High school English teachers and ELLs in the mainstream: perceptions, accomodations and supports for their work in an era of standards-based reform
Lenssen, Emily Bucknor
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This qualitative study examined the work of four language arts teachers in core curriculum classes in two high schools within in one district and how they served the English language learners assigned to their classrooms. The main focus of the study was to document the supports that existed and that the teachers accessed to assist them in addressing the specific needs of their ELL students. Four case studies of the teachers were created to determine their perceptions of their ELL students' needs and document the accommodations that they made to address those needs. Using interviews, observations, and document reviews, the researcher also examined the conditions and policies at the school, district and state level that both supported and constrained the teachers' work with their ELL students, especially considering the pressures associated with the standards-based reform that was being implemented at the time. Findings indicated that there were few supports in place for the teachers' work with their ELL students, that their work was complicated by both the number and diversity of student needs within their classroom, and that the specific needs of their ELL students remained largely unrecognized and undifferentiated from the needs of their mainstream peers. The assignment of ELL students to mainstream teachers who lacked the experience or knowledge to recognize or address their needs was problematic without providing supports to develop those teachers' practice in that area. The standards-based reform, which included assessments, standards, and accountability measure that did not differentiate between mainstream students and ELLs and the resources and educational services necessary for each appeared to increase the challenges faced by these teachers and students. Findings include implications for both policy and future research in the area of secondary ELL education within the mainstream education system in the US.
- Education - Seattle