to ELs, particularly first-year and middle school teachers. In addition, further research should be conducted to examine teachers’ wellbeing, since factors related to teacher wellbeing may be contributing to attrition in a field where few teachers are available.
middle school teachers serving ELs
first-year teachers serving ELs
Stackhouse, Elizabeth Wood (2018). Investigating the Perceptions of Preparation, Professional Support, and the Wellbeing of Teachers Serving English Learners (ELs). Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from
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