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1 PERCEPTIONS OF TEACH ING AND LEARNING TO TEACH ENGLISH LANGUA GE LEARNERS IN ELEMENTARY CLASSR OOMS By SANDRA JEAN HANCOCK A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2010
2 2010 Sandra Jean Hancock
3 T o my wonderful, supportive family and my dear friends who believed in me and to my furry friends who were always there with unconditional love
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I thank my family for their support, encour agement, and belief that I would achieve this monumental task. I especially thank my daughter, Kelly, who was my editor, encourager, reader, and runner, always willing to do whatever I asked. I thank Mother for spending hours checking references, bringing me food, and giving me hugs. I thank my daughter, Megan, my son, Joshua, and his beloved, Samantha for setting aside time to give feedback. I thank Dad and Sue, who said, You can do anything you want to do! I also thank my dogs, Jack and Pippin, who were always there with unconditional love. I also have great appreciation for my supervisory committee, Dr. Candace Harper, Chair; Dr. Teresa Antes; Dr. Linda Behar Horenstein; and Dr. Mari a Coady Their patie nce at my sometime snails pace, and their encouragement and support moved me forward on my journey I want to thank former fellow doctoral students, Kisha Bryan, Jiraporn Dhanarattigannon, Karen Kuhel, and Berna Mutlu, who shared food, fun, support, and listening ears, lighting the path before me. I also thank my colleague, Lucy Kachmarik, who was my task mas ter, as well as other friends, believers, and supporters.
5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .................................................................................................. 4 LIST OF TABLES .......................................................................................................... 10 LIST OF TABLES .......................................................................................................... 11 LIST OF FIGURES ........................................................................................................ 12 LIST OF ABBREVIA TIONS ........................................................................................... 13 ABSTRACT.14 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION .................................................................................................... 17 Purpose of the Study .............................................................................................. 21 Research Questions ............................................................................................... 22 Significance of the Study ........................................................................................ 23 Definitions of Terms ................................................................................................ 24 2 CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK AND LITERATURE REVIEW ................................ 27 Conceptual Frameworks ......................................................................................... 28 Teacher Socialization ....................................................................................... 29 Functionalist perspective ........................................................................... 29 Interp retive perspective .............................................................................. 29 Critical perspective ..................................................................................... 30 Dialectical teacher socialization frameworks .............................................. 31 Review of Studies Pertaining to Teacher Socialization .................................... 35 Life history .................................................................................................. 35 Preservice teacher education ..................................................................... 35 Inservice teaching ...................................................................................... 36 Teacher Beliefs and Perceptions ...................................................................... 38 Facts .......................................................................................................... 38 Beliefs ........................................................................................................ 39 Perceptions ................................................................................................ 41 The Need for Prepared Teachers ........................................................................... 43 Changing Demographics .................................................................................. 43 Academic A chievement Indicators of ELLs ...................................................... 43 Needed: Prepared Teachers ............................................................................ 44 The ESOL Program Model of Choice: Inclusion ..................................................... 45 Factors Leading to ESOL Inclusion .................................................................. 46 ELL Inclusion in the State of Florida ................................................................. 48
6 The Literature: Teaching and Learning to Teach ELLs ........................................... 49 Professional Dispositions toward ELLs ............................................................ 50 Roles and Responsibilities ............................................................................... 52 Challe nges and Demands of Teaching ELLS ................................................... 54 Integrating Language and Content Instruction .................................................. 56 Gaps in the Literature Base about Teaching ELLs in Elementary Classrooms ................................................................................................... 57 Components of Successful ESOL Inclusion Classrooms ................................. 58 Staff development ...................................................................................... 58 Appropriate curricula .................................................................................. 59 Adequate resources ................................................................................... 60 Professional dispositions ........................................................................... 61 Prepar ing Prospective Teachers for ELLs .............................................................. 62 Teacher Preparation through the Lens of Multicultural Education .................... 62 Teacher Preparation Specific to the Needs of ELLs ......................................... 64 ESOL Preparation Requirements in the State of Florida .................................. 68 UFS ESOL Infused Elementary Teacher Education Program ......................... 71 TSL 3520 : Foundations of language and culture in the elementary classroom ............................................................................................... 74 TSL 5142: ESOL curriculum, methods, and assessment ........................... 76 From Prepared Students to Ready, Willing, and Able Teachers of ELLs? ....... 78 Summary ................................................................................................................ 80 3 METHODOLOGY ................................................................................................... 81 Philosophical Foundations ...................................................................................... 82 Interpretivism .................................................................................................... 82 Phenomenology as a Philosophy ..................................................................... 83 Transcendental phenomenology ................................................................ 84 Hermeneutic phenomenology .................................................................... 86 Application of phenomenology to research ................................................ 88 Dissertation Philosophical Stance .................................................................... 89 Assumptions of contemporary phenomenological philosophy ................... 89 The epistemology of constructionism ......................................................... 90 Participant Selection Phase .................................................................................... 92 Part icipant Selection Criteria ............................................................................ 93 Access and Entry ............................................................................................. 94 Confidentiality ................................................................................................... 96 Data Collection Phase ............................................................................................ 97 The Method of In Depth Interviewing ............................................................... 99 Characteristics of in depth interviewing .......................................................... 100 Stages of in depth interviewing ...................................................................... 100 Topical sequence of interviews ...................................................................... 100 Data Collection Steps ..................................................................................... 102 Step 1: Teacher information form, school demographics, and ProTeach syllabi .................................................................................................... 102 Step 2: Artifact request and interview one ............................................... 102
7 Step 3: Interview one member check, interview two, and artifact review 104 Step 4: Interview two member check and interview three ........................ 105 Step 5: Interview three, individual, and transcript member check ............ 106 Data Analysis Phase ............................................................................................. 106 Step 1: Preliminary Exploratory Analysis ........................................................ 107 Step 2: Reduction/Breakdown of Text ............................................................ 108 Step 3: Making Thematic Connections ........................................................... 111 Presentation of Results ......................................................................................... 111 Trustworthiness of Study ...................................................................................... 112 Clarif ying Researcher Position ....................................................................... 112 Topical Sequence of Data Collection ............................................................. 118 Member Checking .......................................................................................... 119 Triangulation of Data ...................................................................................... 119 Rich, Thic k Description ................................................................................... 120 Summary .............................................................................................................. 120 4 FINDINGS: TEACHING ELLS .............................................................................. 121 Megan Barrett, Fourth Grade Teacher .................................................................. 121 Family Background ......................................................................................... 121 K 12 Education ............................................................................................... 122 Career Aspiration ........................................................................................... 122 Higher Educati on ............................................................................................ 122 District Context ............................................................................................... 123 School Context ............................................................................................... 123 Classroom Context ......................................................................................... 124 Roles, Responsibilities, Challenges, and Demands ....................................... 125 The Differences in Teaching ELLS ................................................................. 128 Supports and Constraints ............................................................................... 129 Future Plans ................................................................................................... 130 Julie OBrien, Fourth Grade Teacher .................................................................... 131 Family Background ......................................................................................... 131 K 12 Education ............................................................................................... 131 Career Aspiration ........................................................................................... 131 Higher Education ............................................................................................ 132 District Conte xt ............................................................................................... 132 School Context ............................................................................................... 133 Classroom Context ......................................................................................... 134 Roles, Responsibilities, Challenges, and Demands ....................................... 135 The Differences in Teaching ELLs ................................................................. 138 Supports and Constraints ............................................................................... 139 Future Plans ................................................................................................... 140 Lauren Perez Cruz, Kindergarten Teacher ........................................................... 140 Family Background ......................................................................................... 140 K 12 Education ............................................................................................... 141 Career Aspiration ........................................................................................... 141 Higher Education ............................................................................................ 141
8 District Conte xt ............................................................................................... 142 School Context ............................................................................................... 142 Classroom Context ......................................................................................... 144 Roles, Responsibilities, Challenges, and Demands ....................................... 145 The Differences in Teaching ELLs ................................................................. 148 Supports and Constraints ............................................................................... 148 Future Plans ................................................................................................... 149 Christina Marino, First Grade Teacher .................................................................. 150 Family Background ......................................................................................... 150 K 12 Education ............................................................................................... 150 Career Aspiration ........................................................................................... 151 Higher Education ............................................................................................ 152 District Context ............................................................................................... 153 School Context ............................................................................................... 153 Classroom Context ......................................................................................... 154 Roles, Responsibilities, Challenges, and Demands in Teaching ELLs ........... 156 The Differences in Teaching ELLs ................................................................. 158 Supports and Constraints ............................................................................... 160 Future Plans ................................................................................................... 161 Melissa Solana, ESOL Coordinator and Former 35 Grade Teacher .................... 162 Family Background ......................................................................................... 162 K 12 Education ............................................................................................... 163 Career Aspiration ........................................................................................... 163 Higher Education ............................................................................................ 164 District Conte xt ............................................................................................... 164 School Context ............................................................................................... 164 Classroom Context ......................................................................................... 166 Roles, Responsibilities, Challenges, and Demands in Teaching ELLs ........... 167 The Differences in Teaching ELLs ................................................................. 169 Supports and Constraints ............................................................................... 171 Future Plans ................................................................................................... 172 Individual Profile Summary ............................................................................. 173 Cros sProfile Findings ........................................................................................... 174 Roles and Responsibilities .................................................................................... 175 Instructor ........................................................................................................ 175 Planning for instruction for ELLs .............................................................. 176 Providing instruction to ELLs .................................................................... 177 Secretary ........................................................................................................ 180 Paperwork tasks ...................................................................................... 181 ESOL strategy documentation ................................................................. 182 Home school communication ................................................................... 182 Nurturer .......................................................................................................... 183 Individual attention ................................................................................... 183 Positive dispositions ................................................................................. 184 Challenges and Demands ..................................................................................... 185 Parental Support and Involvement ................................................................. 185
9 Time as an Obstacle ...................................................................................... 186 Educational Mandates .................................................................................... 188 Meeting the Needs of Diverse Learners ......................................................... 189 Supports and Constraints ..................................................................................... 190 Supports ......................................................................................................... 190 ESOL coordinator .................................................................................... 191 Bilingual paraprofessionals ...................................................................... 191 Constraints ..................................................................................................... 191 Time to meet ELLs needs ....................................................................... 192 Unskilled colleagues ................................................................................ 192 Limited parental support and involvement ............................................... 193 Lack of au tonomy due to educational policies .......................................... 193 Summary .............................................................................................................. 194 5 FINDINGS: PREPARING TO TEACH ELLS ......................................................... 196 ESOL Infused Courses ......................................................................................... 198 ESOL Stand Alone Courses ................................................................................. 199 Second Language Acquisition Theory ............................................................ 201 Field Experiences ........................................................................................... 203 Second Languag e Learning and Culture Self Reflection ................................ 206 Lesson Planning ............................................................................................. 207 Conversational Exchange with Adult International Students .......................... 208 Recommendations for the ESOLInfused Program ............................................... 209 Better Infusion of ESOL Content in Courses .................................................. 209 Legalities and Procedures Related to ELLs .................................................... 210 ESOL Field Placements in Mainstream Classroom with ELLs ....................... 210 Summary .............................................................................................................. 211 6 DISCUSSION ....................................................................................................... 213 Summary of the Findings: Teaching ELLs ............................................................ 214 Perceptions about Teaching ELLs .................................................................. 215 Perceptions of selves as teachers ........................................................... 215 Perceptions of ESOL Teachers ................................................................ 218 Pe rceptions of educational policies .......................................................... 221 Perceptions about parental responsibilities .............................................. 224 Perceptions of similarities in teaching ELLs and other students .............. 225 Perceptions of the needs of ELL .............................................................. 226 Providing Instruction for ELLs ......................................................................... 228 Modifications for less proficient ELLs ....................................................... 228 Lack of modifications for more proficient ELLs ......................................... 229 The neglect of ELLs cultural background ................................................ 2 32 ESOL resources ....................................................................................... 233 ESOL Specialists and NonSpecialists ........................................................... 235 Summary of Findings: Learning to Teach ELLs .................................................... 236 ESOL Infused Courses ................................................................................... 237
10 ESOL Stand Alone Courses ........................................................................... 238 Second language acquisition content and application ............................. 238 Field experiences ..................................................................................... 239 Lesson planning for ELLs ........................................................................ 240 Self reflection ........................................................................................... 241 Conversational exchange ............................................................................... 242 Recommendations ......................................................................................... 242 Perceptions of Participants Who Specialized in ESOL ................................... 243 Perceptions of Participants Who Did Not Specialize in ESOL ........................ 244 Theoretical Implications of the Findings ................................................................ 246 Life History ..................................................................................................... 247 Learning to Teach .......................................................................................... 249 Teaching ELLs ............................................................................................... 251 Summary of the Contributions of This Research .................................................. 253 Limitations of the Study ......................................................................................... 253 Implic ations of the Study ....................................................................................... 255 District and School Based ............................................................................. 255 Teacher Education Programs ......................................................................... 256 Recommendations for Future Studies ................................................................... 257 APPENDIX A LETTER OF INVITATION TO PARTICIPATE ....................................................... 258 B TEACHER INFORMATION FORM ....................................................................... 260 C INFORMED CONSENT FORM ............................................................................. 262 D INTERV IEW GUIDE .............................................................................................. 264 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .......................................................................................... 287
11 LIST OF TABLES Table page 2 1 ESOL specialization course options: Unified Elementary ProTeach ................... 74 3 1 Participant characteristics ................................................................................... 96 3 2 Methodology descriptions ................................................................................... 98 3 3 Methodology matrix ............................................................................................ 99 3 4 Stages of in d epth interviewing......................................................................... 101 4 1 Barrett: Similarities and differences between ELLs and nonELLs ................... 128 4 2 OBrien: Similarities and differences between ELLs and nonELLs .................. 138 4 3 Perez Cruz: Similarities and differences between ELLs and nonELLs ............ 148 4 4 Marino: Similarities and differences between ELLs and nonELLs ................... 159 4 5 Solano: Similarities and differences between ELLs and nonELLs ................... 169 4 6 School district demographics ............................................................................ 174 4 7 School and classroom contexts ........................................................................ 174 5 1 Participant ProTeach data ................................................................................ 196
12 LIST OF FIGURES Figure pag e 2 1 Pollards revised model of coping strategies ...................................................... 32 2 2 Stanton and Hunts model of the teacher socialization process .......................... 34
13 LIST OF ABBREVIATION S ELI English Language Institute, an Intensive English Program at the University of Florida for international students before they begin degree programs ELL English Language Learner ESE Exceptional Student Education ESOL English to Speakers of Other Languages FDOE Florida Department of Education IRB Institutional Review Board LEP Limited English Proficient NAEP National Assessment of Educational Progress NCATE National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education NCES National Center for Educational Statistics NCLB No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 ProTeach Five year, ESOL infused Unified Elementary ProTeach (Professional Teacher) Program at the University of Florida resulting in both bachelor and master degrees in education TESOL T eachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc., an international professional education organization UF University of Florida
14 Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy ENGLISH TO SPEAKERSOF OTHERLANGUAGES INFUSION GRADUATES PERCEPTIONS ABOUT TEACHING AND LEARNING TO TEACH ELLS IN ELEMENTARY CLASSROOM S By Sandra Jean Hancock August 2010 Chair: Can dace A. Harper Major: Curriculum and Instruction This study explored the teaching experiences and perceptions of five graduates of the fiveyear ProTeach teacher education program at the University of Florida who had been teaching ELLS in mainstream elem entary classrooms in large districts in public schools in Florida in order to understand the reality that such teachers might face. In addition, it examined their perceptions about the continuities and discontinuities of their university preparation and t heir teaching realities. Finally, it considered similarities and differences in experiences and perceptions between the two participants who had specialized in teaching ELLs in ProTeach and the three who had specialized in other fields. The conceptual f rameworks for the study were teacher socialization and teacher perceptions. Seidmans qualitative methodology of indepth interviewing from a phenomenological philosophical perspective was used. Participants were interviewed three times; the first was ab out their life history to provide background; the second was about their experiences teaching ELLs in mainstream elementary classrooms; and the third was about their teacher education to teach ELLs.
15 Regarding the teaching of ELLs, common roles that parti cipants described where that of (1) instructor of ELLs; (2) secretary; (3) nurturer; (4) parental liason; (5) supervisor; and (6) advocate. The participants perceived the following as challenges and demands entailed in having ELLs in the mainstream classr oom: (1) limited parental support and involvement; (2) time as an obstacle; (3) educational mandates; and (4) meeting the needs of diverse learners, including ELLs, in the same classroom. Common supports that participants perceived were (1) the presence of ESOL coordinators to complete assessment of ELLs and ESOLrelated paperwork and (2) the provision of bilingual paraprofessionals for limited amounts of time daily. Shared perceived constraints in teaching ELLs in the elementary classroom were lack of (1) professional development opportunities; (2) time to prepare to teach and provide ELLs with needed individual support; (3) knowledgeable and skilled colleages; and (4) parental support and involvement. Regarding learning to teach ELLs, the majority of part icipants did not recall specific ESOL related content in methods courses that were supposed to be infused. The following course content from the two ESOL standalone courses were perceived by participants as being important in knowing in order to teach EL Ls: (1) second language acquisition theory and application; (2) ESOL field experiences; and (3) lesson planning. Participants recommended the following additions in the ESOLinfused teacher education program: (1) explicit ESOL content in infused courses; (2) additional content in ESOL stand alone courses about legal requirements and procedures for educating ELLs in Florida schools; and (3) field experiences with ELLs in mainstream
16 elementary classrooms to reflect the settings where future teachers will lik ely be teaching.
17 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION The number of students identifi ed as English Language Learners (ELLs) in K 12 public scho ols in the United States has risen dramatically, with over 4.7 million reported in the 2007 2008 school year ( Boyle, Taylor, Hurlburt, & Soga, 2010 ). These students mad e up about 10% of the nations student enrollment with most speaking Spanish but overall speaking over 400 different languages. ELLs are cur rently the fastest growing population in American public schools ( Wolf, Herman, & Dietel, 2010). With the rise in ELL student numbers in the U.S. has arrived the trend of English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) inclusion. Inclusion refers to the ESOL model of including ELLs who are classified as limited English proficient in general education classrooms where the language of instruction is English. Accordingly, general education teachers are char ged with providing equitable educational opportunities for these (included) ELLs as well as special education students who have been mainstreamed in order to be in the least restrictive educational environment. In Florida (the state of focus for this study ), inclusion began to spread as an ESOL program model across the s tates districts in the mid 1990s (in Florida and a few other states ESOL is referred to as ESOL, English to Speakers of Other Languages; the terms are interchangeable). Inclusion was propelled by the former director of the Office of Multicultural Student Language Education (currently the Office of Academic Achievement a nd Language Acquisition), a Florida Department of Education (FDOE) department, as a means to provide ELLs with better access to the gradelevel curriculum and to integrate ELLs with general education students (Garcia, 1995). Many districts saw this as a budget saving measure as ESOL teaching positions could be
18 eliminated or greatly reduced in number ESOL inclusion is now the current prevalent model of ESOL instruction in Florida schools (Platt, Mendoza, & Harper, 2003 ; L. Rodriguez, personal communication, July 7, 2010). ESOL inclusion places special demands on classroom teachers as they, in effect, become j acksof alltrades (Platt et al. 2003 ) including ESOL teaches. It carries with it roles and responsibilities that teachers m ay not be prepared for or want (Harper & Platt, 1998). Teachers must make standards based curricula accessible to diverse groups of students with varying linguistic and cultural backgrounds, abilities, literacy levels, and special needs and develop the English language skills of ELLs as quickly as possible in order to meet accountability targets ( No Ch ild Left Behind [ NCLB] 2002). Prior studies about the teaching and learning of ELLs in general education settings (e.g., Clair, 1995; Constantino, 1994; Curtin, 2005; Franson, 1999; Harklau, 1994, 1999, 2000; Harper & Platt, 1998; Iddings, 2005 ; Penfiel d, 1987; Reeves, 2002, 2004, 2006; Walker, Shafer & L iams, 2004; Youngs, 1999) revealed many challenges that ESOL inclusion places on teachers, which may prevent inclusion from being successful in providing equitable opportunities for linguistic, academic and social development (Clegg, 1996; Iddings, 2005). Part of this problem could be that few practicing ( inservice ) teachers have received professional development in ESOL (Kindler, 2002) or feel well prepared to address ELLs unique needs (National Cent er for Educational Statistics [NCES ], 2001). Valds et al. ( 2005) argued that spe cialized preparation for teachers was essential to give ELLs equitable access to the curriculum while they are developing English language skills; Harper and Platt (1998) arg ued that teacher support from ESOL staff wa s essential.
19 Some colleges and universities are attempting to address the need for highly qualified teachers and the movement of ELLs into mainstream general education classrooms by integrating ESOL pedagogy into their existing teacher education programs curr icula. This approach to preparing preservice teachers for ELLs in their classrooms is referred to as ESOL (or ESOL) infusion For example, public universities in Florida were charged by legislative action with preparing all future teachers with ESOL qualifications ( FDOE 2001). One allowable option for meeting this mandate in Florida was through infusion. ESOL teacher compet encies can be integrated into existing teacher education coursework. In addition, two (or more) standalone ESOL courses were required. The successful completion of ESOL infused teacher education programs provide program graduates with the credentials needed to qualify them to teach ELLs. Literature on teacher socialization, an interactional process in which individuals become participating members of t he teaching profession, suggested that teacher education was but one factor that affects teachers bel iefs, perceptions, and actions and is likely not the most influential factor (Grossman, Thompson, & Valencia, 2002; Lortie, 1975; Zeichner & Gore, 1990). Other variables, including personal, school context, educational policy, and political, also influenc e teachers experiences in the classroom and how they make meaning from them (Achinstein, Ogawa, & Speiglman, 2004; Achinstein & Ogawa, 2006; Jordell, 1987; Schempp, Sparks, & Templin, 1993; Staton & Hunt, 1992; van den Berg, 2002; Zeichner & Gore, 1990). Zeichner and Gore (1990) and Cornbleth (2001) call ed for studies that consider district and school contexts
20 Brown and Borko (2006) also call ed for studies that examine these as well as studies that describe how teachers influence their colleagues, insti tutions, and students. Sachs (2 001) argued that teachers need opportunities to tell their stories and make the tacit explicit, to create dialogue, to (trans)form an individual and collective professional identity, and to provide a means to renew teacher pr ofessionalism. Most studies about ELLs in the mainstream to date have used ELLs as participants rather than teachers (e.g., Cummins, 2000; Duff, 2001; 1995; Harklau, 1994, 1999, 2000; Stanovich, Jordan & Perrot; 1998; Toohey, 1996; Wilson Quayle & Pasnak 1997). Of studies focusing on teachers, most researchers have studied general education teacher attitudes toward ELLs (Reeves, 2002, 2004, 2006; Youngs, 1999; Youngs & Youngs, 2001), depending primarily on quantitative surveys as data sources. In additi on, much of the research on ESOL inclusion has focused on the secondary level (e.g., Duff, 2001; Fu, 1995; Harklau, 1994, 1999; Reeves, 2002, 2004, 2006; Stanovich, Jordan, & Perot, 1998; Youngs, 1999; Youngs & Youngs, 2001) rather than on the elementary g rades. No studies could be located that give voice to teachers who were prepared in an ESOL infused teacher education program in todays culture of accountability and anti immigrant sentiment. In addition, no studies were found that were grounded in a phenomenological perspective. According to van Manen (1990), this perspective allows the researcher to discover the meaning of an experience through an exploration of the particulars as they are encountered in lived experience, (1990, p. 10) coming to an understanding based on this experience. Exploring the perceptions and experiences of graduates of an ESOL infused elementary teacher education program who were involved in teaching ELLs in inclusive
21 settings address important gaps in the research about t he realities teachers and provide needed feedback to teacher educators. Many graduates of ESOL infused teacher education programs in Florida are now in the field teaching ELLs in elementary classrooms. The void in research on their experiences with ELLs and on the relevance of t heir ESOL infused preparation and the realities in which they find themselv es immersed needs to be filled. This study intends to fill the gap. Purpose of the Study The purpose of this qualitative exploratory and descriptive study wa s to give voice to graduates of a Florida ESOL infused teacher education program in order to understand, fro m their perspectives, what it is like to teach ELLs in inclusive elementary settings. The study also provided feedback on ways that participants teacher education program prepared them for the realities they actually encounter ed. In addition, it examined similarities and differences in the perceptions and experiences of teachers who had specialized in ESOL and those who had not. The intent of the s tudy was not to determine the depth of knowledge these teachers possess ed about teaching ELLs, to examine their actual instructional practices in their classrooms, or to fit their stories into existing theoretical frameworks. Instead, the study s ought to examine teachers perceptions based on their own personal, subjective, and retrospective accounts of their experiences and the meanings they mad e of them. While such a qualitative study is not generalizable and is based on subjective views of participants it can provide, nonetheless, practical and useful information (Patton, 2002). For example, findings and conclusions can provide information that teacher educators can use to modify their existing curriculum to
22 address the roles, responsibilities, chall enges, support, and constraints these teacher s have experienced. Research Questions The spec ific research questions and subquestions I s ought to answer we re: 1. What are ESOL prepared elementary teachers perceptions about their experiences with the teachi ng and learning of ELLs in mainstream classrooms? 1a. What are ESOL prepared elementary teachers perceptions about their roles and responsibilities related to the teaching and learning of ELLs? 1b. What are ESOL prepared elementary teachers perceptions about the challenges and demands related to the teaching and learning of ELLs? 1c. What are ESOL prepared elementary teachers perceptions about the supports and constraints related to the teaching and learning of ELLs? 2. What are ESOL prepared elementary tea chers perceptions about their preservice teacher education experiences to teach ELLs in general education settings? 2a. What are ESOL prepared elementary tea chers perceptions about ESOL related content and activities in their teacher education program ? 2b. What are ESOL prepared elementary tea chers recommendations to make improvements to the ESOLinfused Unified Elementary ProTeach Program based on their teaching experiences ? 3. How do the experiences and perc eptions of ESOL prepared elementary teachers who specialize d in ESOL during their ESOL infused teacher education program compare to those teachers who specialized in other fields?
23 Significance of the Study Inclusion has become the prevalent ESOL instructional model in Florida K 12 public schools (Pl att et al., 2003; L. Rodriguez, personal communication, July 7, 2010), making general education teachers responsible for both academic content and English language development instruction for ELLs. To prepare preservice teachers for teaching ELLs in mains tream classroom settings beginning in the 20002001 school year public teacher education programs in Florida began infusing ESOL competenc i es into their elementary teacher education curricula in addition to requiring two or more standalone ESOL courses In the summer of 2002, the first education student cohorts graduated from t he College of Education at the University of Florida (UF) started from the five year ESOLinfus ed Unified ProTeach P rogram, which leads to a masters degree in elementary education. Many of these graduates are now teaching ELLs in inclusive classrooms in Florida public schools. This study filled a gap in the literature by exploring ESOL prepared teachers experiences and their perspectives about their experiences teaching ELLs in m ainstream inclusive elementary classroom settings and about the match (or mismatch) between these experiences and their preservice teacher education The findings provide teacher educators with better understandings of what is occurring in schools, what is expected of teachers, and what teachers needs are in serving ELLs in such settings at this particular point in time. They make available practical and useful knowledge for action (Patton, 2002, p. 78) for teacher educators as they plan and implement ESOL content in teacher education programs. In addition, this study offer s school administrators and other school personnel insights into teachers classroom realities and ways that they can provide support and assistance for teachers.
24 Definitions of Terms Beliefs Judgments and evaluations we make about ourselves, about others, and about the world around us. Beliefs are generalizations about things such as causality or the meaning of specific actions (Yero, 2002, p. 21). E nglish Language Learner (ELL) Refers to a student who has sufficient difficulty speaking, reading, writing, or understanding the English language to deny him or her the opportunity to learn successfully in classrooms in which the language of instruction is English ( Florida Depart ment of Education [FDOE], 2009, p. 3) and who require instructional support in order to fully access academic content in their classes (Ballantyne, Sanderman, Levy, 2008) as well as instructional support to develop proficiency in the English language and to develop an awareness of American cultural mores in order to enable him or her to fully participate in a democratic society. ESOL certification In Florida, a qualification earned through the successful completion of a masters degree in Applied Linguis tic or TESOL and a passing score on the state ESOL teacher certification exam, which allows a teacher to teach ELLs language arts in K 12 settings. ESOL endorsement A rider (earned through the completion of mandated coursework) on a teaching certificate in another subject area that allows a teacher to be qualified to teach language arts to ELLs in the certificate subject area, such as elementary education. ESOL strategies Refers to methods, strategies, and techniques that promote English language develop ment of ELLs. These include such activities as activating and building background knowledge; providing demonstrations, diagrams, and clear directions to make instruction comprehensible; providing cooperative learning opportunities that foster student interaction; and allowing extended time for students to respond Experience Refers to events that can be recalled, re flected upon, and reconstructed. Inclusion Refers to the ESOL program model in which ELLs are placed in mainstream general education classroom s w here instruction is in
25 English and where teachers are expected to promote English language development along with content knowledge Infusion Refers to the preservice teacher education program model in which ESOL content is integrated into program curricula in order to address ESOL teacher performance standards. In the Florida infusion model, public universities must also provide at least two standal one ESOL courses in addition to ESOL i nfused regular curriculum coursework. Mainstream classroom Refers to a gradelevel general education classroom in which a heterogeneous group of students is placed. In this document, such classrooms will also be referred to as mainstream, heterogeneous, and in clusive classrooms. Perceptions Refer to the mental processes that involve thoughts and reflections about experiences as filtered through a belief system and the resulting personal meani ng given to those experiences Professional dispositions Refers to professional attitudes, values, and beliefs demonstrated through both verbal and nonverbal behaviors as educators interact with students, families, colleagues, and communities. These positive behaviors support student learning and development. [and include] fairness Professional e ducator/Pract icing teacher/Inservice teacher and the belief that all students can learn (NCATE, 1997 2010). Refers to a certified teacher who is currently providing classroom instruction in a school. Prospective/Preservice teacher Refers to a student who is enrolled in a teacher education pro gram at a college or university Teacher education program Refers to undergraduate or graduate educational program at a college or university that prepares preservice teachers for initial teaching certification Teacher socialization
26 Refers to process in which sociopolitical factors, teacher education programs, and schools as institutions, interact with individuals values and beliefs in order to shape them to become participating, competent members of the teac hing profession.
27 CHAPTER 2 CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK AND LITERATURE REVIE W This study explored the experiences of ESOL endorsed elementary teachers who t aught ELLs in heterogeneous classrooms and their perceptions of those experiences. In addition, it explored their perceptions of their teacher education program that sought to prepare them to do so. The research questions were: What are ESOL prepared elementary teachers perceptions about their experiences with the teaching and learning of ELLs in mainstrea m classrooms? 1a. What are ESOL prepared elementary teachers perceptions about their roles and responsibilities related to the teaching and learning of ELLs? 1b. What are ESOL prepared elementary teachers perceptions about the challenges and demands related to the teaching and learning of ELLs? 1c. What are ESOL prepared elementary teachers perceptions about the supports and constraints related to the teaching and learning of ELLs? What are ESOL prepared elementary teachers perceptions about their preservice teacher education experiences to teach ELLs in general education settings? 2a. What are ESOL prepared elementary tea chers perceptions about ESOL related content and activities in their teacher education program ? 2b. What are ESOL prepared elementary tea chers recommendations to make improvements to the ESOLinfused Unified Elementary ProTeach Program based on their teaching experiences ? How do the experiences and perc eptions of ESOL prepared elementary teachers who specialize d in ESOL during their ESOL infused teacher education program compare to those teachers who specialized in other fields?
28 Teachers w ere asked to take a retrospective look at what had occurred during their experiences teaching and describe what they consider ed to be challenges, successes, supports, and hindrances in teaching ELLs in a mainstream setting. In addition, they w ere asked t o describe their perceptions of their teacher education program in preparing them to teach ELLs in inclusive mainstream settings, considering thei r teaching realities. T he constructs of teacher socialization and teacher perceptions served as the conceptual frameworks for this study. This study was based on the assumption that teachers bring to the classroom certain beliefs that have been constructed as a result of their socialization. The socialization process continues as they become professional educators and experience school through the perspective of a teacher rather than that of a student. The next section discusses these conceptual framewor ks, followed by the literature base on educating ELLs in Englishdominant classrooms and the preparation of teachers for ELLs Conceptual Frameworks Teacher socialization and teacher perceptions are interwoven in that our experi ences as child ren student s, and teacher s nurture our individual beliefs and perceptions of the world. This study examined participants personal and educational backgrounds and their teaching context s from their own perspectives. I discuss the conceptual framework of teacher soci alization f ollowed by teacher perceptions next, describing what perspective of each w as used as a lens for this study.
29 Teacher Socialization Socialization is the complex process by which people selectively acquire the values and attitudes, the interests skills and knowledgein short the culturecurrent in groups to which they are, or seek to become, a member [bold emphasis added] (Merton, Reader, & Kendall, 1957, p. 287). Based on their classic, extensive literature review, Zeichner and Gore (1990) id entified three paradigms of research on teacher socialization: functionalist, interpr etive, and critical. E ach of these paradigms are presented and the perspective taken for this study is discussed. Functionalist perspective The functionalist tradition of teacher socialization research focuses on central tendencies and deemphasizes complexity, contradiction, and human agency (Zeichner & Gore, 1990, p. 3) and explains how individuals are integrated into existing social orders. Teachers are viewed as pass ive and as molded by external factors prior to their preservice teacher education, such as the behaviors of th eir own teachers (Lortie, 1975) and by their experiences during their internships and beginning teacher years (Brown & Borko, 2006). Interpretiv e perspective The interpretive tradition is concerned with th e development of understanding about socialization based on the subjective meanings expressed by teachers rather than those made through researcher observations, providing a window for viewing t he teachers renditions of their inschool experiences (Schempp, Sparks, & Templin, 1993, p.449). This view, which is sometimes referred to as the interactional and the dialectical approach (e.g., Achinstein, Ogawa, & Speiglman 2004; Staton & Hunt, 1992), recognizes the ongoing interplay and negotiation between individuals and the various
30 contexts and structur es in which they are located along with the potential of each to shape socialization patterns of the other (Achinstein et al. 2004; Brown & Bork o, 2006). Lacys seminal 1977 study, which sought to understand the experiences of teacher interns from their perspectives, has been the inspiration for many contemporary interpretive socialization studies in the decades since (Brown & Borko, 2006). Criti cal p erspective The third and final tradition of socialization research discussed by Zeichner and Gore (1990) is the critical perspective in which totality, consciousness, alienation, and critique (p. 5) are the major thrusts as it raises race, gender, class, and other collective societal issues to conscious awareness. I t also addresses the social action component that Schempp et al. ( 1993) believed was needed. This perspective considers historical and political contexts with the goal of creating social transformation for a more equitable society in which all can participate. Brown and Borko (2006) agreed with Zeichner and Gore (1990) that few studies related to teacher socialization have taken thi s stance. The dialectical (interpretive) perspective serves as a conceptual framework for this study. The selection of a conceptual paradigm for research is dependent on the purpose of the study. The purpose of this study wa s to gain an understanding of the teachers perceptions of their experiences in teaching and learning to teach ELLs in e lementary classrooms. F alling within the dialectical (interpretive) paradigm, the terminology I have chosen is borrowed from Achinstein et al. ( 2004). The philosophical perspective of th ese researchers acknowledges that dialectics that is, the tension between opposing forces that brings about change, occurs between teachers and socializing agents. Teachers are considered agents in their own right as they make choic es based on their backgrounds and the relevance of options. Therefore, the one-
31 dimensional functionalist view wa s not appropriate for this study as it is concerned with the perpetuation of existing social order (Zeichner & Gore, 1990). This is not to say, however, that findings from existing research from the functionalist perspective cannot inform this study. In their review of research adhering to this perspective, Brown and Borko (2006) found consistency in findings suggest ing that novice teachers assi milate d to the attitudes and behaviors of current ly practicing teachers and, as such, conform ed to the status quo. T his perspective reminds us that teachers own educational experiences as children and their perceptions of colleagues they teach with since the way things have always been at a school can act as a pow erful force in shaping teachers views. While Schempp et al. ( 1993) argued that a limitation of the i nterpretive approach is its focus on te achers view of reality and its failure t o make social transformations, a critical (or other preconceived) agenda was not taken to the research. Instead, teachers were given the opportunity to express their individual perspectives sharing experiences and perceptions that are significant to them. Teachers identif ied and described critical issues, suc h as inequity, power, and constraints that were probed. However, this study was not framed around these concepts. Additionally this study did not aim at social tra nsformation though teachers had the opportunity to recall and reconstruct events in which they were agents of social transformation. Dialectical teacher socialization f rameworks Various theoretical frameworks for teacher socialization grounded in the dialectical perspective were created. Reviewing such frameworks can be helpful in developing additional background about contexts and structures that have been found to influence teachers behaviors, actions, and beliefs, and can provide confidence in conclusions
32 drawn from data (Schempp et al., 1993). Several frameworks are overviewed next in order to provide background and are presented chronologically. Pollards model depicted three levels of social contextualization of classroom coping strategies (1982) According to this model, t eachers actions are viewed as active and creative responses to the constraints, opportunities, and dilemmas posed by the immediate contexts of the classroom and the school, and it is through these immediate contexts that the w ider structure of the community, society, and the state have their impact on teachers (Zeichner & Gore, 1990, p. 21). Pollards illustration of this framework is shown in Figure 2 1. Figure 2 1 Pollards revised model of coping strategies (1982, p. 33)
33 The first level affecting teachers actions is identified as the interactive level in the classroom, emphasizing roles that students play in teaching and learning. The second, institutional level considers relations with colleagues and administrators among other school variables and considers how policy, politics, and other variables beyond the school affect what occurs both in the school and in classrooms. The cultural level links the classroom and school to the broader community and society. Zeichner and Gore (1990) report ed that at this level some researchers have attempted to make connections between individual and groups of teachers and the classroom to macro levels of society and to issues of wealth and power. Staton and Hunt (1992) offered a framework with a graphic display from their dialectical perspective that has a chronological sequence from prior experiences to preservice to inservice representing the notion that socialization occurs through interaction among several components: the individual (with her or his personal experiences and biography), the context, and the various agents (p. 111). This model is depicted in Figure 22 on the next page. Prior experiences and the immediate contexts of the teacher education program and inservic e school setting are nestled within intermediate, societal, and cultural contexts, meeting the demand for an ecological perspective in research by Wideen, Mayer Smith, and Moon (1998). This model depicts affective, behavioral, and cognitive changes taking place throughout this process. Most recently, Achinstein and fellow scholars (2004) developed what they refer to as an interpretive and interactional socialization framework that evolved from an examination of socialization research. It consists of t hree general domains that interact
34 to influence teacher socialization: the teacher, the local context, and the state policy environment (p. 562). The local context includes several factors that affect the success of newly hired teachers. These include t he school culture as well as human, social, physical, and assess to the cultural attributes of privilege (cultural capital). In addition, the availability of professional development activities and the effects of state educational policy, such as prescribed instructional practices, were classified as local context variables. The research by the Achinstein team (2004) confirmed these as influential in teacher socialization. Figure 22: Stanton and Hunts m odel of the teacher socialization process (1992, p. 112) This study did not attempt to fit the data c ollected into any existing socialization (or other framework) because it was grounded in a phenomenological perspective. This view emphasizes themes emerging from p articipants own exper iences and perceptions of them. Thus, the described frameworks only provide the stance taken. That is, socialization forces act upon teachers and they act upon these forces.
35 Review of Studies Pertaining to Teacher S ocialization Cu rrent socialization research is presented next to show gaps in the research. The literature review presents three broad categories of teacher socialization research identified in the preceding discussion: (1) life history, (2) preservice teacher education, and (3) inservice teaching. Life history Lortie (1975) concluded in his classic study of teacher socialization that children went through an unconscious apprenticeship of observation when they attended school and develop ed ideas and beliefs about what teachers should do bas ed on what their own teachers did. Though Lorties (1975) participants had completed teacher education programs, many of them mimicked the behaviors of their prior teachers rather than applying what they were taught during college. My daughters behavior when she came home from kindergarten exemplifies the influence of teachers when children are young. Kelly would ask me to play school with her During this roleplay Kelly transformed herself into Mrs. Hawkins her own ki ndergarten teacher. Kelly mimicked the teachers t alk, actions, and practices, which I had observed myself when visiting the classroom. For example, she calmly redirect ed me when I pretended to be off task. Preservice teacher education Clift and Brady (2005) concluded from their recent review of research that prior beliefs and experiences mediate teachers practices and beliefs. In addition to prior experiences, Clift and Brady (2005) also concluded from their socialization literature review that belie fs about pedagogy and instructional practices are affected by course work and field experiences when teachers are enrolled in teacher education programs.
36 Hollins and Guzman (2005) reviewed literature specific to preparing teachers for diverse populations and drew similar conclusions. Alt hough courses and various types of field experiences may affect preservice teachers beliefs immediately following these events, their long term consequences are inconclusive. Inservice teaching A contemporary literatur e review about socialization of new teachers by Clift and Brady (2005) confirmed earlier findings The findings suggested that new teachers we re socialized into the exi sting practices of the schools. For example, they used methods that were used in the s chool rather than using those that they had learned about in their teacher education program. Some recent studies have focused on how state mandates affect ed teachers socialization. Notably, Achinstein et al. (2004) and Achinstein and Ogawa (2006) con cluded that state mandates can limit teacher autonomy and professionalism. In addition, mandates were found to, in effect, track teachers based on the socioeconomic status of students and the community in which they taught Those in poverty schools were forced to use explicit, direct, programmed instruction while those with more privileged students had greater autonomy in making curricular decisions. In their recent review of literature on teacher socialization, Brown and Borko (2006) concluded that many competing factors influence teachers and that there is a growing consensus about the interactive nature of the socialization process and the role of novice teachers in making choices and influencing the culture into which they are being socialized (p. 227). For example, new teachers bring their teaching philosophies with them that may conflict with practices such as scripted instruction. They might chose to follow their beliefs about best practices, even if it is behind closed doors.
37 While contemporary literature reviews (e.g., Brown & Borko, 2006) have drawn similar conclusions to e arlier reviews (e.g., Zeichner & Gore, 1990), none of the literature examined elementary teachers perspectives about the teaching and lear ning of ELLs and their perceptions regarding their preparing for this role. This leaves an additional dimension that needs to be explored, especially in light of findings that nationally ELLs have been marginalized (Harklau, 2006; Iddings, 2005; and Mead or, 2005) and that teachers have not had an apprenticeship of observation (Lortie, 1975) during their school years with teachers providing instruction to ELLs because there were no such students present. Therefore, they lack modeling of differentiated ins truction for linguistically and culturally diverse students as well as exposure to cultural differences. This section examined three traditions of teacher socialization research: (1) functionalist perspective; (2) interpretive/dialectical perspective; and (3) critical perspective. T he choice of the interpretative, dialectical perspective that grounded this study was justified This perspective assumes that teachers choices and constraints such as lack of resources, interact with one another and that both individual and contextual factors influence teacher perspectives (Brown & Borko, 2006). After defending the selection of the dialectical stance, an overview of the interpretative, dialectical frameworks of Pollard, (1982), Jordell (1987), Staton and Hunt (1992), and Aichenstein et al. ( 2004) and related findings from other research reviews were presented. The review of teacher socialization litera ture was useful in that it pointed out that life history, teacher education, and school experiences can all be influential in teacher soc ialization; therefore, these topics were covered in the interviews with the participants
38 Teacher Beliefs and Perceptions Using the keywords of teacher and perceptions a database search of educationrelated literature was conducted From those articles that appeared, several that contained the word perception(s) in their titles and key words in order to locate definitions, discussion, and references for perceptions were skimmed However, none of the articles even those that discussed the development and administration of instruments to measure perceptions of teachers and others in educational settings (e.g., Corbell, Reiman, & Nietfeld, 2008; Hall, Draper, Smith, & Bullough, 2008; Wolfe, Ray & Harris, 2004) defined the term. The authors apparently assumed that the term perception was commonly understood. Following this search, Internet database searches using the term teacher beliefs was conducted since Pajares (1992) not ed in his seminal review of the teacher belief s l iterature that beliefs, perceptions, attitudes, and other ter ms have been used synonymously by some. This search yielded an article by Judith Lloyd Yero (20012002) based on her 2002 book Yero distinguished between facts, beliefs, and perceptions, respectively in a clear, concise manner. Upon reviewing the literature about the philosophy of phenomenology, an article by Barker, Pistrong, and Elliott (2002), was found which provided assumptions of perceptions according to this philosophy, which supported the writings of Yero (2002). Yeros organization to develop the concepts of facts, beliefs, and perceptions were used; and assumptions about perceptions delineated by Barker et al. ( 2002) were incorporated. Facts Facts are statements that from a partic ular perspective are part of consensus reality (Yero, 2002, p. 20). For example, most Am ericans agree that Miami is south of
39 Orlando because of shared understandings about directionality. Facts are supported by evidence and include def initions about c oncrete things. Envision a continuum with fact at the left endpoint and belief at the right. Movement is made from fact side of the continuum toward belief as complexity and abstractness about a concept or idea increases. In addition, the greater the am ount of people who have differing views about something, the further the movement toward the right belief, end of the continuum. While individuals m ight consider their thinking to be factual when this occurs, it is actually a belief (Yero, 2002) Beliefs At this point, readers might ask if the notion of belief as discussed, is merely a belief or a fact. Pajaras (1992) described belief a messy construct and spoke of the lack of consensus about its definition. Defining beliefs is at best a game of players choice. They travel in disguise and often under alias attitudes, values, judgments, axioms, opinions, ideology, perceptions, conceptions, conceptual systems, preconceptions, dispositions, implicit theories, explicit theories, personal theories, internal mental processes, action strategies, rules of practice, practical principles, perspectives, repertories of understanding, and social strategy, to name but a few that can be found in the literature (p. 309). In a recent review of past literature and analyses of teacher beliefs as well as an investigation of handbook contributions on the subject, Hermans, van Braak, and Van Keer (2008) argued that consensus existed about three basic understandings about beliefs First, teacher beliefs can be represented as a set of conceptual representations which store general knowledge of objects, people and events, and their characteristic relationships (p. 128). Individuals may be aware that their beliefs are not the same as others but may still perceive their own beliefs to be correct and even factual though evidence is lacking to support this (Abelson, 1979; Richardson, 1996).
40 According to cognitive psychology, beliefs epitomize individuals view of reality and guide thought as well as behavior (Abelson 1979; Anderson, 1985). Yero (2002) explained that a belief represents a choicethough not necessarily a conscious onethat a person has adopted from an array of alternatives. This makes a belief different from a fact. Yero illustrated this distinction throug h discussion about the educational concept accountability While many agree that accountability in education is important, beliefs differ from person to person and group to group about what accountability entails and how it can be achieved. A second com monality t hat Hermans et al. ( 2008) found across the literature is that teacher beliefs influence professional development and instructional practices. Supporting this statement, Kagan (1992) found that beliefs play ed a crucial role in teacher identity Drawing on the writing of Nespor, Hermans et al. ( 2008) wrote: B eliefs reside in episodic memory of which the content is generated by earlier experiences, episodes, or from cultural sources of knowledge transmission. This rather affective and emotional as pect of beliefs plays an important part in storing, assimilating, and retrieving knowledge by evaluating and judging gathered information ( p. 128). This substantiates the assumption that teacher beliefs, as a component of a general belief system and inf ormed by prior experiences, guide the educational planning, decision making, and action of teachers. Yero (20012002) warned that much of the conventional wisdom of education is, in effect, a collection of outdated beliefs that retain the power to driv e the behavior of the institution (p. 2). The third, and final, area of agreement about beliefs found by Hermans et al. ( 2008) was that the substructures of a belief system do not necessarily have a logical structure. A belief system, according to Roke ach (1968), contains within it, in some organized psychological but not necessarily logical form, each and every one of a
41 persons countless beliefs about physical and social reality (p. 2). One belief, in fact, may conflict with another in the same bel ief system when beliefs are left unexamined. In addition, some beliefs are foundational for others, which cause them to have more connections thus more strength, in the belief system. Because they are more central, they are more resistant to change. To summarize, beliefs can be conceptualized as storehouse of general knowledge of objects, people and events, and their characteristic relationships (Hermans et al., 2008, p. 128), through which individuals give meaning to themselves and the world. Educati onal beliefs are influential in teachers thoughts, actions, and behavior. Finally, a belief system may not have a logical organization. Therefore, conflicting beliefs may exist within the same belief system. In addition, some beliefs are the root of ot hers so they are difficult to change due to their depth. For the purposes of this study, a belief is defined as judgments and evaluations we make about ourselves, about others, and about the world around us. Beliefs are generalizations about things such as causality or the meaning of specific actions (Yero, 2002, p. 21). Next, the relationship of beliefs and perceptions along with the definition of perception that will be used for the purpose of this study is presented. Perceptions I ndividual perceptions of ones world are based on beliefs that are held about self, the world, and others (Barker et al., 2002; Yero, 2002). As such, beliefs affect what individuals pay attention to, or perceive. When people believe something is true, they perceive information supporting that belief. Beliefs alter expectations. People perceive what they expect to perceive (Yero, 2002, p. 24). While the senses gather information from various sources, people only attend to a small portion of this information becaus e
42 beliefs focus perception. Interpretation, or meaning, is given to the limited information retrieved through the lens of the belief system. Meanings that are perceived overshadow reality, events, or facts (Barker, Pistrong, & Elliott, 2002). Nonverbal communication and reactions to it also involve beliefs, and thus, perceptions. At the unconscious level, you host beliefs that determine what you perceive and how you interpret those perceptions (Yero, 2002, p. 103). Individual perception and the underlying beliefs system determine ones reality and truth (Barker et al., 2002). Of course, just as you perceive and interpret information through tunnel vision based on your belief system, others do the same. Therefore, it is important to keep in mind that there is individual variation in beliefs and, therefore, perceptions and interpretations (Barker et al., 2002). The same event can be interpreted in different ways by different people with each individual attending to particular aspects of an experienc e. The meanings given to limited input reveal that beliefs are informed by prior experiences and culture (Barker et al., 2002; Yero, 2002). For the purpose of this study, a perception refers to the mental processes that involve thoughts and reflections about experiences as filtered through a belief system and the resulting personal meaning given to those experiences. Belief systems and, thus, perceptions, as well as attitudes, are informed by prior knowledge, experiences, and culture. Perceptions remain relatively static unless changes are made to underlying belief system (Yero, 2002). Now that the conceptual frameworks of teacher socialization and perceptions have been discussed, the research and literature base about the need for teachers who are prepared to teach ELLs will be discussed.
43 The Need for Prepared Teachers Three variables that support the need for teachers who are prepared to teach ELLs will be presented. They are the increase in the number of ELLs in U.S. schools, academic achievement indicators of ELLs, and the lack of adequately prepared teachers to teach them. Changing Demographics The number of students identified as LEP in K 12 public schools has risen dramatically wit h ELLs making up about 10% of the student population in the nations public schools ( Boyle et al., 2010) General ly, the concentration of ELLs has been greatest in urban public schools, where this group made up over 20% of the total student population at the beginning of the millennium (Barron & Menken, 2002). However, the ELL number in some rural districts exceeded this, such as in Dalton, Georgia, where 50% of students were classified as LEP (E. Moore, personal communication, May 31, 2005). The greates t influx of immigrants was found to be in southeastern U.S. cities because of prevailing job opportunities in this region (Barros & Waslin, 2005; Wainer, 2006) In the State of Florida (the location of this study), about 240,000 K 12 students (11 % of the population) were reported as ELLs; t hese linguistically and culturally diverse students spoke 300 differe nt languages, from Afar to Zulu ( Rodriguez, 2009) While there has been a decline in nonLEP student enrollment since 1993, a doubling of LEP enrollm ent occurred over the 11year period hence (Office of English, 2004). There is increasing disparity in student achievement and opportunities among student groups who differ by race/ethnicity, culture, and socioeconom ics ( Banks et al., Academic Achievement Indicators of ELLs
44 2005). The academic achievement of ELLs is below that of any other subgroup on 2007 NAEP math and reading assessments administered to the fourth and seventh graders across the United States (National Assessment, 2007). According to 200 7 U.S. Department of Agriculture data (cited in Ballantyne et al. 2008), about 60% of ELLs in the United States qualify for free and reduced lunch, classifying them as economically disadvantaged. Ballantyne et al. ( 2008) reported that the dropout rate of ELLs has historically been higher than that of nonELLs. About half of the parents of elementary ELLs do not have a high school education ( Capps et al. 2005). With ELLs being the fastest growing population in American public schools (Wolf, Herman, & Dietel, 2010), these statistics are especially a cause for alarm and call for teachers who are prepared to teach this population. Needed: Prepared Teachers The increasing number of ELLs in U.S. classrooms creates a demand for teachers who are adequately prepared to teach them. They must have a sense of self efficacy as well as hold professional dispositions in order to provide ELLs with equitable educational opportunities. NCATE (19972010) defined professional dispositions as Pro fessional attitudes, values, and beliefs demonstrated through both verbal and nonverbal behaviors as educators interact with students, families, colleagues, and communities. These positive behaviors support student learning and development. [and include] fairness Ballantyne et al. summarized the most recent statistics taken from various sources that validate the call for prepared teachers: and the belief that all students can learn. It is likely that a majority of teachers have at least one English lang uage learner in their classroom. Only 29.5% of teachers with ELLs in their classes have the training to do so effectively.
45 Only 20 states require that all teachers have training in working with ELLs. Less than 1/6th of colleges offering preservice teach er preparation include training on working with ELLs. Only 26% of teachers have had training related to ELLs in their staff development programs. 57% of teachers believe they need more training in order to provide effective education for ELLs. ( 2008, p. 9) Although ESOL instruction can take place in sheltered or bilingual settings, these data apply to mainstream teachers because ESOL inclusion is a frequently implemented model. Mainstream classroom teachers may apply methods and strategies that have been dee med best practices in general. M any ESOL experts believe this is insufficient in addressing the unique needs of ELLs (e.g., Clair, 1995; de Jong & Harper, 2005, 2007; Costa, McPhail, Smith, & Brisk, 2005; Solrzano & Solrzano, 1999; Teachers of En glish to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc. [ TESOL ] Task Force, 2003; Walker et al. 2004; Young, 1996; ZunigaHill & Yopp, 1996). Rather, they assert that teaching ELLs requires specialized knowledge about language and culture, the ability to apply effect ive skills based on individual student needs in order to promote academic and language learning, and positive dispositions toward linguistically and culturally divers e students and their families. The ESOL Program Model of Choice: Inclusion ESOL inclusion is a program model in which ELLs receive all instruction in general education classrooms. The language of instruction is Englishonly. ESOL inclusion mirrors special education mainstreaming that occurred following the 1997 reauthorization of t he Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004.
46 This law required that students entitled to E xceptional S tudent E ducation (ESE) services receive them in the least restrictive environment (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act o f 2004) so that all students could receive the same general education, to the extent possible (Schwartz, 2005; Thompkins & Deloney, 1995). A difference between the ESOL and ESE models is tha t the latter has a cooperative/ consultative requirement in which general education teachers and ESE teachers collaborate to meet the needs of children with disabilities (Iddings, 2005) Mainstream elementary teachers who have ELLs included in their classrooms may or may not have support from ESOL specialists. Factors Leading to ESOL Inclusion The number of general education classrooms with ELLs has increased over the past five years due both to the rising enrollment of ELLs entering schools and because of the increased implementation of ESOL inclusion in place of bilingual, self contained structured immersion, and pullout models (Saavedra, 2005). Shift of ELLs to Englishdominant classrooms has also been influenced from within the ESOL profession because of changes in perspectives on second language acquisition and teaching philosophies (Harper & de Jong, 2005; Young, 1996). According to Krashens theory of second language acquisition (1981) a nonnative language is efficiently acquired in naturalistic, communicative settings in which comprehensible input is provided by native speakers of the target language. Swain (1995) argued that this is not enough language learners must also be given opportunities for output through ample interaction with native E nglish speakers. Rhetoric found in contemporary literatur e, policy, and media suggest that Englishdominant classrooms are optimal settings for ELLs (Iddings, 2005; Young, 1996). For
47 exa mple, an excerpt from the American Language Review states Elementary classrooms provide a rich language environment, ideally suited for developing both social and academic language proficiency because of the many opportunities for interaction with native Englishspeaking peers (d e Leeuw & Stannard, 1999, p. 14). Policy changes (such as Proposition 227 in California, Propositi on 203 in Arizona, and Question 2 in Massachusetts) have caused the dismantling of bilingual programs, leaving many ELLs to become rapidly integrated into Englishonly classrooms after as little as one year in structured English immersion classrooms (Mora, 2000). Title III (Language Instruction for Limited English Proficient and Immigrant Students) of the NCLB (No Child Left Behind Act of 2001) required that ELLs meet state educational standards and become proficient in English at a rapid pace ( N CLB, Pub. L. No. 107110, 115 Stat. 125 [NCLB], 2002) Accordingly, general education teachers are required in some states to align curriculum and teaching strategies with English Language Proficiency Standards (Leos, cit ed in Reed & Railsback, 2003). Based on NCLB requirements (NCLB, 2002) and the omission of its reference to bilingual education, one can infer that general education classrooms are the preferred or recommended placement for ELLs because they provide access to English and address standards based cur ricula. Policymakers hold the assumption that instruction is made comprehensible and that ELLs receive opportuni ties to participate in instructional activities and interact with English speakers resulting in both academic knowledge and English language development. However, this assumption has not always held truemainstreaming [ ESOL ] pupils may have
48 granted [ ESOL ] pupils equality of presence, but has not necessarily secured equality of partici pation and achievement (Franson, 1999, p. 70). Other factors have also influenced the spread of the ESOL inclusion model, including the lack of qualified teachers, as well as budget considerations. The shortage of specialized ESOL and bilingual teachers has limited the availability of self contained ESOL and bilingual classrooms (Kindler, 2002; NCES, 2001). In addition, it is simply cheaper to place ELLs into general education classrooms rather than providing them with bilingual instruction or specializ ed instruction by ESOL specialists in pullout or self contained settings ( Platt et al., 2003) at least in the short term. ELL Inclusion in the State of Florida In the 1994 1995 school year, inclusion was encouraged at multi district meetings by the FDOE as a viable option in Florida districts to provide LEP students equal access to the standard curriculum. The effects of the FDOEs encouragement of i nclusion are seen in statistics from the 20042005 school year, which indicate that out of 1,578 elementary schools, 1,326 used an inclusion model for ESOL through language arts instruction and 252 used self contained or other models (Saavedra, 2005). A 1995 technical assistance paper, written and distributed by the FDOE office that implements state ESOL polic y and provides oversight for districts included the following comment after office personnel received questions, criticisms, and concerns from Florida district ESOL supervisors: Nothing in this technical assistance paperis to be interpreted as encouraging an indiscriminate rush to inclusion to substitute for existing successful educational practices. Inclusion, if it is to be implemented at all, needs to occur one student at a time (original bold emphasis) (Garcia, 1995) The technical assistance paper s tated that inclusion was a preferred alternative
49 when the ELL population in a district did not support the provision of self contained or other ESOL models. It acknowledged that teaching in an ESOL inclusive classroom created more demands on the teacher The task for the teacher becomes more complex as the increasingly varied needs of the students are addressed (para. 10). Despite the fact that this technical assistance paper (Garcia, 1 995) emphasized that districts should not rush into implementing inc lusion many Florida districts had already done that prior to its release. This shift was fueled by the fact that ESOL inclusion could help relieve tight district budgets by eliminating specialized ESOL teaching positions. A few districts elected to provi de ESOL resource teachers who served several schools, serving primarily to administer assessments, serving as ELL Committee chairpersons, and completing administrative paperwork. Though Garcia (1995) recommended a lower teacher student ratio in ESOL inclus ion classrooms, such data are not available from FDOE. Some teachers I know recently reported that their former district paid them an additional $300 a year for having ELLs in their general education English classroom, making them feel better about this. In summary, the movement of ELLs to general education classrooms was the result of many different causes, including rhetoric about the benefits of placing ELLs in English dominant classrooms, policy changes that promoted Englishonly, and attempts by dist ricts to save money. The next section examines what the literature says about the teaching of ELLs in general education classrooms. The Literature: Teaching and Learning to Teach ELLs ESOL inclusion offers the potential to provide ELLs with opportunities to interact and develop friendships with nativeEnglish speakers while developing English language skills and content knowledge. However, research has indicated that the talk
50 about the benefits of inclusion for ELLs and teachers skill in providing n eces sary comprehensible input has not often been realized. Iddings (2005) made the following comment based on her literature review for her study of second grade ELLs in an English dominant classroom in the Southwest U.S.: Euphemized views of institutional settings where native and nonnative speakers of English meet may serve to mask the historical, structural, and ideological conditions that continue to favor dominant groups, and to gloss over inherently unjust circumstances that typically undermine lingui stic, ethnic, and/or racial minority students in our educational system (p. 167). The literature base about the teaching of ELLs in mainstream classrooms presented below was classified into the following categories: (1) professional dispositions; (2) roles and responsibilities; (3) challenges and demands; (4) integrating language and content; (5) gaps in the literature base; and (6) components of an effective inclusion program. Professional Dispositions toward ELLs Guerra and Nelson (2009) argued that changes in teacher beliefs are required in order to improve educational outcomes for linguistically, culturally, and economically diverse students. School reform measures over the past 30 years have been ineffective in changing outcomes for this population. While teachers might feel a moral obligation to teach all students, some believe that the increase in student diversity is a problem (Howard, 2007). Studies found that some teachers held negative attitudes toward ELLs These teachers reported being resentful and frustrated because of the extra attention some ELLs needs, which on occasion resulted in them neglecting their needs ( e.g., Clair, 1995; Constantino, 1994; Franson, 1999; Iddings, 2005; Penfield, 1987; R eeves, 2002; Walker et al. 2004; Youngs, 1999). In other studies, teachers were found to adhere to
51 a deficit view in which ELLs are seen as lacking in knowledge and skills rather than being viewed as assets, again leading to negative dispositions toward ELLs (Fu, 1995; Gersten, 1996). A few stu dies have found positive dispositions by teachers of ELLs in English dominant classrooms. For example, Zuniga Hill and Yopp (1996) found that the exemplary teachers participating in her research consciously held positive dispositions and created a communi ty of learners built around respect and mutual accommodation. In addition, they attended to linguistic, academic, and social milieus, which led to feelings of safety, trust, acceptance, and motivation by all students for ELLs and others present. Edstam, Walker, and Stone (2007) found that a team of teachers in a rural Minnesota elementary school had increased their effectivenes by collaborating with ESOL specialists and creating and implementi ng an action plan that m et the needs of ELLs in their classroom s. A recent study by Song, Thieman, and Del Castillo (2010) found that the majority of mainstream teachers in their study held positive dispositions toward ELLs because the teachers felt prepared and perceived ELLs to be more motivated and hard working. However, some indicated that teaching low proficiency ELLs was a source of frustration. Lewis Moreno (2007) called for school districts to determine and address teachers negative attitudes toward ELLs in order to meet their needs. She argued that making the teaching and learning of ELLs a district priority carries a strong message to school based administrators and teachers, especially if professional development and accountability measures are instituted. School districts increasingly are recognizing t he need to implement professional development to help prepare teachers for the increasing
52 diversity in their classrooms. Lee and Luykx (2005) reported research findings on the impact of professional development activities on the beliefs and attitudes of sc ience teachers about diversity. They identified four groups of teachers: (a) teachers who were already committed to embracing student diversity in science education become more committed; (b) teachers who had not considered student diversity begin to reco gnize and accept it as important in science education; (c) teachers remain unconvinced of the importance of student diversity in science education; and (d) teachers actively resist embracing s tudent diversity generally and in science education in particular. Even those teachers who are committed to educational equity face challenges related to student diversity in their teaching. Scaling up efforts should consider a wide range of teachers' beliefs about student diversity, in addition to helping them acquire the knowledge necessary to provide effective instruc tion for diverse student groups. (pp. 420421) Howa rd (2007), Diaz and Flores (2001), Mohr (2004), and Williams (2001) all insisted that teachers abandon deficit views of ELLs and set high expectations for ELLs while viewing diversity as an asset. After all, ELLs have competence in one language, which constructs a base for acquiring English. Diaz and Flores (2001) argued that the challenge is to organize the teaching learning process to the potential and not the perceived developmental level of our children" (p. 31). Roles and Responsibilities Man y studies reveal ed a conflict between teachers notions of what they think their roles and responsibilities should be and what was expected of them ( e.g., Cla ir, 1995; Constantino, 1994; Franson, 1999; Iddings, 2005; Penfield, 1987; R eeves, 2002; Walker, Shafer, & Iliams, 2004; Youngs, 1999). Some research has indicated that mainstream content teachers may not provide appropriate instruction for ELLs because t hey do not fully understand their roles or are not aware of ESOL methods that promote academic growth (Mohr, 2004; Gersten, 1999; Short & Fitzsimmons, 2007; Yoon, 2008). Several studies have revealed that many teachers believed that their role was specifi c
53 to teaching academic content in order to meet curricular objectives and achievement assessments (Harklau, 1994; Markham, Green, & Ross, 1996 ; Penfield, 1987 ; Short & Fitzsimmons, 2007). Yoon (2008) examined three middle school language arts teachers vie ws of their roles as teachers of ELLs and effects of their positioning on ELLs level of participation and their self concepts as powerful or powerless. One teacher positioned herself as a teacher of all students; another saw himself as an English teacher of mainstream students and not an ESOL teacher; the final teacher considered herself to be a content teacher. Findings showed that teacher positioning determined pedagogical approaches and teacher student interactions. Even in highly interactive classroom contexts, the teachers who did not perceive themselves as teachers of all students had ELLs who felt isolated and powerless. The teacher who viewed herself as a teacher of all students had ELLs who were stronger academically and felt more empowered. Other research indicated that when an elementary ESOL teacher pulled out ELLs for lang uage arts instruction or there was a secondary ESOL language arts/Engl ish teacher, classroom teachers may view ESOL teachers as being primarily responsible for the ELLs education (Constantino, 1994; Harklau, 2000; Mohr, 2004; Penfield, 1987). However, a recent study by Song et al. ( 2010) contradicted these findings; a majority of teachers (26 out of 28 interviewed and 43 out of 48 surveyed) in their study considered it t heir role to teach all students, including ELLs. Reeves (2006) found that general education teachers in her study felt more responsible for the teaching and learning of ELLs and had more positive attitudes toward ELLs once the students became more profici ent in English.
54 Some teachers do not hold ELLs with low English proficiency to high achievement standards because they want ELLs to have positive self esteem and positive attitudes toward school. Rather, they focused on the affective domain so that their ELLs would have positive attitudes about school and themselves while they were learning English. Berzins and Lopez (2001) refer to this as the pobrecito (poor little one) syndrome. While such teachers may have good intentions by allowing ELLs to be passive, not holding them to the same standards, they are not helping them develop the knowledge and skills essential to meet the academic knowledge required for graduation. In addition, lessening ELL demand while providing them high grades because they are well behaved can provoke resentment by classmates who are held to more rigorous standards. Challenges and Demands of Teaching ELLS Research findings indicated that ESOL inclusion placed demands and challenges on teachers that they may not be prepared or willing to handle (e.g., Clair, 1995; Constantino, 1994; Franson, 1999; Iddings, 2005; Penfield, 1987; R eeves, 2002; Walker, Shafer, & Iliams, 2004; Youngs, 1999). Many of these studies reveal ed a conflict between teachers notions of what they think their roles and responsibilities should be and what was expected of them In addition, some teacher participants found ELLs needed extra attention, causing teacher resentment and frustration, which caused them to neglect ELL needs Gersten (1996) spoke of the double demands of teaching ELLs; that is, the necessity that teachers attend to language development in addition to academic content learning Although the 26 teachers in his study recognized the value of integrating
55 language with content, most were overwhelmed with the intricacies of putting it into practice (p. 20). Several studies have concluded that some teachers believe that the time required to modify instruction for ELLs is just too much of a burden (Franson, 1999; Penfield, 1987; Reeves, 2002; Youngs, 1999; W alker et al. 2004). One justification for not providing appropriate accommodations was the need to balance work and family since the time teachers were required to modify instruction went beyond the allotted planning period in the school day. Another justification related to teacher concerns about fairness. Some felt that devoting extra time to ELL instruction would detract from instruction to other students in the class. In a case study of exemplary mainstream classroom teachers of ELLs, ZunigaHill a nd Yopp (1996) found that the teachers in their study did not allow themselves to be constrained by time because meeting the needs of ELLs was a passion. They believed that it was their responsibility to differentiate their instruction for ELLs and were determined to do so. The following studies reveal ed that the language dema nd mentioned by Gersten (1996) were an unmet challenge to some mainstream classroom teachers. Harklau (1994) followed four high school Chinese ELLs over a three year period and found that mainstream classrooms provided authentic input about curricular content via teacher led discussions; however, little effort was made by teachers to make their communication comprehensible or to provide opportunities for extended interactions. Both H arklau (1994) and Verplaetse (1998, 2000) found that opportunities to give extended responses in mainstream secondary settings were limited for ELLs in comparison to Englishproficient students because ELLs were typically asked lower -
56 order questions that r equired oneword or simple phrase responses and because EL Ls were more reluctant to speak While Gersten (1996) discussed the double demands of teaching ELLs, referring to teaching both language and content, still another demand exists creating social in tegration of ELLs and other students in the classroom Social integration in the classroom and school is critical in that it provides opportunities for interactions with English proficient students, helps with academic development, and eases cultural adjustment (Coelho, 1994; Hakuta, 1986). Findings from studies by Clair (1995), Harklau (1999, 2000), Iddings (2005), Norton (2001), Penfield (1987), Reeves (2002), and Toohey (1998), found that creating environments that foster soc ial integration of ELLs provided challenge s for mainstream classroom teachers. Some of the ELLs in these studies were marginalized, ridiculed, and isolated. Penfield (1987) found that some teach ers became frustrated by the difficulty of establish ing commu nication with ELLs and their families who were not proficient in English; she noted that this frustration likely affe cted the development of student teacher rapport. Integrating Language and Content Instruction Enright (1991) cited research by Cuevas De Avila and Duncan, Genesee, and Krashen and Biber, that found that ELLs can develop English language skills when language instruction is integrated with content and when ESOL strategies are used to make activities understandable. ESOL strategies include s uch activities as activating students prior knowledge; building backgrou nd knowledge if it is lacking; providing visuals, demonstrations, diagrams, and clear directions to make instruction comprehensible; providing cooperative learning opportunities to foster student interaction; and allowing extended time for students to respond. Short and Fitzsimmons
57 (2007) wrote of the effectiveness of integrating language and content instruction. This method is supported by many ESOL experts (e.g., de Jong & Harper, 2005; Echevarri a & Graves, 2006; Faltis, Christian, & Coulter, 2008; Verplaetse & Migliacci, 2008; Villegas & Lucas, 2002a). Gaps in the Literature Base about Teaching ELLs in Elementary Classrooms This review of the literature revealed several voids. Mos t studies investigating teachers of ELLs or ELL experiences in mainstream classrooms have been at the secondary level ( e.g., Constantino, 1994; Duff, 2001; Fu, 1995; Harklau, 1994, 1999, 2000; Lucas, Henze, & Donato, 1990; Markham et al. 1996; Reeves, 2002; Song et al., 2010; Youngs, 1999) with fewer studies directed exclusively at the elementary level ( e.g., Franson, 1999, Gersten, 1996; Iddings, 2005; Platt & Troudi, 1997; Toohey, 1996, 1998). Some research has included teachers who teach at both elementary and secondary levels ( e.g., Byrnes & Kiger, 1997; Penfield, 1987; Walker et al. 2004). Most teachers studied in the existing literature base have had little, if any, specialized training that prepares them to teach ELLs An exception was a longitudinal study of ESOLprepared teacher graduates from Purdue University (refer to Athanasas & Martin, 2006; Athanases & de Oliveira, 2007). The research base lacked specific focus on the experiences and perspectives of elementary classroom teachers who are considered qualified to teach ELLs by virtue of their graduation from teacher education progr ams with ESOL teacher competencies infused into coursework leading to an ESOL credential along with an e lementary education certificate. The section on ESOL inclusion concludes with a presentation of recommendations from the literature for successful implementation of the ESOL inclusion model.
58 Components of Successful ESOL Inclusion Classrooms Four factors have been identified as resulting in the successful i mplementation of ESOL inclusion. These are staff development, appropriate curricula, adequate resources, and positive dispositions. S taff d evelopment Harper and Platt argue that the critical issue is not the setting in which the student is placed but rat her the nature of instruction within it (1998, p. 33). To provide effective instruction for ELLs, teachers must have knowledge, skills, and dispositions to guide the teaching and learning of these students. Young s (1996) warns that regardless of good i ntentions to support mainstreamed ESOL students, teachers must have opportunities to gain specialized skills to work effectively with ESOL students; otherwise, mainstreaming is not a positive solution (original bold emphasis) ( p. 18). The notion that e very teacher regardless of the subject taught needs to be prepared specifically to teach ELLs is supported by many ESOL scholars and researchers (e.g., Carrasquillo & Rodriguez, 2002; Cummins, 1997; Genesee, 1993; Gersten, 1996; Menken & Antunez, 2001; Mohan, Leung, & Davison, 2001; and Nieto 2002). In Florida, teachers who are responsible for language arts and English instruction for ELLs, including elementary ESOL inclusion teachers, are required to complete 15 semester hours of ESOL coursework (or 300 professional development inservice hours) in (1) second language acquisition; (2) cross cultural awareness; (3) ESOL methods; (4) ESOL curriculum and materials; and (5) ESOL assessment or complete an ES O L infused teacher education program in which ESOL co mpetencies have been infused through the program. However, just because teachers complete
59 this coursework does not necessarily mean that they are going to learn or apply it due to their dispositions and other factors. Appropriate curri cula In order for ELLs to receive equitable educational opportunities, they must be given equal access to the (standards based) curricula, as well as to all services and programs so that they can fully participate and benefit from education like nonELLs. Just ice Douglas wrote, There is no equality of treatment merely by providing students with the same facilities, textbooks, teachers, and curriculum: for students who do not understand English are effectively foreclosed from any meaningful education (cited in Coady, Hamann, Harrington, Pacheco, Pho, & Yedlin, 2003, p. 13) in the Supreme Court decision on the 1969 Lau v. Nichols case, in which plaintiffs representing ELLs sued the local school district for denying equal educational opportunities as promised in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Harper and Platt (1998) define d an appropriate curriculum for ELLs as one that is adapted to ELLs proficiency and literacy levels and their educational and cultural backgrounds. Harklau (1994) and Short and Fitzsimmons (2007) argued that language must not be taught in isolation but rather integrated with content instruction in order to provide ELLs with the academic language proficiency that is required to succeed in school. Lucas et al. ( 2008) argue: To scaffold learning for ELLS, mainstream classroom teachers need three types of pedagogical expertise: familiarity with the students linguistic and academic backgrounds; an understanding of the language demands inherent in the learning tasks that students are expected to car ry out in class; and skills for using appropriate scaffolding so that ELLs can participate successfully in those tasks (p. 366).
60 It is unfortunate that ELLs in English dominant classrooms have not been provided opportunities for access to curricula, accord ing to contemporary literature (e.g., Coady, et al., 2003; Gutirrez Asato & BaquedanoLpez, 2000; Iddings, 2005) Instead, they tend to be segregated and assigned remedial skill based work that do es not promote academic content learning or the languag e knowledge that is necessary for them to succeed in school and later to participate fully in society. Adequate resources In addition to having an adequately prepared faculty and an appropriate curriculum based on standards and adapted according to ELLs backgrounds and linguistic and cultural needs, resources for the teaching and learning of ELLs in general education classrooms are needed. The successful implementation of ESOL inclusion requires the provision of ESOL specialist support and time for coll aboration ( refer to Edstam et al. 2007) It is crucial that general education and ESOL resource teachers work together as equal partners holding the common goal of helping ELLs meet their potenti al. Bilingual paraprofessionals, working under teachers s upervision and direction, are also needed to assist ELLs by providing first language and tutoring support and assist with homeschool communication. S uitable supplementary materials for ELLs are other resources necessary for ESOL support Bilingual dictionaries should be available in general education classrooms and ELLs should be instructed on their use. Other bilingual materials, such literature, texts, condensed novels, audio books, and computer software, can be beneficial to ELLs. Some research has shown that the use of bilingual books can help ELLs learn English vocabulary, build self esteem and pride in heritage cultures, and
61 provide confidence when ELLs can recognize words in their first languages and locate them in English (Sala s, Lucido, & Canales, 2001). The English only movement has been a strong force in the U nited States as reflected in standards based reform measures (refer to Crawford, 2000; Cummins, 2000). The fact that NCLB (2002) does not mention bilingual education is a reflection of this. However, the provision of bilingual instruction and resources is supported by research. In their well known longitudinal study, Thomas and Collier (2002) found that ELLs who received bilingual instruction tended to achieve higher outcomes over the long term than their peers instructed in only English. Professional d ispositions Professional dispositions toward ELLs are essential in order to address their cognitive, linguistic, cultural, and affective needs. When teachers have these positive dispositions, they are motivated to gain and apply kno wledge and skills as well as to locate and take advantage of resources that will help them teach ELLs effectively. ZunigaHill and Yopp (1996) found that the professional dispositions of t he teachers in their study resulted in a positive classroom environment, which promoted a sense of community, acceptance, and belonging for both ELLs and nonELLs. Several studies have focused on general education teacher dispositions Reeves (2006) found that teachers had a neutral to slightly positive attitude toward inclusion though they were reluctant to teach students who had not reached a minimal level of English proficiency and thought they lacked time to address ELL needs. The study of Walker et a l. (2004) found that overall teachers held strongly negative attitudes toward ELLs due to such factors as lack of time to make accommodations, lack of preparation and efficacy about effective ELL pedagogy, and ethnocentric bias.
62 These findings along wit h Youngs and Youngs (2001) conclusions, suggest professional development and exposure to other cultural groups were predictors of mainstream teachers attit udes toward teaching ELLs, that the components of successful inclusion implementation overlap and in fluence each other For example, preparedness affected teachers ability to make appropriate accommodations to provide equal access, th eir dispositions related to teaching ELLs, and their interest in accessing exi sting resources or creating additional ones. Positive dispositions increased the likelihood that time would be spent to adapt curriculum, implement resources, and seek additional staff development. This literature review proceeds to discuss how teacher education programs prepare general education teachers to meet the needs of ELLs in Englishdominant classrooms. I nstitutions seeking accreditation from the NCATE are required to meet its diversity standard, showing their commitment to prepare preservice teachers to meet the needs of all learners, including those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds ( refer to NCATE, 2002). T eacher education literature has recommended that teacher education programs take action by incorporating multicultural education content into their curricula. Voices of multicultural education scholars on preparing teachers for diversity and the argument that a multicultural education focus is not enough to meet the uni que needs of ELLs are presented. Preparing Prospective Teachers for ELLs Teacher Preparation through the Lens of Multicultural Education Gay and Howard (2000) argued that
63 [W]hether teachers intend to work in schools with students from predominately homogeneous populations or from multiple ethnic groups and cultural backgrounds, all need to develop multicultural knowledge and pedagogical skills. No students should graduate from any teacher education program and be certified or hired to teach without being thoroughly trained in multicultural education. Such education will go far beyond the one or two introductory survey multicultural courses that are typical of many current teacher education programs (para 17) Other multicultural education scholars (e.g., Banks et al. 2005; CochranSmith, 1995; Gay, 2000; Holl ins, 1995; Lenski, Crumpler, S tallworth, & Crawford, 2005; Sleeter, 2001; Villegas & Lucas, 2002a; Zeichner, 1993), spoke of the necessity of incorporating multicultural education components into teacher education programs in order to prepare preservice teachers with needed knowledge, skills, and dispositions to address diversity. The need for teacher education programs to prepare preservice teachers for diversity is heightened by the fact that the majority of the preservice teacher population mirrors the inservice teacher population in that they are predominantly White female, monolingual, and middle class (Zumwalt & Craig, 2005). Due to their cultural b ackgrounds and socialization and educational experiences, they often hold different cultural references and worldviews than those of culturally and linguistically diverse populations (Au, 1980; Gay & Howard, 2000; Heath, 1983) and may be unable to identify with the linguistic and cultural backgrounds of future students (CochranSmith 2004; Davis, & Fries, 2004; Gay, 2000). Alternatively, they may be what CochranSmith (1995) refers to as colorblind, believing that racial or ethnic background and socioeconomic status are irrelevant and that a onesize fits all approach to teaching is war ranted.
64 Because many preservice teachers lack socio cultural competence, that i s, knowledge and awareness of their own and others cultures; consciousness of social inequities; and skill in intercultural communication (Quintanar Sarellana, 1997), teacher education programs must provide them with opportunities to examine their own sociocultural backgrounds, learn about linguistic and culturally diverse groups through study and personal interaction, and investigate issues related to power (Moll & Arnot Hopf fer, 2005). Through experiences, analysis, and reflection, preservice teachers are able to realize that their personal worldviews are not shared by all but are influenced by gender, race/ethnicity, socialization, and socioeconomic status (Villegas & Lucas 2002b ). This background is essential in laying a foundation to support culturally responsive pedagogy. Teacher Preparation Specific to the Needs of ELLs Although the concept of multicultural education addresses the teaching and learning of students from diverse backgrounds, Cummins (2001) and de Jong and Harper (2005) argued that multicultural education in and of itself does not adequately address the unique linguistic and cultural needs of ELLs. The notion that every teacher regardless of the subject t aught needs to be prepared specifically to teach ELLs is supported by many ESOL scholars and researchers (e.g., Carrasquillo & Rodriguez, 2002; Cummins, 1997; Genesee, 1993; Gersten, 1996; Menken & Antunez, 2001; Moh an, Leung, & Davison, 2001; Nieto, 2002) The demand for specialized ESOL preparation is supported by educational outcomes of ELLs by teachers who have specialized ESOL preparation. According to a 2001 study by Hayes and Salazar and a 2002 study by Hayes, Salazar, and Vukovic (cited in Gandar a & Maxwell Jolly, 2006), teachers with ES O L credentials had higher
65 performing ELLs than teachers who lacked ESOL credentials. The argument is also supported by the perspective that teaching ELLs is different from teaching nonELLs. De Jong and Harper ( 2005) contrast just good teaching for nonELLs and effective instruction for ELLs based on second language acquisition theory. They make the case that mainstream teachers must understand (1) the process of second language acquisition; (2) how language and culture is a medium of teaching and learning; and (3) the need to set language and cultural objectives in addition to content ones. Ballantyne et al. ( 2008) applied the NCATE Diversity Standards to the preparation of teachers of ELLs: 1. Teachers should acquire pedagogical content knowledge which addresses ELLs 2. Assessment and evaluation data should measure teachers preparedness to work with ELLs 3. Field experiences should provide practice and opportunities to see successful teachers model effective techniques in working with ELLs 4. Candidates should understand the range in diversity among ELLs 5. & 6. Unit should provide qualified faculty and sufficient resources to support teachers learning about ELLs (original bold emphasis) (p. 12) A lthough demographics, the shortage of teachers prepared to teach ELLs the shift of ELLs to mainstream classrooms, and the teacher education literature call for teacher education programs to prepare general education preservice teachers who are versed in E SOL pedagogy and who feel capable and competent to implement it at the onset of their careers, few teacher education programs have systematically and comprehensibly responded to this call (Menken and Antunez, 2001). Multicultural education scholars have f ound that isolated diversity courses alone encourage preservice teachers to view their content as irrelevant and unrelated to the theory and practice presented in
66 methods and other courses. They recommend instead the integrating, or infusing, of this cont ent into existing program coursework, reinforcing its relevance (Grant, 1994; Villegas & Lucas, 2 002b; Zeichner & Hoeft, 1996). However, not all scholars support infusion. Lucas et al. ( 2008) argued that it is irresponsible to rely on an infusion strate gy that requires distributing specialized knowledge and practices for ELL education across the faculty (p. 370). They believe that most teacher education faculty lack knowledge, skills, and experience about teaching ELLs and that building their expertise takes time. Many teacher education programs have begun implementing the ESOL infusion model as a means to prepare teachers for the ELLs they will likely have in their classroom. The limited amount of available research on ESOL infusion programs has focused on the preparation of general teacher education faculty to better include issues related to ELLs in existing coursework ( Costa et al. 2005; Meskill, 2005; Meskill & Chin, 2002; Schmidt, 2004). Costa et al. ( 2005) implement ed a faculty institute to provide them with prerequisite knowledge and skill to be able to infuse ESOL content into the teacher education courses they taught. Faculty participated in discussions about the sociopolitical context of public education the nee d for supportive school and classroom environments. In addition, they analyzed texts for language demands as well as observations they made while watching videos and visiting school sites. Emphasis was given to making specific changes to course syllabi t hat addressed objectives and activities specific to the teaching and learning of ELLs. While faculty members
67 increased their knowledge and awareness, the authors concluded that the change effort was influenced by the context of the institute. Meskill (200 5) also implemented a project to help faculty and others learn about issues specific to ELLs (p. 739). This training consisted of ESOL expert observations of instruction by faculty members, faculty workshops, and presentations by graduate students who w ere experts in ELL education. Topics covered were similar to those covered by Costa et al As a result, most faculty members had more positive dispositions toward ELLs and believed they were more knowledgeable about ESOL topics. Faculty members reported that they planned on adding or strengthening existing content about the teaching and learning of ELLs in the courses they taught. Some researchers have examined the infusion of multicultural education into teacher education programs at various universities revealing that the intent to include multicultural content and the actual implementation differ (Eferakorho, 2003; Fan, 1995; Forestieri, 2001; Izzaard, 1997). Another study of multicultural education infusion focused on the perceived usefulness by grad uates ( McNeal, 2005) with findings showing that some of the content was used to help establish multicultural classrooms when graduates became teachers. The topic of ESOL infusion as a means to graduate teacher education students with preparation in the t eaching and learning of ELLs has been introduced, and provided background about mandates in the state of Florida, the setting for this study, that specifies ESOL training requirements for teachers. The ESOLinfused Unified Elementary ProTeach (Professional Teacher) Program at UF from which my participants graduated is described.
68 ESOL Preparation Requirements in the State of Florida The preparation of teachers for ELLs in Florida is currently governed by what is commonly referred to as the Florida Consent Decree ( League of United, 1990). This legal mandate resulted from the settlement of a class action complaint filed by Multicultural Education, Training, and Advocacy, Inc. on behalf of the League of United Latin American Citizens, seven other minority adv ocacy groups, and individual students who alleged that nonnative English speakers were not receiving an equitable education because of the lack of provision of comprehensible instruction and equal programmatic access by Florida schools (MacDonald, 2004). The FDOE and other defendants entered into a settlement agreement with the plaintiffs in order to ensure that ELLs were provided with appropriate instruction and access to educational programs that met their needs. The Agreement was entered as a Consent Order by the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Miami Division (League of United, 1990) The Florida Consent Decree sets forth the compliance terms for the schooling of ELLs in Florida, specifying requirements in six areas ( League of United, 1990). These areas are: (1) identi fication and assessment of ELLs; (2) equal access to appropriate programming (such as the provision of comprehensible instruction that is equal in amount, scope, sequence, and quality as tha t provided t o nonELL students); (3) equal access to appropriate categorical and other programs for ELLs (such as dropout prevention, Title I, and other support services); (4) personnel professional development requirements for English/Language Arts teachers of ELLs a s well as other teachers; (5) compliance moni toring of districts by the FDOE; and (6) analysis of outcome measures to determine the provision of equal access and educational equity.
6 9 The Consent Decree ( League of United, 1990) requires that inservice elemen tary and secondary English/language arts teachers complete 300 inservice hours, the equivalent of five three semester hour courses, or a combination of inservice hours and semester hours in the areas of (1) cross cultural understanding; (2) applied linguis tics; (3) ESOL curri culum and materials development; (4) methods of teaching ESOL; and (5) testing and evaluation of ESOL in order to be qualified to provide ELLs with English/ language arts instruction. The completion of this requirement leads to an ESOL endorsement a subject area teaching credential that is added to an active teaching certificate in another area (e.g., elementary education, special education, or English). Any Florida teacher with the ESOL endorsement added to a prekindergartenprimary elementary, special education, middle school language arts, or high school English certificate is considered qualified to provide primary language arts/English instruction to ELLs whether in general education, ESOL pullout ESOL self contained, or other instructional settings. The Consent Decree ( League of United, 1990) also specifies that math, science, social studies, and computer literacy teachers of ELLs must take 60 inservice hours or 3 semester hours of training while other subject area teachers ( e.g., art, music, and physical education) must take 18 inservice hours or 3 semester hours of professional development The Consent Decree was modified slightly in 2003, adding the requirement that guidance counselors and administrators complete 60 inserv ice hours or 3 semester hours of ESOL professional development ( FDOE 2005b ). The FDOE also specified timelines for c ompletion of all categories of professional development because timelines were not explicitly stated in the Consent Decree.
70 In 2001, the F lorida Legislature mandated that teacher education programs at Florida public universities prepare preservice teachers in their prekindergartenprimary, elementary, secondary English, and special education programs with the coursework needed to obtain the ESOL endorsement, beginning with the 20002001 incoming freshman class ( FDOE 2001). By directing Florida teacher education programs to provide the ESO L coursework required for the ESOL endorsement, preservice teachers graduate from Florida public univers ities with the State of Florida ESOL qualifications prior to beginning their teaching careers, thus lowering the need for inservice ES O L preparation of new teachers by di stricts. This action also helped to reduce the number of teachers being reporte d as out of field in ESOL and removed ES O L as designated critical teacher sh ortage area in Florida as it had been since 1992 (P. Faircloth, personal communication, September 15, 2005). The FDOEs demand for Florida teacher education programs to meet requirement s set forth in the Florida Consent Decree ( League of United, 1990) came about after a June 2000 revision to State Board of Education Rule 6A 5.066, F.A.C., which stipul ated after the change that: C ourses and school based experiences shall include instructi on, observation, practice, and competency demonstration inteaching strategies for the instruction of Limited English Proficient (LEP) students which meet the requirements set forth in the ESOL Consent Decree for instructional personnel who teach Limit ed E nglish Proficient students. (Rule 6A 5.066(3)(d)4, F.A.C. 2000) The professional development requirements referred to in the above Rule are found in Section IV: Pers onnel of the Consent Decree (League of United, 1990). The FDOEs Bureau of Educator Recr uitment stipulated two options in the document, Preparing Florida Teachers for Limited English Proficient Students ( FDOE,
71 2001) that would fulfill State Board of Education Rule 6A 5.066, F.A.C. requirement to graduate preservice teachers with ESOL endorsement qualifications. The fir st option was to require a fivecourse/15hour sequence of ESOL courses. This opt ion would require other courses to be eliminated in order avoid requiring more than the maximum number of required semester hours allowed by a degree program Because adding all five of the ESOL courses to Florida public university teacher education programs was largely unfeasible, FDOE offered the infusion model as a second option. This alternative would allow Florida universities to inc lude a minimum of two standalone ESOL specific courses and to infuse FDOE adopted Performance Stand ards for Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (n.d.) into existing teacher education program coursework. Infusing ESOL endorsement coursework into teacher education programs would sufficiently address the five content areas stipulated in the Florida Consent Decree ( League of United, 1990), and lead to teaching certificates in targeted subject areas (Bureau of Educator Recruitment, 2001). Because this option did not lead to the elimination of as many existing courses in a teacher education program or lengthen program completion timelines, the ESOL infusion model option was selected by most public universities, including the teacher education pro gram at UF, which will be discussed next. UFS ESOL I nfused Elementary Teacher Education Program The participants of this study were graduates of UFs five year ES O L infused Unified Elementary ProTeach Program A better understanding of this populations experiences (which is referred to as their realities ) and perceptions about the teaching of ELLs in mainstream elementary classrooms and about their preparation to do so is
72 discussed. Background about the ESOL infused teacher education program at UF is described UF is a landgrant university, that is, an institute of higher education designated by the state of Florida to receive the benefits of the Morrill Acts of 1862 and 1890, and is designated with a Research I classification, meaning that faculty sc holarly endeavors such as conducting research, obtaining grant funding, and writing books and journal articles, are priorities in addition to teaching. UF is the second largest university in the United States and is located in the North Central Region of the state. The uni versity is a major employer in a town of about 108,000 residents, a number that fluctuates in the summer when many college students depart. The College of Education at UF offers a five year unified elementary/special education teacher education program, which is referred to as the Unified Elementary ProTeach Program. This program, begun in 1999, prepares preservice teachers for elementary (and early childhood) certification with an ESOL endorsement and the option to obtain dual certifi cation in special education in the fifth, masters year. The program enrolls about 200 students annually with about half completing the fifth year ( S. Hallsal, personal communication, March 17, 2008). About 15% of students complete requirements for both elementary (or early childhood) and special education certificates ( S. Halsall, personal communication, March 17, 208). The ProTeach program has been approved by the FDOE and is aligned with the Florida Accomplished Practices ( FDOE 2007b ), performance outcomes that are correlated with effective teaching practices. In addition, it has been approved by NCATE (College of Education, 2007).
73 The ESOL (ESOL) infused Unified Elementary ProTeach Program holds the perspective that its graduates will likely be tea ching in classrooms where ELLs are integrated with native English speakers, whether through full inclusion or as part of a pullout ESOL program (Bondy & Ross, 2005). The program was developed around two inter related themes, democratic values and knowledg e of content and inclusive pedagogy. One of the ProTeach goals is to produce reflective professional educators with the abilities to develop supportive and productive classrooms for diverse learners, including those from culturally and linguistic diverse backgrounds, those who are receiving special education services, and those who are at risk (that is, students who have displayed poor academic performance, have had prior retentions, are of low socioeconomic status, and/or are potential dropouts). Another goal is for program graduates to have the ability to develop collaborative relationships with colleagues, families, and community members in order to provide alternatives that address individual learner needs (Ross, Lane, & McCallum, 2005). Students beg in the ProTeach Program as juniors and are placed into cohorts each semester. They follow a required program of study with each cohort taking core courses together. Students must also take coursework related to an area of professional specialization. Ar eas of specialization include childrens literature, ESOL interdisciplinary (math, science, social studies, and literacy), literacy, math/science, and technology. They are required to complete 12 semester hours of specified graduate level courses in selected specialization areas. Those s pecializing in ESOL must choose 12 semester hours from the course options specified in Table 21 in addition to
74 completing the two ESOLinfused courses, Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TSL) 3520 and TS L 5142. Table 2 1. ESOL specialization course options: Unified Elementary ProTeach Course number and title Semester hours TSL 6245: Principles of Language for ESOL Teachers (Required unless enrolled in internship during fall) 3 FLE 6167: Cross Cultural Communication for Educators 3 FLE 6165: Bilingual and Bicultural Education 3 TSL 6145: Curriculum and Materials Development for ESOL K 12 3 TSL 6373: Methods of Teaching English as a Second Language 3 TSL 6440: ESOL Testing and Evaluation 3 Source: University of Florida, 2010 Cohorts are enrolled in two ESOL stand alone courses, which address TESOL/ NCATE Standards for the Accreditation of Initial Program in P 12 ESOL Teacher Education (TESOL Task Force, 2003), taught by specialists in ESOL as well as ESOL infused methods and other courses in order to fulfill ESOL endorsement requirements. The first standalone, TSL 3520: ESOL Foundations: Language and Culture in Elementary Classrooms (formerly TSL 3520), is taken in the undergraduate senior year, and the second standalone, TSL 5142: ESOL Curriculum, Methods, and Assessment, is taken in the masters year, typically after preservice teachers have completed their internship. Content and assignments of each of these courses is described next. TSL 3520 : Foundations of language and culture in the elementary classroom As the course title implies, TSL 3520 examines topics related to applied linguistics and cross cultural communication that are relevant for teachers of ELLs at the elementary level. It intr oduces language structures, language functions, the principles and processes of first and second language acquisition, and the influences of native languages on second language acquisition, academic achievement, and literacy. In
75 addition, it overviews the nature of culture, inter and intracultural variation, characteristics of typical American culture, sociocultural considerations in educating ELLs, and culturally responsive pedagogy. In TSL 3520, preservice teachers currently participate in two types of out of class field experiences, the ELI Partner Exchange and the Service Learning Project and write reflective focus papers linking concepts of language and culture t o these experiences. Service learning was not an opportunity during the time participants in this study were in ProTeach. During the ELI Partner Exchange, preservice teachers participate in five onehour weekly conversations with adult international students who are enrolled in the English Language Institute ( ELI ) on campus to improve Eng lish ski lls. The p reservice teachers and ELI students discuss issues related to second la nguage acquisition and culture, such as cultural adjustment, similarities and differences between cultures, an d language learning experiences. B ased on their convers ations students write reflection papers, making explicit connections to course readings. Preservice teachers select from a number of options to carry out the Service Learning Project. One is collaborating with local high school ES O L Program teachers and participating in what is referred to as Gator Buddies; preservice teachers and high school ELLs go on five weekly social outings Another option for preservice teachers is to meet with high school ELLs to plan and implement fund raising activities for the schools International Club. Preservice teachers reflect on their experiences and their learning related to course topics in another focus paper. Other service learning opp ortunities have been available in the past, including ELL tutoring, interacting with
76 migrants at a migrant camp, and fundraising for a foundation that provides assistance to local migrant families In past semesters, preservice teachers were scheduled to c onduc t observations in elementary, secondary or adult ESOL classrooms and wrote focus papers based on their experiences related to course content while enrolled in TSL 3520 However, thes e field experiences were discontinued due to the lack of availabili ty of ESOL classrooms. T he local school district has a small population of ELLs and uses a n ESOL center school pullout model in which most ELLs in the district are bused to a single elementary, middle, or high school with only two or three ESOL classrooms at each site. The number of ELLs is dwindling in the district, and more ELLs are encouraged to attend their zoned schools. Field experiences in these classrooms as well as in general education classrooms with ELLs in the local and surrounding school dis tricts are organized during the second ESOL standalone course. TSL 5142: ES O L c urr iculum, methods, and assessment TSL 5142 is a graduatelevel required course, scheduled in the fifth year of the ProTeach Program, usually in the semester following internships with the goals of preparing preservice teachers to create equitable learning environments for ELLs. This course extends the concepts of linguistic and cultural diversity covered in TSL 3520, applying them to ELL curriculum development, teaching methodology, and assessment in the context of the general education classr oom. Students gain experience in integrating English language development activities while teaching content and promoting higher order thinking. Assignments in TSL 5142 include the analy sis and critique of an existing lesson plan situated in a thematic unit and critique from the perspective of ELLs needs, as well
77 as the development of content based lesson plans in content areas that address the needs of ELLs. During this course, preserv ice teachers participate in a 10hour minimum (1 hour weekly) ESOL field experience in classrooms with credentialed ESOL teachers supervising. Preservice teachers have opportunities to implement methods with ELLs that have been addressed in the course. Each student is responsible for completing related tasks: observing the classroom to identify teacher and student language use; sharing with peers in class about their experiences; and conducting an observation of a peers lesson plan implementation, including preand post discussion components. Diversity issues related to the teaching and learning of culturally and linguistically diverse learners should be infused into other ProTeach Program coursework, including methods courses, which are taught by facul ty in the various program areas. Prior to official entry into the ProTeach Program students must take EDG 2701: Teaching Diverse Populations, which examines demographics, the nature of culture, prejudice and intercultural understanding and awareness, as well as EME 2040: Introduction to Education Technology, which addresses second language learning technology, the digital divide, and meeting the needs of diverse learners (Emihovich, Webb, Krantzler, Vernetson, & DePuydt, (2003). Some students choose to l eave UF after obtaining their 4year Bachelor of Arts in Education degrees to obtain teaching positions, though they are not recommended for certif ication by the university because they have not completed their internships and other coursework required in the fifth year of the ProTeach Program. However,
78 graduates with B achelor degrees in education are able to obtain temporary certificates while they complete teacher certification requirements (refer to FDOE n.d.) Students completing the five year ProTeach Program can obtain temporary Florida teaching certificates that carry the ESOL endorsement, which is an addon credential that may be bound elementary, special education, early childhood, or other teaching certificates. The ESOL endorsement does not ha ve to be renewed through additional cour sework or inservice professional development points as teaching certificates do. After completing the staterequired beginni ng teaching program and completing three years of successful teaching teacher graduates earn Florida professional teaching certificates that are valid for five years (refer to FDOE n.d.) Although some g raduates of the ProTeach Program move out of state or change career paths, most choose teaching positions in Florida, with many returning to their hometowns Once they have obtained teaching positions in Florida elementary schools, the number of ELLs they will have in their classrooms is dependent on the location of the district and on the school within the district. In general, districts in South Florida have the greatest number of ELLs while those in the north and Panhandle regions have the fewest. In addition to South Florida districts, districts that include the cities of Orlando, Tampa, and Clearwater/St. Petersburg in Central Florida al so have high numbers of ELLs. From Prepared Students to Ready, Willing, and Able Teachers of ELLs? The provision of an ESOL infused nationally accredited elementary teacher education program does not guarantee that its graduates have the capability or wil lingness to teach ELLs. In fact, Freeman (2002) argues that the notion that preservice teacher education can fully equip a teacher for a career in the classroom is
79 erroneous (p. 11). The sociocultural and situated nature of learning, in general, and learning to teach, specifically, are ongoing and mediated by context, experiences, and beliefs (Bandura, 1989; Solomon, B attistich, & Hom, 1996). Zeichner and Gore (1990) have called for research that addresses how teachers [are] shaped by and in turn influence, the structures into which they are socialized (p. 341). Given that what teachers believe, learn, and do is fi ltered and dynamic, research that looks specifically at the perspectives of teachers who have graduated from an ESOL infused teacher education program has been needed. Such research contributes to an understanding of the effectiveness of such teacher educ ation programs. In addition, it can assist faculty in planning course content. A few case studies (e.g., Artiles, Barreto, Pena, & McClafferty, 1998; Sleeter, 1989) have examined teachers knowledge, beliefs, and practices related to multicultural education f ollowing completion of teacher education programs that included multicultural pedagogy. The researchers found that learning about multicultural issues and strategies in teacher education programs does not always result in the application of this knowledge to actual practice. A recent review of research on teaching diverse students by Hollins and Guzman (2005) identified the need for studies that attempt to connect teacher education program preparation for diversity to learning, teaching experiences, and st udent outcomes. In addition, the reviewers found that attention to the instructional planning for diverse learners has been neglected in research. Based on a gap she observed during her review of the multicultural teaching literature, Sleeter (2001) recom mends research that follows teacher education graduates into their teaching careers.
80 The purpose of this section has been to review the literature base on preparing teachers to teach ELLs and to identify gaps in our understanding. Since research is lack ing on ESOL infusion, related research was presented on the infusion of multicultural education into teacher education programs curricula and its effectiveness. The section ended by questioning whether such teacher education resulted in teachers with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed to be effective in meeting the needs of ELLs. This study s ought to answer this question based on teachers own perceptions of what they face in diverse elementary classrooms and on their reflections on their participation in the ESOL infused teacher education program at UF Summary This chapter began by discussing two conceptual frameworks, teacher socialization and teacher perceptions that ground this study. Next, literature indic ated the need for teachers who are prepared to teach ELLs in mainstream classrooms was presented. Following this, inclusion, the ESOL model of choice in Florida and many other states, was discussed. A review of the literature related to teaching and lear ning to teach ELLs in mainstream classrooms was examined, with gaps in the research base about teaching and learning to teach ELLs in elementary classrooms identified. The ESOL infusion model implemented in the Unified Elementary Program at UF was then pr esented. At the end of the chapter, literature was offered about the success of past efforts to prepare teachers for this population.
81 CHAPTER THREE METHODOLOGY The purpose of this study wa s to explore ESOL endorsed elementary teachers perceptions about their experiences teaching ELLs in general education classrooms and about their teacher education to do so. In addition, it explored differences in experiences and perspectives among participants, those who specialized in ESOL and those who specialized in other areas. Th is study captured teachers senses of their roles and responsibilities as teachers for ELLs amongst their other duties and provided a description of their challenges, constraints, and successes as located in the current educational context. Findings yielded useful feedback about the educational needs of future teachers who will teach in todays educational context. I n depth interviewing from a phenomenological philosophical perspective (Seidman, 2006) was a qualitative methodology that addressed the purpose and questions of this research, as it has an interest in understanding the lived experience of other people and the meaning they make of that experience (Seidman, 2006, p. 9). In depth interviewing is considered both a methodology and method (Seidman, 2006). Strauss and Corbin define methodology as a way of thinking about and studying social reality and method as a set of procedures and techniques for collecting and analyzing data (1990, p. 2). According to Seidman (2006) th is methodology reflects the principle that people act according to the meaning they make of their experiences. An assumption of this approach is that participants perspectives can be made manifest and are meaningful (K a vale, 1996). As a method in depth interviewing is a means of collect ing data about
82 perceptions and experiences that cannot be observed directly, including participants feelings, intentions, beliefs, and interpretations. Philosophical Foundations Underlying any methodology is a fundamen tal philosophical orientation a way of viewing the world that provides context to a study and a related epistemology, which is an explanation of how we come to know. Therefore, the selected methodology and philosophy must be in alignment with one another as well as be appropriate to the purposes and questions of the research at hand (Crotty, 1998; Wilson, 2002). Coming to understand the perceptions of the participants and the meaning that they attach to their experiences of teaching and learning to teach ELLs require d individual conversations between teacher participants and the researcher and brought forth the tacit and unexamined. In depth interviewing from a phenomenological perspective (Seidman, 2006) accepts basic tenets of the philosophy of hermeneutic phenomenology, which is a branch of interpretivism. Merriam (1998) argued that the philosophy of phenomenology i s the hallmark of all quali tative research and, thus, needed no explication. However, there exists several interpretations of phenomenology, as well as its epistemology of constructio nism. Therefore, main orientations of phenomenology and justification of the selection of a contemporary one is discussed. B rief ly overviewed is interpretivism, which is the category of philosophy of which phenomenolog y is a part. Interpretivism Interpretivism developed in response to positivist attempts to explain human social realities because of arguments that natural sciences differed from social sciences (Crotty, 1998). Crotty repor ted that contemporary orientations of interpretivism derived
83 from the work of Max Weber (18641920), Wilhelm Dilthey (18331911), Wilhelm Windelband (18481915), and Heinrich Rickert (18631936). Max Weber acknowledged that human and social sciences had differences ; h owever, he argued that, like natural science studies, social science investigations of historical and cultural phenomena should use methods that provide empirical evidence and causal explanations. Alternatively, Dilthey and others posited that social sciences required different research methods that allow for the individualization of social reality in social science, as generalizability fo und in natural science studies were not believed to be applicable to social sciences (Crotty 1998). A r esearcher adhering to interpretivist tenets is curious about how people make sense of experiences related to a phenomenon rather than testing theories, conducting experiments, and using measurements as positivists do, or adhering to social and power struct ures as critical theorists attempt to do (Merriam, 1998; Patton, 2002). Interpretive approaches look for culturally derived and historically situated interpretations of the social lifeworld (Crotty, 1998, p. 67) while realizing that experiences can never be fully described. Falling within the paradigm of interpretivism is the philosophy of phenomenology, which will be discussed next. Phenomenology as a P hilosophy Phenomenology developed as a philosophy and expanded into a research methodology. P henom enology served as the philosophical foundation for this study but not as the research methodology as the plan was not to limit findings to commonalities across participants about the essence of being elementary teachers who are charged with teaching ELLs i n elementary classrooms Interest was shown in differences among participants perceptions and experiences as well as contextual and background
84 variables influencing these. Patton (1990) contended One can employ a general phenomenological perspective t o elucidate the importance of using methods that capture peoples experience of the world without conducting a phenomenological study that focuses on the essence of the shared experience (p. 71). Provided is an overview of the historical development of phenomenology from philosophy to a methodology to provide background. Transcendental phenomenology The historical development of phenomenology has been dynamic and is still in flux today (Speigelberg as cited in Laverty, 2003). German mathematician turned philosopher Edmund Husserl (18591938; 1931) is considered to be the founder of phenomenology (Koch, 1996; Polkinghorne, 1989). Even Husserls own initial conceptualization, referred to as transcendental phenomenology changed over his own lifetime. P r ovided are key identities and contributions in the evolution of phenomenology to provide foundational knowledge, beginning with Husserls philosophy of transcendental phenomenology. Transcendental phenomenology, referred to as Husserlian phenomenology, is considered epistemological in that it is concerned with how we come to know. Husserls most basic philosophical premise was that we come to know what we experience through conscious awareness, that is, by actively thinking about an experienceour percepti ons, recollections, and reflections (Patton, 2002; van Manen, 1990). This relates to Husserls conceptualization of intentionality when the mind becomes conscious of something, when it knows something, it reaches out to, and into, that object.Conscio usness is directed toward the object; the object is shaped by consciousness (Crotty, 1998, p. 44). Husserl believed that it was possible to isolate a
85 phenomenon consciously from everyday temporal and contextual influences, moving it to what he referred t o as the intersubjective ego (Gurswitsch, 1964). This was to be achieved through the process of what Husserl referred to as bracketing, or the setting aside of existing beliefs and biases after they were drawn into conscious awareness (Crotty, 1998; Husserl, 1931; Laverty, 2003; Moustakas, 1994). Once the mind was purified, in effect, Husserl posited that a phenomenon of interest could enter the cleansed mind, rise above consciousness, and then be brought back to consciousness with meaning attached. The description that resulted from this return to consciousness was considered the Essence of the phenomenon. Husserl posited that Essence was objective, universal truth, and valid because of the bracketing of all biases and preconceptions. A later writ ing by Husserl (1970) showed a shift from this original transcendental orientation, which was evidenced when he referred to lifeworld The concept lifeworld includes habitual, common sense, and takenfor granted experiences that occur without conscious thought and is based on beliefs about self, the objective world, and others who share a common experience. When the lifeworld is reflected upon, meaning emerges tacit and new understandings can be made explicit, existing understandings can be validated, and for gotten meanings can resurface. This latter ideology revealed Husserls perspect ive that meaning is derived from humans interacting in the world (Crotty, 1998; van Manen, 1990), which is a tenet of the epistemology of constructionism which is explained la ter. While Husserl considered his initial conceptualization of transcendental phenomenology as being objective because of his belief that it was possible to bracket
86 out all biases and preconceptions, his later position was that coming to know was both objective and subjective, a constructionist view, because of the interaction and in fluence between the world and the individual (Crotty 1998). The notions of coming to know as (1) being subjective; (2) as being objectiv e; and (3) as being both subjective and objective are demonstrated in the following examples. Imposing meaning when reading a text reflects subjectivism while the literal interpretation of a text reflects objectivism. Current thought about reading comprehension reflects both s ubjectivism and objectivism. The reader interacts with the text, coconstructing the meaning of the words on the page by considering what lies in between the lines and applying, likely unconsciously, cultural learning and assumptions. With Husserls as sertion that a cquiring meaning was both subjective and objective, he replaced the term Essence with essence reflecting his newfound orientation that an objective, univer sal description of a phenomenon was impossible. He realized that biases could not be totally bracke ted, or eliminated. A contemporary of Husserls, Heidegger, built on Husserls initial philosophy of transcendental phenomenology. Heideggers hermeneutic perspective is described next. Hermeneutic phenomenology German born Martin Heidegger (18891976), like Husserl, did not initially begin his career in philosophy; rather, his interest was theology. Heidegger became intrigued by Husserls philosophy of phenomenology and began teaching at the University of Freiberg where Husserl taught. Husserl arranged that Heidegger replace him as a professor at the university with the expectation that Heidegger would perpetuate the philosophy of transcendental phenomenology. However, Heidegger disassociated
87 himself from Husserl once he obtained the position since he had begun to question Husserls perspective (Laverty, 2003). Heidegger created another branch of phenomenological philosophy called hermeneutic phenomenology Heide gger, and those adhering to his philosophy viewed phenomena as textual in nature, requir ing interpretation (Hein & Austin, 2001), hence the use of the term hermeneutics meaning to interpret texts. Both spoken and written word s are considered to be texts. The notion that interpretation is required to discern meaning is but one difference between hermeneutic and transcendental phenomenology. Other differences, as well as similarities, will be described next. Both early Husserlian (transcendental) and hermeneutic phenomenology are concerned with lived experiences, having the goal of developing understanding of even the trivial by creating meaning (Laverty, 2003). Heideggers hermeneutic phenomenology differed from Husserls early notion in that Heidegger believed that consciousness is shaped by historically lived experience, which includes cultural background that shapes individuals worldviews (Heidegger, 1962). Thus, historicality the historical connection of past to present, determines what one considers real and true though an individual may not have self awareness of how cultural norm s and mores, social interactions, and prior experiences have influenced him or her Munhall described Heidegger as having a view of people and the world as indissolubly related in cultural, in social and in historical contexts (cited in Laverty, 2003, p. 8). Heideggers philosophy holds an ontological perspective because it emphasizes being in the world instead of the epistemological one of early transcendental phenomenology, which emphasized how we come to know. Human actions are
88 perceived to define the world context in which they are situated while the context of the world defines and sets boundaries on human actions due to interplay, interaction, and influence (Stewart & Mickunas, 1990). Accordingly, multiple interpretations of a phenomen on are pos sible. Those adhering to hermeneutic phenomenology seek to describe the world as lived by humans as well as humans reaction to the experiences of interest (Valle & King, 1978). It is understood that individuals can never fully bracket their worldviews or derive pure meaning unadulterated by context as shown by Kockelmans argument: At the very moment the philosopher begins to reflect he has already engaged himself in the world, society, history, language.The phenomena, the things themselves, must be acce pted by the philosopher the way they really are, but this can be done only by interpreting them from a conception of world which is already there before the philosopher can begin to reflect. (1987, p. 27) Application of phenomenology to research The movem ent in phenomenology following transcendental and hermeneutic phenomenology was the application of the philosophy of phenomenology to research in the social sciences, starting with Alfred Schutzs (18991959) use of it for research in sociology (1962/2007) Schutz argued that social science was different from physical science because social science researchers attempt to interpret the same experiences that participants themselves are interpreting (Wilson, 2002). According to Schutz (1962/2007), each indiv idual acts in the world based on a personal system of relevancy Each person makes c hoices about experiences and interactions with others based on what is deemed appropriate to the situation at hand. Social researchers can focus on this tac it knowledge ( Wilson 2002)
89 Schutzs application of phenomenology to research in sociology (1962/2007) led to phenomenology methodology in other areas of social science, such as the application of phenomenology to psychology research by Giorgi (1985) and Wertz (1984). Phenomenological methodology has been applied to many contemporary nursing studies, which have the goal of understanding the experiences and perspectives of patients (Koch, 1996; Thomas & Pollio, 2001). Some contemporary educational researchers (e.g., Kuhel, 2005; Rentz, 2006) have followed the phenomenological research methodology delineated by Moustakas (1994), which applies Husserlian phenomenology, with the purpose of understanding the essences of particular phenomena. Other educational researchers have used other methodologies that are grounded in the philsophy of phenomenology as they not only seek to understand commonalities in lived experience but are also interested in understanding contextual differences (e.g., Br adford, 1997; Cook, 2004). Dissertation Philosophical Stance The contemporary orientation of t he philosophy of phenomenology was used as the philosophical fou ndation for this study. Listed are the assumptions of this perspective, which are her meneutic in nature. A ssumptions of contemporary phenomenological philosophy A basic tenet of phenomenology is that the world consists of phenomena, or lived experiences, terms that are used interchangeably in the literature (Crotty, 1998; Husserl, 1931; Moustakas, 1994). Bar ker et al. ( 2002) report four central assumptions of contemporary phenomenological philosophy based on their literature review. The first assumption is that perceptions are primarily psychological and determine our
90 actions, thoughts, and feelings Accordingly, the meanings individuals perceive carry more force than reality, events, or facts. The second assumption is that understanding is the goal of science. Understanding derives from exploring a lived experience while taking into account intent, purpose, and meaning. The third assumption is that reality and truth are not based on fact but o n individual perc eption. Multiple perspectives result from individuals and groups having different lifeworlds. The fourth and final assumption delineated by Barker et al. ( 2002) is that individual perceptions of ones personal lifeworld are based on multiple implicit presuppositions each holds regarding self, the world, and others. These presuppositions are often tacit and unquestioned. For example, when a person ends a conversati on with a typical American acquaintance by saying, Lets get together soon, the American does not take these words as an invitation because such an expression is tacitly understood to be a polite way to end a conversation. Discuss follows of the episte mology of constructionism, which serves as a characteristic of contemporary phenomenology. The epistemology of c onstructionism Phenomenology carries the epistemology of constructionism (Crotty, 1998) as evidenced by the assumptions presented (Barker et al. 2002). Crotty (1998) described the constructionist view: There is no objective truth waiting for us to discover it. Truth, or meaning, comes into existence in and out of our engagement with the realities in our world. Ther e is no meaning without a mind Meaning is no t discovered, but constructed. I n this understanding of knowledge, it is clear that different people may construct meaning in different ways, even in relation to the same phenomenon.In this view of things, subject and object emerge as partner s in the generation of meaning. ( pp. 8 9)
91 This epistemology posits that meaning is socially constructed. That is, knowledge is created and then viewed as reality (Berger & Luckman n 1966). In this study, the term phenomenology is used to mean the study of the participants experiences based on their recollections and perceptions rather than through the lens of existing theories and understandings. M eaning making is considered a complex process. It requires that the participants bring forth past events from their memories, reconstruct details surrounding them, consider how past and present are intertwined, analyze and synthesize present experience s in view of the contexts in which they are situated, and express this to the researcher (Seidman, 20 06). According to Vygotsky (1987), changing experience into language is a meaning making process in itself. In this study, meaning is not to be considered as solely construc ted by the participants The nature of teachers individual and collective experiences and perspectives will be construed through jointly produced discourse (Mishler, 1986) between the participants and the researcher, as well as through the interaction of textual data and the researcher (Crotty, 1998). As Derrida points out, Each r eading, each interpretation inevitably indeterminately arises from the dialectical tension between the text (in whatever form, written, spoken, culture, action) and the reader's (interpreter's) situated, historically (biographically) conditioned horizon (1982, p. xi ). While the phenomenological orientation is an attempt to accomplish the impossible: to construct a full interpretive description of the lifeworld, it is critical to "remain aware that life is always more complex than any explication of mea n ing can reveal (van Manen, 1990, p. 18).
92 For this study in depth interviewing from a phenomenological perspective was used. P rovided is inf ormation about the philosophy of phenomenology and described the stance proposed for this study. The philosophi cal position of phenomenology with its foundational epistemology of constructionism was appropriate to the research questions as the questions were concerned with perceptions, experiences, and meaning. Next, described is the research plan, including the participant selection phase, data collection phase, and data analysis phase. Participant Selection Phase Proposed was select ing eight participants, all of whom we re graduates of the ProTeach Program Beginning with eight would safeguard that at least three participants who had specialized in ESOL, and three who had not, should one from each group drop out or fail to provide rich stories of their experiences and expressed percept ions with detail and examples. The intention was to use stratified purposeful sampling because it facilitates comparisons of subgroups who share the same phenomenon. Patton (2002) pointed out that data may indicate that the two subgroups are more similar than different an i mportant finding in itself. Data analysis would yield descriptions about each participant, each subgroup, as well as shared patterns across participants. This goal was congruent with the purpose o f the study as interest was shown in teachers unique indi vidual experiences and perceptions as well as the commonalities and differences among participants. While t he nu mber of participants targeted was small ( that is, eight participa nts with four in each subgroup), Creswell (2008) stated that qualitative resear ch typically has a small number of participants because the researcher is trying to provide an indepth
93 portrayal that reveals the complexity of the phenomenon of interest. With the addition of each new participant the ability to do so is diminished. F u rther, Seidman (2006) indicated that having only a few participants was sufficient when they reflect the population of interest. The participants planned to include in this research would have shared the same phenomena; that is, teaching ELLs in mainstrea m elementary classrooms and learning to teach ELLs in the ESOLinfused Unified Elementary ProTeach Program at UF, and would have met, to the degree possible, the primary and secondary participant selection criteria, which are presented next. Participant Selection Criteria When planning this study, development of the following primary criteria was used in the selection of participants: Has obtained the Master in Elementary Education degree through the completion of the ESOL infused unified elementary/special education; ProTeach Program at U F Holds a temporary or professional Florida teaching certificate in Elementary Education with the ESOL endorsement Has taught in a grade 25 elementary classroom that had ELLs identified as Limited English Proficient ( LEP ) based on Florida Consent Decree ( League of United, 1990) stipulations for at least two and onehalf years Note that I propose d to exclude novice teachers as research has shown that teachers beginning their careers go through a rite of passage of sorts, oft en focusing on classroom management during their first two years (Lacey, 1977 ; Wideen et al 1998). Also prepared was a secondary participation selection criteria: Characteristic of the typical teacher: f emale, White middle class, and monolingual (Zumwal t & Craig, 2005) R esponsible for all content instruction (including language arts, math, science, and social studies) for ELLs in an elementary classroom Teaching at a school with an ELL student popula tion of greater than 15%
94 Teaching at a school that receives Title I funds due to number of economically disadvantaged students enrolled Finally, plans were to select participants from two subgroups that differed by their professional specialization. Specifically, identifying four teachers that had complet ed 12 graduate semester hours in the ESOL professional specialization while enrolled in the ProTeach Program and four teachers who had specialized in fields other than ESOL was planned Access and E ntry In the interim between the time the dissertation pr oposal was submitted and approved, ESOL professors at UF obtained a grant to conduct a longitudinal study of UF ProTeach graduates. They, too, were interested in the experiences of graduates in the ProTeach Program and in the classroom with ELLs. Becaus e of this overlap, the possible participant pool was limited in this study to school districts in South Florida so they could have exclusive access to teachers in their five districts of interest in Central Florida. Graduates whose contact information had been provided were sent letters of invitation to participate (Appendix A) and the preliminary Teacher Information Form (Appendix B), which would collect data needed to select participants. Inquiries were received from five teachers who expressed interest and they were advised to complete and submit the Teacher Information Form so information about their background for participant selection purposes could be obtained. Four teachers returned the forms. Also requested was additional names of teachers in o ther districts that were not included in the other study. Mailings and emails were sent to prospective participates, including emails to teachers who did not reply to the initial initiations. Also, copies of the invitation were sent to district ESOL coordinators and teachers, who were known by the
95 researcher, in the targeted districts; and they were asked to distribute the invitations to UF graduates. Seven more teachers expressed interest in participating; however, only six completed the Teacher Inform ation Form. Of the ten that expressed willingness to participate, only three met the primary and secondary criteria. Once again, emails were sent out and contact was made with known ESOL coordinators and colleagues that worked in schools; however, there were no additional responses to the invitation. Due to the low response rate and teachers not meeting the selection criteria, it was decided to invite all nine who were willing to be in the study to participate and contacted them via email. Eight of them agreed to participate. Electronic copy of the IRB approved consent form (Appendix C) was provided via email and a request that they print and read the consent form and return a signed copy or provide it at the first interview. A Participant Information spreadsheet was created that listed the following for each participant: name, contact information, school, grade level, and interview dates to better manage the study. T hose willing to be interview participants were contacted in order to schedule their fi rst and second interviews. I nterviews were scheduled at a time and location according to participant preference in order to minimize imposi tion and inconvenience. E ach participant was requested to provide a copy of artifacts including their philosophies of teaching (written while they were in the ProTeach Program), copies of pages of their lesson plan books, examples of modifications for ELLs, district and/or school guidelines and procedures for teaching ELLs, and other materials they would like to share, to the first interview.
96 The number of participants decreased to five by the end of data collection. One dropped out without explanation prior to her third interview. The characteristics of the five participants are shown in Table 31. Table 31. P articipant characteristics Name Heritage Language(s) spoken K 12 education Years teaching (as of 2008 2009) Professional specialization Title 1 school Megan Barrett Multi racial (Greek/ Cuban) English Private Christian 4 Childrens literature No Julie OBrien White English Public 3 ESOL Yes Lauren Perez Cruz Hispanic (Cuban/ Cuban) English Spanish Private Catholic 3 ESOL Yes Christina Marino Hispanic (Peruvian/ Cuban) English Spanish Elem private Catholic Gr 6 dual language Gr 7 12 public 6 Integrated curriculum Yes Melissa Solano Hispanic (Cuban/ Cuban) English Spanish Private Catholic 6 Literacy Yes Confidentiality UFs IRB confidentiality requirements were followed by not disclosing participants identities to the extent provided by law. Confidentiality was ensured by using the following methods. For each of the participating teachers, an electronic list that assigned a pseudonym to each was completed. Pseudonyms were used in place of participant s names in all resulting texts, discussions, and presentations. The electronic list connecting their names with pseudonyms has been maintai ned on a personal computer that was password protected. In addi tion, dissertation files were maintained
97 on a back up external hard drive that was kept in a secure area in the researchers home. In addition to participant c onfidentiality, the identities of Florida schools where participants worked were kept confidential. In addition, the names of any persons that we re mentioned by participants were not mentioned. General district information and demographic information related to schools has been included. A digital audio recorder was used to record interviews and to rec ord any anecdotal notes. The recorder containing digital audio files w as kept in a secure area of the researchers home. Digital audio files and electronic transcripts on the computer used pseudonyms in file names. Paper copies of transcripts, collected artifacts, records, and all other documents pertaining to the study were maintained in a secure area of the home. Pseudonyms were used in place of names. Access was limited to committee members and other trust ed profes sionals who collaborated for peer r eview. Should a participant want to participate in a joint presentation or coauthor an article related to this research at a future date and, thus, be identified as a participant, she may do so. Participation in such an event will demonstrate the partici pants consent. Data Collection Phase For this study, the primary source of data collection was three in depth interview s from a phenomenological per spective, in which the phenomena of teaching ELLs in elementary classrooms by ESOL prepared teachers and teachers preparation to do so were of interest. S upplemental data collection methods were used in order to assist in the refinement of interview guides, to provide context, and to allow for triangulation of data. Table 32 reports data methods, sources, and purposes.
98 Table 32 Methodology descriptions Method Data Source Purpose Teacher information form Participant Identified teachers demographics and educational background and teachers experiences with ELLS. Designed to provide data for participant selection. Used to refine interview guide. School demographics and characteristics (number of ELLs, poverty status, etc.) FDOE, district, and school websites Provided information about school and districts contexts. Used to refine the interview guide. Electronic participant information form spreadsheet Researcher Provided contact information interview date, time, location; and anecdotal notes. Means to track data collection. Artifacts: Philosophy of teaching, lesson plans class schedule, work and test samples, ESOL strategy documentation sheet, school ESOL etc., as available Participant Identified teachers initial teaching perspective, documentation of comprehensible, culturally relevant, and modified instruction. Used to refine interview guide. Interview facesheet Researcher Noted time, place, and extenuating circumstances prior to each interview Provided interview contextual information. Provided stimulus for questions and probes for upcoming interview. In depth interviews (3) Participant and r esearcher Explored research questions in depth; corroborate life history and other data. Used to r efine interview guide Field notes & post interview anecdotal notes Researcher Noted non verbal and other behaviors during interviews and researcher reflections/ comments following interview. Provided stimulus for probing and further questions. Provided supplemental data for interpreting interviews. Used to refine interview guide Researcher journal Researcher Noted personal reflections, hunches, and comments. Made researcher aware of biases during research process and captured researchers thought processes. Used to refine interview guides and to remind of needed clarification ProTeach method course syllabi Researcher Examined to determine if TESOL Standards and ESOLrelated objectives were listed
99 Table 3.4 provides a matrix that correlates data sources with research topics. The collection of d ata through various means allowed for triangulation of data, adding to trustworthiness of findings, which will be addressed later in this chapter. Table 33 Methodology m atrix Research Method Roles/ responsibilities Challenge s/ demands Support/ constraints Teacher education Teacher information form + School demographics and characteristics + Artifacts: Philosophy Lesson plan book Work and test samples ESOL strategy documentation sheet School ESOL procedures/ guidelines Class s chedule + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + In depth interviews + + + + Interview face s heet + + + + Field notes/Post interview notes + + + + Researcher journal + + + + ProTeach method course syllabi + Before detail of the steps of data collection, the method of indepth interviewing will be described. The Method of InDepth Interviewing I n depth, phenomenologically based interview ing is openended and discovery oriented, having the goal of exploring participants experiences, perceptions, feelings, and beliefs ( Kavale, 1996; Rubin & Rubin, 2005; Seidman, 2006). The researcher is considered to be an instrument of data collection during interviews with meaning coconstructed by the participant and researcher through dial ogue and influenced by social, cultural, and histor ical contexts (Seidman, 2006).
100 Characteristics of in depth interviewing Hallmarks of in depth interviewing, described by Guion (2006) which was adhered to, are: Openended questions which require extended responses; A s emi structured interview format in which general questions and topics are preplanned, but other questions and topics arise from the natural flow of the conversation; A quest for k eeper understandi ng, interpretation, and clarity by both researcher and participant through negotiation of meaning ( the process that interlocutors undergo to reach a clear understanding of each other, such as asking for clarification and restating); A conversational style in which the researcher has the primary role of active listener; Audio or video recording of conversation; Anecdotal field notes written during the interview of any nonverbal and other behaviors of interest; and Reflections and impressions of the researcher written following each interview Stages of in depth interviewing Kavale (1996) delineated the stages of in depth interviewing from developing interview questions to reporting findings and conclusions. The seven stages and st rategies for accomplishing each are delineated in Table 34 below and were followed in the research. Topical sequence of interviews Seidman ( 2006) rec ommended a topical sequence to indepth interviewing wit h each interview lasting from 60 90 minutes and tape recorded, openended (but topic focused). He suggested the following sequence of topics for the three interviews : 1. Life history 2. Experiences related to the phenomenon of interest
101 3. The meaning participants make of their experiences Table 34. Stages of in depth i nterviewing ( Kavale, 1996) Stage Strategies for Implementation Thematizing Clarify purpose of the interviews. Designing Design the 3 part interview guide including : (1) a facesheet to record time, date, and place of each interview along with other pertinent information, such as demographics and special conditions; (2) a list of interview questions, probes, and follow up questions, anticipating and organizing issues but allo wing for flexibility; provide a column along right side to jot observations; and (3) a field note page for writing feelings, interpretations, and comments following the interviews. Interviewing Transcribing Analyzing Verifying Reporting (1) Make i ntroductions and describe purpose; (2) develop rapport and put participant at ease; and (3) facilitate conversation to cover topics of interest while actively listening, being flexible, and being patient. Type content of interview and add any interview notes (obser vations, feelings, reactions) Study and review, highlighting important information. Determine meaning of the information as related to research questions, looking for themes, commonalities, and patterns. Identify areas that need to be clarifi ed for future interviews or follow ups. Check credibility and validity of data through triangulation. Share what has been learned Starting the interview series with conversations about participants personal history reflects the perspective that early fa mily, cultural, and educational experiences have a bearing on current beliefs, attitudes, and rationales and affect meaning making. In addition, the sharing of personal background information by participants is a means to build relationships with the interviewer at the onset (Seidman 2006 ). Because of interest in two phenomena (the teaching of ELLs in mainstream classrooms and the preparation to teach them), the sequence of my interviews were modified to cover the scope of the research questions. Three interviews with each participant were conducted. The following lists the topical sequence used: 1. Life history 2. Experiences and perceptions related to teaching ELLs
102 3. Experiences and perceptions related to learning to teach ELLs in the ProTeach Program Data Collection Steps Step 1: Teacher information form, school demographics and ProTeach syllabi During the informed consent and participant selection process, teachers showing interest in participating in this study completed the Teacher Information Form, developed by the researcher, and reviewed by an experienced ESOL teacher. S chool demographics and characteristics for the work site of each of these teachers were collected, using information supplied on the FDOE, district, and school websites. Eight teach ers volunteered to participate, but only five (refer to Table 32) completed the study. A researchers journal was kept from time to time to record reflections, feelings, com ments, and concerns. This was useful in identifying personal biases, reminding the researcher of information need ed, and providing a record of thoughts about the study. During this step, ProTeach method course syllabi that were available online were located. Step 2: Artifact request and interview one Participants were contacted to schedule their first interview s at a time and location that was convenient for them. This information was noted on the p articipation i nformation spreadsheet Participants were requested to provide copies of artifacts at the first interview, but most did not have them until the second interview. An interview guide (Appendix D) had previously been developed and reviewed by two ESOL teachers and submitted to Institutional Review Board ( IRB ) in order to obtain study approval. An electronic copy of the first interview guide was sent to each
103 participant via email prior to the interview. An email reminder of the date, time, and location of the forthcoming interview was also sent. Participants were given an interview timeframe of 45 to 90 minutes Seidman (2006) advised that researchers should make each interview long enough to communicate about participant experiences but not so long that participants or the researcher become tired and inattentive. Prior to the interviews, copies of interview g uides and interview facesheet s were given to the participants. The researcher completed the facesheets with date, time, and location inf ormation. Length of time for the first interview ranged from 45 to 60 minutes. A digital recorder was brought to the interviews. For the first few interviews, a mini cassette recorder was also used, in addition to the digital recorder. Prior to each interview, operation of the recorders was tested. Each first interview began with a greeting and an expression of appreciation followed by recapping and conducting a member check about the understanding of background information provided on the Teacher Information Form and other communications Questions pertaining to life history, as listed in the interview guide, were asked. Additional questions asking for clarification were asked as needed. At t he end of the interview, the researcher confirmed the time of the next interview Artifacts (refer to Table 3 2 ) from the studys participants had been requested to supplem ent interview data pr ior to the next session. Since none was provided, they were requested to bring them to the next interview. Reflections or comments about the preceding interview were kept as field notes.
104 Step 3: Interview one member check, interview two, and artifact review Prior to the second int erview of each participant, notes were reviewed and contents of the first interview were recalled, listening to parts of the recording to refresh my memory as needed. Additional questions were prepared to ask if a better understanding of a given participants life history was needed. The guide was reviewed and refined and questions based on data collected from the prior interview and reflections were added. Electronic c op ies of the intervie w guide packet that included facesheet s, not ing on each the pseudonym of the participants and scheduled interview times, date, and location were sent prior to each interview. Before beginning the second interview with each participant, any specia l circumstances on the i nterview facesheet was noted as with the first interview The second series of interviews each lasted from 50 to 75 minutes and began with a greeting followed by a member check A n oral summary of the researchers understanding of the key points of the first interview was provided and each participant was asked to provide clarificatio n and elaboration, as needed. The topic then change d to the primary focus of the second interview the participants experiences as teachers of ELLs in their elementary c lassrooms. This included each participant sharing contextual frames of their experiences, such as relationships to others and current educational mandates. The participant s were then asked to tell stories and to reconstruct a typical day to elicit detail s as recommended by Spradley (1990). During each of the second interview s, the participant or the researcher referred to artifacts the participants had brought in order to provide clarification, examples, or substantiation. Meaning making of the particip ants experiences teaching ELLs was considered a dialectic process that included both the
105 participant and the researcher. Participants were encouraged to reflect upon how past and prese nt were related and how they informed their perceptions and beliefs ab out the future as well as their perceptions about the past (Seidman, 2006). At the end of th e interview, appointments for the next interviews were scheduled, which would be via phone. The researcher collect ed the arti facts and entered the pos t interview field notes containing any perceptions and reflection. Step 4: Interview two member check and interview three The third interview began with a member check about the content of the second interview. Participants elaborated and clarified, as needed. The focus of Interview three was on teacher preparation to teach ELLs, considering the realities of the classroom. The two participants who had completed their ESOL specialization were asked to consider their additional ESOL coursework in addition to their E S O L infused courses and required ESOL stand alone courses. Participants were asked to give recommendations to make ESOL coursework in the ProTeach Program more relevant to their realities teaching ELLs. The third set of interviews was the shortest, rangi ng from 35 to 55 minutes. The phone interviews appeared to be more focused. Neither the participants nor the researcher strayed from the subject as often as the faceto face interviews. Each interview ended by thanking the participant and promising to send each a $25 gift certificate to a local restaurant to show gratitude. E a ch participant was notified that she would be sent via email the transcript of the current and past interview s for review to ensure intended meaning was captured. The researcher asked to be contacted if more information c ame to mind about the study topics After ending the interview
106 impressions, observations, and/or perceptions that were thought to be useful as data sources were recorded. Step 5: Interview three, individual, and transcript m ember check Each participant was sent an email thanking them for their participation and provided them with copies of interview transcripts. In addition, each was sent the life history profile the researcher had written based on each partici pants first interview. Only one participant reviewed the life history profile. None commented on the transcripts or interview three. Participants were mailed thank you cards containing the promised gift cards. E ach one was encouraged to contact the res earcher if they think of additional information they would like to share or if the researcher could be of any assistance to them or their school. Data Analysis Phase It was appropriate to use a data analysis approach that was designed specifically for inte rviewing. The interview data analysis process delineated by Seidman (2006) and Kavale (1996), whom had influenced Seidmans indepth, phenomenological interviewing methodology and method was used by the researcher and also guidance from Creswell (2008) was sought. The data analysis approach for interviewing is inductive in that it goes from the particular or the detailed data (e.g., transcriptions or typed notes from interviews) to the general codes a nd themes (Creswell, p. 244) and is, thus, reductionis t. Kavale (1996) asserted, The central task of interview analysisrests with the researcher, with the thematic questions he or she has asked from the start of the investigation and followed
107 up through designing, interviewing, and transcribing (p. 187). He included data analysis in his stages of indepth interviewing delineated in Table 3 3 Creswell (2008) Kavale (1996), and Seidman (2006) discuss ed the interpretative nature of qualitative data analysis. Seidman (2006) commented, Marking passages that are of interest, labeling them, and grouping them is analytic work that has within it the seeds of interpretation (p. 128). Data analysis is based on the personal assessment of the data by the researcher, considering context, participant feedback, a nd the perspective of the researcher, noting that the researchers interpretations may differ from th ose of another (Creswell 2008) ). Step 1: Preliminary Exploratory A nalysis The first step of analysis was exploratory in nature and was an iterative proc ess that began during data collection During the first step, data was collected, organized, and transcribed. In addition, a preliminary review of previous interview data was conducted prior to conducting the next interview. Notes were referred to and portions of recordings were listened to at times to refresh memory of content and to develop follow up questions about areas in which more information or clarification was needed. The researcher asked, What is this person talking about? ( Creswell, 2008, p. 251) both during and after interviews. Inferences and interpretation of meanings were noted, and any personal biases that came to mind were also noted. Any relevant artifacts that had been collected were referred to. During this stage, member checks were conducted to ensure it was fully understood what the participants were trying to convey and to expand understanding of their experiences and perceptions of them. To manage data, transcripts were kept in a notebook; and artifacts were kept in a divided accordion folder. E lectronic folders for each participant were created with their
108 audio files, transcripts, and any other electronic data. In addition, an electronic back up of files on an external hard drive was maintained. D ocu ments were managed and m aintained in a manner that preserved participant confidentiality. Step 2: Reduction/Breakdown of Text Seidman (2006) states that the first step in reducing the text is to read it and mark with brackets the passages that are interesting (p. 117). Kavale (1996) stated that the researcher must be able to distinguish between the essential and nonessential based on the purpose of the study and its theoretical foundation. According to Mostyn (1985), the reduction of data requires both careful reading and judgment. My reduction of transcript data was done by interview set. The transcript of each participants first interview was read, analyzed individually and collectively before reading the transcripts from the second and third series of interviews. As each interview was read, interesting passages were marked; and codes and comments were jotted down in the margins (Seidman, 2006). Creswell (2008) indicated that codes can represent such topics as setting and context, participant perspectives and thoughts of people and things, processes, strategies, relationships, and activities (251252). Transcripts were read without seeking to locate predetermined categories (Seidman, 2006). However, observations were made that many of the codes represented topics of the interview questions, which were designed to address research questions, especially when participants were prompted when they could not recall information on their own. As reading a transcript continued, passages were found that connected to oth er passages. Seidman (2006) said, In a way, quantity starts to interact with quality. The repetition of an aspect of experience that was already mentioned in other passages takes on weight and calls attention to itself (p. 127). Participants at
109 times gave an answer to a specific question but then contradicted what they had said previously when responding to another question was observed. For example, one participant was insistent that teaching ELLs was the same as teaching nonELLs. However, when she was asked what strategies she used with an ELL, her answer indicated that she did alter her instruction based on the students linguistic needs. Later, she was asked directly again if teaching ELLs was the same or different, but she again insisted it was the same. After analyzing each participants first interview, participants were contacted if additional information was needed and then it was analyzed. Each transcript was reviewed again to search for categories that might have been neglected initial ly. The coding structures across transcripts were compared to ensure that they supported the coding system and research questions. A colleague was asked to read, bracket, and code some of the interviews as a member check. After all of the first interview s were marked and coded, individual life history profiles were developed, which served to reduce data further, and provided essential information about participants backgrounds. Kavale (1996) refers to the creation of profiles as narrative structuring [which] entails the temporal and social organization of a text to bring out its meaning (p. 192). Seidman (2006) finds the development of a narrative as most consistent with the process of interviewing. It allows us to present the participant in contex t, to clarify his or her intentions, and to convey a sense of process and time, all central components of qualitative analysis (p. 119) and also provides the researcher with a means to share what was learned.
110 To create the life history profiles for each participant, categories of information to use were developed, including family background and education. The researcher began cutting and pasting excerpts from the transcript so the participants voice could be heard instead of totally representing it. The described data analyses process was conducted for the second interview, which was intended to provide data to answer the following interview questions: secondary data sources were examined as well as each individuals first interview data for information that was relevant. Following this, a profile of each teacher about their experiences and perceptions about teaching ELLs was created. It provided background about the district, school, and classroom contexts in which each worked. In the profiles, t he categories of (1) roles, responsibilities, challenges, and demands; (2) differences in teaching ELLs; (3) school constraints and supports in order to address the first research question was included. These helped to analyze the data across participants and identify themes and categories. The same process was followed for the third interview, which focused on the following interview question: What are ESOL prepared elementary teachers perceptions about their preservice teacher education experiences to teach ELLs in general education settings? While the contexts of the participants life history and teaching experiences were different, their teacher education experiences were similar in that they are were graduates of the ESOL infused, fiveyear, Unifie d Elementary ProTeach Program, although they were in different cohorts or graduated at different times. Because of this, narratives of each of them individually were not constructed. Rather, the next step proceeded after analyzing each transcript from i nterview three and reviewing data from
111 other interviews and sources for relevant information to answer the targeted research question. Step 3: Making Thematic Connections During examination of the second and third sets of interviews and supplementary data, connections were made across data sets. Deeper meaning beyond the mere words of participants was sought. While analyzing the data across participants to make connections from the first interview and summarized similarities and differences among particip ants, I did not go beyond this. The reason for this was that the purposes of the life history interviews and profiles were to develop rapport and an awareness of their backgrounds and experiences as individuals past and present are intertwined (Seidman, 2006). During and after making connections across participants for the other interviews, interpretations were made about the deeper meanings of the data. Miles and Huberman (1994) described a tactic for making meaning. Noticing themes, patterns and clust ering help the analyst see what goes with what (Miles and Huberman, 1994, p. 204). While doing this, Seidmans advice (2006) of questioning what was learned was taken. Presentation of Results Results of the data analysis were presented by sharing the profiles written about each participant. Life histories of each participant are presented in the next chapter and provide a summary of participant backgrounds. In Chapter 5, the profile of each teachers experiences and perceptions about teaching ELLs i n her elementary classroom are shared followed by a results section. Seidman (2006) considers profiles as means to bring participant[s] alive [and] offer insights into the complexities of what
112 the researcher is studying (p. 120). The profiles show each participants unique contexts, experiences, and perceptions. Interpreting and drawing conclusions about each individuals experiences were not attempted due to the structure of the profiles. Instead, themes that emerged across participants were discussed and point to inconsistencies among them. Trustworthiness of Study The trustworthiness, or credibility, of qualitative research findings is of ut most importance (Creswell, 2008, p. 266). To ensure that research findings are as trustworthy as possible, the following were completed: (1) clarifying researcher position (Seidman 2006); (2) following a topical sequence in collecting data (Seidman 2006) ; (3) conduct ing member checks (Creswell, 2008) ; (4) triangulat ing data sources (Creswell, 2008); and (5) pr ovid ing a thorough, rich description (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). Each of these techniques will be described as it relates to this study. Clarifying Researcher Position Qualitative research is interpretive in nature (Creswell, 2008), requiring the researcher to be self reflective and disclose prior experiences, assumptions, orientations, beliefs and values that may affect the perspective about the phenomenon under study and the interpretation of data (Seidman, 2006). Though it is not possible to bracket compl etely these variables or to gain clear understanding of the experiences of participants from their perspectives, the researcher may become more self aware by writing about preconceptions and possible influences that can affect interpretations. In addition, this self reflection informs readers of the researchers experiences and stance. The researcher is a White middle class female, who was raised by working class parents in a segregated suburb of Chattanooga, Tennessee. She attended a grade one
113 to six elementary school without any recognizable minorities All teachers were White females except for a White male sixth grade math teacher. W eekly, hour long Bible classes were conducted by a White female who came to the school for this purpose. Junior high and high schools were similar in demographics to the elementary school except that there were three or four Black students who were cousins. These secondary schools had a few White male teachers. Principals and other administrators at all the schools were White males. The researcher started college following her early graduation in the fall of 2004 and declared biology as her major. She quit college after one semester and married an older man. Three years later, she had her first child. Four years later, she had another. As a mother, she enjoyed being a stay at home mom and intuitively knew that books should be read to the child and to take him to the library, museums, and other places. When her first child was about two years old, the family began attending the Episcopal Church after not attending any church since the marriage. The family beca me very active in the Episcopal Church, and the researcher became a Church School teacher, a lay reader, the Church School Director, the president of t he Episcopal Churchwomen, and other positions. These church years proved to be an important time of self discovery and personal growth because of not seeing myself as a leader or as a competent, capable person with talents to offer. It was during this t ime that going back to college to become a teacher became a passion to the researcher. Soon after her second child was born, she began e nrolling in one course at a semester to obtain her education degree.
114 She divorced after twelve years of marriage and worked fullt ime while attending school part t ime. She switched her major a few times, realizing that teachers are underpaid. After reflection, she changed it back to education because she felt this was her calling. Two years after divorcing, she re marrie d and moved to Florida and transferred to the teacher education program at the UF and attended fulltime. In 1990, she had her third child. She graduated with my Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education in May 1992 and Master of Education degree in August 1993 with professional specializations in Education of the Gifted and in ESOL Though she specialized in ESOL because she thought it would help her get a job, she developed a passion for the field. She accepted a position as an ESOL teacher in an elementary school in a rural school district. She pulled out most of the ELLs from their mainstream classroom for their language arts instructions. In addition, she went to a fifth grade classroom that had ELLs and cotaught language arts with the teacher. While Lortie (1975) discusses an apprentic eship of observation in which teachers unconsciously come to think of teaching as what they were exposed to during our own school experiences, the researcher did not emulate the teaching that she experienced as a child. Instead, she took what she lear ned at the UF as the way and applied it to her teaching She found that her colleagues were unfamiliar with approaches, methods, and strategies that she was using and followed more traditional meth ods. After five years of teaching, the researcher became ESOL Specialist for the district, a position that was created because of the scheduled monitoring of the ESOL Program the following year. Her job was to provide technical assistance to schools and help ensure that the district was and remained in compliance with Florida Consent
115 Decree requirements (refer to League of United, 1990). She found district administrative staff to be apathetic about ESOL and only wanting to do what was required because o f possible financial consequences if FDOE cited the district with violations She felt disheartened by the lack of care and concern for the needs of ELLs a nd their families, which made her even more passionate while also aware of the need for support from like minded peers, friends, and family members. Both as an ESOL teacher and as an ESOL specialist, the researcher was responsible for providing after school ESOL inservice professional development primarily for teachers who had to meet required training deadlines because they were teaching ELLs in the mainstream. While not all of these teachers were resentful because they had to take the professional development and believed their existing knowledge was adequate in teaching ELLs, many were quite angry. I t was rewarding when someone who had been initially reluctant and angry told the researcher at the end of the course that they learned som ething and enjoyed it. Still, she dreaded facilitating courses because of the prevai l ing negativity. She continued i n the field, in part, because of her colleagues who shared the similar experiences At the beginning of her teaching career, she bec a me very involved with Sunshine State TESOL, an affiliate of TESOL, Inc., which is an international professional organization for teachers and teacher educators of ESOL English as a Foreign Language, an d other related disciplines. She made several presentations at the annual conferences of this organization through the years and was nominated to the board, serving as member at large second vice president, first vice president, president, editor of the newsletter, conference and program chairs, and publishers liaison.
116 The researcher believe s that the success of the implementation of any ESOL /bilingual model is dependent on a variety of factors. While the oft cited research of Thomas and Collier (2002) found that ELLs literacy development and academic content knowledge are greater when additive bilingual models are in place, program success is dependent on how each model is i mplemented. Some schools and districts do not have enough ELLs or have ELLs from numerous first language backgrounds, so bilingual models are not practical. The researcher sometimes questioned if the pullout model was most appropriate for higher proficiency ELLs and kindergarteners. Of course, ELL success is related to teachers dispositions, knowledge, and skills From the researchers experiences with teachers while facilitating district ESOL professional development she observed that many harbored anger about having to attend the sessions, which possibly transferred to t he ELLs in their classrooms. The researcher also was aware that mainstream classroom teachers have many responsibilities and must meet the needs of a diverse group of learners and that having ELLs might prove challenging to them, especially in the era of accountability. The researcher enrolled in the doctoral program at the College of Education at UF in August 2000 after being awarded a U.S. Department of Education Ti tle VII Bilingual Education fellowship. As part of her doctoral program, she specialized in ESOL /bilingual education as well as language/literacy and minored in linguist ics. She gained college teaching experience as a graduate assistant, teaching various TESOL courses to undergraduate and graduate education majors. This informed her of the ESOL stand alone coursework that teacher participants completed while in ProTeach. Questionnaires completed by students enrolled in ESOL courses that the researcher
117 t aught informed the researcher that some were hesitant and afraid to teach ELLs because they believed they lacked exp erience Some want ed to teach in the schools in their home communities that were not diverse, while others were interested in teaching in p overty schools, as encouraged by the ProTeach teacher education program, which emphasizes social justice and meeting the needs of diverse learners. Very few of these students choose to specialize in ESOL. The researcher also worked as a research assistan t for a grant funded threeyear cross age peer tutoring project that focused on literacy and English language development. This allowed the researcher to observe and collect data in both elementary and secondary classrooms settings with ELLs While taking coursework, the researcher had a revelation that has made a lasting impact on her. When reviewing the literature on learning styles for an assignment, she d iscovered there is debat e about what learning styles entail and when they should be catered to (refer to Carbo, 1992; Dunn, 1990; and Kavale & Forness 1990). She felt angry because she felt deceived by well intentioned professors who presented concepts and practices based on their perspectives of correctness or what is best rather than informing students that multiple perspectives existed that should be critically evaluated. She viewed presenting only one side of an issues as hypocritical in that teacher education students are encouraged to have their future st udents examine multiple perspectives and question, yet teacher education students were o ften not exposed to differing perspectives The researcher also realized that she was to blame for blindly accepting what she was told. This experience made the researcher realize that r eality and truth differ from person to person and are influenced by background and experi ences with others, a constructionist perspective.
118 The goal of this process of clarifying researcher position was to help the researcher become cons ciously aware of where she came from, who she is, what she believes to better ensure the trustworthiness of this research. It also serves to inform the reader about the researcher. Personal reflections of the researchers thoughts, feelings, and hunches will continue throughout the research process so that she will be better able to consider alternative perspectives and confront her own biases. Topical Sequence of Data C ollection Seidman (2006) addressed the validity of participants responses when using the phenomenological indepth interviewing methodology and method. He argued that the threeinterview structure integrates characteristics that yield validity. It does so by putting participants responses in context. Interviews are scheduled over a oneto threeweek period in which prior comments can be checked for internal consistency and clarified, as needed. The final interview builds on the first two. Finally, the goal of the process is to understand how [my] participants understand and make meaning of their experience (p. 24). The indepth interview method allows participants to bring their experiences to life in words and make sense of them for both themselves and the interviewer. While I have modified Seidmans interview content (2006) because two phenomena were of interest to me (teaching ELLs in elementary classrooms and learning to teach ELLs in the ProTeach Program), I included components of both his second and third interviews into my second and third interview. During the first interv iew, I explored participants life history. During the second, participants represented their teaching experiences with ELLs and used their perceptions to make meaning of them. During the third interview, participants talked about their experiences
119 and perceptions of their teacher education program in light of their teaching experiences with ELLs and the school contexts Therefore, Seidmans comments about validity are applicable to my study in that the three interviews were contextualized, carried out over time to account for idiosyncratic days, included member checks, and allowed me, as researcher, to understand the meaning participants put into their experiences (Seidman, 2006, p. 24). Member Checking Another strategy I implement ed in order to validat e my findings was the technique of member checking (Creswell, 2008). Member checking is the process in which participants are provided with transcripts and summaries of data so that they can confirm that their words and meanings are accurately represented Members we re the participants of the study as well as a colleague who agreed to read and code a few of the transcripts so that I could compare her codes with my own. I found consistency between them. The data collection section detailed the member checking process Triangulation of D ata Triangulation refers to the process of corroborating evidence from different individuals (e.g., a principal and a student), types of data (e.g., observation field notes and interviews) or methods of data collection (e.g., document s and interviews) in descriptions and themes in qualitative research (Creswell, 2008, p. 266). Through looking for evidence to support themes across data, the study is more accurate and credible. For this study, indepth interviews were used as the primary data so urce and supplemented these data with artifacts provided by participants, field notes, and other data sources as shown in Table 31.
120 Rich, Thick D escription A r esearch report that provides a rich, thick description includes many details concerning the methodology used as well as the context, allowing readers to determine the transferability of the data analysis and findings (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). I provide a profile about each participants life history as well as a profil e of each as a teacher of ELLs to give greater insight into individual experiences and perceptions. I included many excerpts from the interview transcripts of each so that their voice could be heard. I also provide detailed descriptive and interpretive summaries of participants experiences, perceptions, and comments. In addition, I include information about the district and school contexts in which each participant works. Summary Chapter 3 began w ith a discussion of philosophical foundation of phenomenology used for t his research. It then described the methodology of indepth interviewing. Next, a thick, rich description of my research plan was articulated. The philosophical foundation, methodology, and research design are appropriate for my research questions since they allowed me to gain understanding of the experiences and perceptions of teachers who teach and were prepar ed to teach ELLs in elementary classrooms.
121 CHAPTER 4 F INDINGS: TEACHING EL LS The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions of UF ProTeach graduates about teaching and being prepared to teach ELLs in mainstream elementary classrooms. The chapter begins with narrative profiles about the life history and teaching experiences of each participant. Following this, findings are presented that answer the following research questions. What are ESOL prepared elementary teachers perceptions about their experiences with the teaching and learning of ELLs in mainstream classrooms? a. What are ESOL prepared elementary teachers perceptions about their roles and responsibilities related to the teaching and learning of ELLs? b. What are ESOL prepared elementary teachers perceptions about the challenges and demands related to the teaching and learning of ELLs? c. What are ESOL pr epared elementary teachers perceptions about the supports and constraints related to the teaching and learning of ELLs? How do the experiences and perc eptions of ESOL prepared elementary teachers who specialize d in ESOL during their ESOL infused teacher education program compare to those teachers who specialized in other fields? Megan Barrett, Fourth Grade Teacher Family Background Megan Barrett was born and raised in southeastern Florida. Her father, a first generation CubanAmerican who immigrated to t he United States as a child and assimilate d to American culture as desired by his parents works with computers and aspires to be a profes sor when he completes his doctorate degree. Her mother, whose
122 own mother is Greek, had been working for many years as an office manager at the private school Megan attended. Despite her heritage, Megan described herself as a typical American and does not have ties to either Greek or Cuban culture. English was the only language spoken in her home. A lthough Megan took Spanish in high school, Megan does not consider herself fluent in the language. Megan has an older sister, a younger sister, and a younger brother. K 12 Education Megan and her siblings attended a very small K 12 Christian private school. There were only nineteen people in her graduating class, and she said that it was like a family The majority of teachers were W hite, middleclass females. When she first started attending the school, the majority of students were W hite. By the time she graduated, about half of the schools student population was W hite and the other half B lack. Her friends were typically W hite. She married a classmate who is Jamaican. Career Aspiration Megan said there was never a doubt in my mind that she wanted to be a teacher. She added: Ive always loved kids from when I was a young kid..I was always at the church nursery, always with younger cousins always playing with them, babysitting them.When there was a baby, I was there, and then as I grew up I just thought that it was the thing I would be good at.I work well with kids. They love me! Higher Education Megan chose to attend a local community college because she wanted to stay at home, stating, I dont like change.I had no intention of going away from my mama s care! After earning her A ssociate of A rts degree, she decided to apply to the UF because of the ProTeach Program in which she would be able to earn her M asters degree as part
123 of the program. Once accepted at UF, she was able to afford to go because she worked part time at a Gainesville restaurant and because she had received a minority scholarship based on her heritage from her father While at UF Megan decided to specialize in childrens literature. As she began her field placements, her desire to become a teacher became much clearer to me that thats what I wanted to do. During her graduate school year, Megan enrolled in a course on teaching low income, inner city students. She completed her internship in a school that served a primarily Black, economically disadvantaged population and planned on teaching such a group. In the summer of 2005, Megan graduated with her Master of Education degree. After graduation, Megan accepted a fourth grade teaching position in her hometown and was in her fourth year of teaching at the same school. The district, school, and classroom contexts in which she works are presented next. District Context Megan works for Seaside County Public Schools located in a coastal county located in southeastern Florida. Its website proclaimed on the home page that it is an A school district and the sixth largest school district in the nation (Seaside County Public Schools, n.d.). In addition, it noted that Seaside is the largest fully accredited school district in the U.S. In August 2009, the FDOE reported that 9.9% of the 256,186 students were ELLs. This is the third highest number of ELLs in a Florida school district. Studen ts are from School Context 66 countries (other than the U.S.) and speak 50 different languages (Seaside County Public Schools, n.d.). Megan taught at a large elementary school that had over 1,300 students in the 20082009 school year. The suburban reside ntial areas that were zoned for the school
124 are primarily single family residences for middle to upper income families; therefore, the school did not receive Title I funding, with only 4.5% of the population considered economically disadvantaged (based on t he amount of students eligible for free and reduced lunch.) Megan stated that the community was very close knit, and residents tend to stay, so few students come and go during a school year. About half of the students were White and about 40% are Hispani c. There were very few Black students. Almost 15% of students are classified as ELLs ( FDOE, 2005a) The school was given a grade of A for the 20082009 school year. Megan reported that the majority of teachers were middleto upper class females. H er fourth grade team had ten teachers because of the large number of students Megan found that t he students at her school had few behavioral problems and that the PTA was very strong with exceptional parental involvement In her own words, these kids a re given everything and were deserving of this because they were good kids and most of their families push them. Most of the stude nts mothers did not work outside of the home and were heavily involved in school activities Classroom Context At Megans school, classroom rosters were determined by FCAT reading scores. There were four designated levels of reading ability: advanced, on level, below level, and intervention. Each fourth grade teacher was assigned either a group of advanced, on level, and below level students or a group of advanced, on level, and intervention level students. ELLs were spread out among teachers based on their reading levels, so all teac hers were likely to have them. Megan was assigned an advanced, on level, and b elow level students. Out of her 22 students, ten were Hispanic and two were ELLs with intermediate to advanced proficiency in English. This was lowest number of ELLs
125 she had ever had. In th e past, Megan had from three to five ELLs from beginner to advanced English proficiency levels each year. At the time of the study, one of Megans ELLs (who Megan considered to be on grade level) was pulledout along with other students from the classroom who had scored below a level three on reading section of the s tatewide assessment, for s upplemental reading instruction. The other ELL had been identified as having attention deficit disorder. Megan said that the individual attention she gave him was related to his being off task most of her time. She considered him to be on grade level and not in need of ESOL modifications. Megan felt more confident being a teacher of ELLs the year of the interview because she only had two ELLs who had some Engli sh proficiency. The ELL who received reading remediation required E SOL strategies and scaffolding according to Megan. In years past, Megan felt frustrated at times because she had ELLs at the beginning stage of second language acquisition. She explained, I dont feel like Im prepared to teach them. In previous year s, the school had self contained classrooms for lower proficiency ELLs but parents objected, so this model was disconti nued. Megan believed that pullout or self contained model s would better meet the needs of beginner ELLs. I wished that our school prov ided more for them because I really didnt feel like we were reaching these students. I felt like they were just kind of thrown in there and hoping to survive. Some of them did okay, and some of them were drowning, and I wished our school could have a pul lout for them ora self contained class. Later in the interview, she stated that she wouldnt even want [ESOL inclusion] for my [own] kids now. Roles, Responsibilities Challenges, and Demands When asked about what it was like to be a teacher of ELLs, M egan said,
126 I think its probably the hardest thing Ive had to face because I feel so bad for these children, I really do, especially the ones who come over and know no English. Theyre forced into this classroom with the teacher speaking a different language and the children speaking another language, books in another language. I mean I just feel bad, and I wish I could give them more, and I just dont feel Im giving them enoughI just feel like Im just kind of leaving them there to do it, but it just makes you see that these children do it She attributed the steady progress of some of her ELLs in English and academics to the effort they put forth and to parental involvement, including the provision of tutors, rather than to herself. Megans senti ment of feeling bad for her ELLs was interspersed throughout the interview as well as her feeling that she did not always door know enough to meet their needs. I try to do the best I can with what I have, [but] I dont feel like I was reaching them [low proficiency ELLs from years past] the best that I could. Her frustration about this was less at the time because she only had two ELLs who she considered relatively fluent, so she believed she was able to better meet their needs. While she said that sh e was not lacking for supplemental materials for her lower ELLs (her school had provided her with many resources she had requested), she believed that her weakness lied in her not being prepared enough and not making enough effort. She recalled being intr oduced to ESOL strategies in classes but felt like she did not take the time to learn them because she did not realize their utility. A few times in the interview she pondered if learning Spanish would have help her be a more effective teacher to her low er proficiency ELLs. She blamed herself for not reading and researching more: I get on myself because I could be out there learning more and trying to help harder, and I dont think that I have.
127 When planning and preparing for instruction, Megan stated that I dont really sit there and think about what she would do specifically for her ELLs. When she had other [ELLs] who were really low, I would have to think of different ways to reach them. She believed that what she routinely did, such as using s mall groups, songs, time lines, and so forth, benefited her ELLs as well as her other students. Megan did not have to complete ESOL paperwork or administer English language proficiency tests because the school had an ESOL coordinator who was responsible f or these duties. Megan was unfamiliar with ESOL entry, exit, and other procedures at her school. At the beginning of the school year, she was informed which students were ELLs and what their FCAT levels were, complaining that she was not informed how to address their needs. As required in Florida public schools, Megan documented her use of ESOL strategies in her lesson plan book. Although her administrator did not check to see if Megan was actually using ESOL strategies during walk thro ughs or formal observations, administrator s did check to see that ESOL strategies were documented in Megans plan book. Megan believed that administrators checked this documentation more for legal purposes so nobody can say, Youre not helping my student! But, oh loo k, we are! Megan remarked that she did not mind the extra workload required from having ELLs in the classroom. Rather, she was concerned about what the ELLs have to go through in order to settle into a new school where a language is spoken that they do not know. While Megan said that she did not think much about having ELLs in her classroom, she had heard some of her colleagues complain. In her words,
128 They dont know what to do. You feel kind of just stuck, and these kids need more, and you cant gi ve it to them, and they get frustrated having to sit the kid at the computer every day, knowing that the kid probably hates that. When weve got these students that are not very proficient in Englishteachers really have a hard time[I]t just kind of work s on them, the same children, and youve just got to work and work with them. Megans alterations between the use of they and y ou as well as using we once suggest that she might have been referring to herself as well. The Differences in Teaching ELLS Megan explicitly stated that she believed that teaching ELLs was the same as teaching other students However, other statements she made contradicted this stance, as shown in Table 4 1 below. Table 41 Barrett: Similarities and differences between ELLs and nonELLs Similarities Differences Some need extra help More forgiveness for grades and FCAT scores ESOL strategies useful Allowed FCAT modifications Need more work on fluency Held to different retention and grading standards Teachers expectations lower Better behaved Make harder effort Parents may not be fluent and be able to help Have language barrier Megan supported her perspective that teaching ELLs was the same as teaching other students with statements such as, If I have a student thats low, and I k now theyre low, Ill go and [provide extra help] whether theyre ESOL or not. She pointed out that she used what she considered to be ESOL strategies routinely with the whole class but perceived they benefited ELLs in different ways: If I were to do a graphic organizer, Id do it with the whole class hoping it would help the ELLs in some ways but in different ways help the other studentsso a lot of the strategies I know are good for
129 ESOL students I dont see how it could hurt the other students, so I just do it for everybody knowing that these will help. Megan justified giving an ELL extra attention by stating, Because shes ESOL, I feel like I can do that with her and help her understand. When Megan had less proficient ELLs who were unable to complete fourth grade work in past years, Megan said that she used additional strategies to help them understand. She described the year that she had two beginning level ELLs as proba bly the most difficult year I had. I really had to work with them and pulled out separate stuff for them daily. Statements that Megan made about her experiences with and perceptions of ELLs indicated that she found them to be different in other ways F or example, she said that ELLs had been some of my best students because they work the hardest to try to catch up, and theyre quiet, and they do what theyre supposed to do. Another difference that Megan me ntioned was the notion of forgiveness for ELLs. She said that, As far as grades, Im not as hard on them; with their writing, Im not as particular about it because I know there is a barrier there. Her school did not retain ELLs who had been enrolled for less than two years because of language issues though they might score low on the FCAT. Supports and Constraints Megans support system for teaching ELLs had consisted of the reading specialist and her fourth grade team members. She spoke with the reading specialist in the past about her beg inner ELLs who offered recommendations for materials based on their reading levels. Megan was unaware if this teacher was ESOL endorsed. Occasionally, teachers on her t eam discussed issues they had about teaching ELLs. Team members shared resources and s trategies they used. However, Megan
130 pointed out that they were not ESOL specialists. The teachers were just sharing what they had found useful based on their teaching experiences. The school had not provided professional development about teaching ELLs. Megan said that teachers were told who their ELLs were and their levels at the beginning of the year but were not really [told] what to do with them According to Megan, the school had money available to purchase any resources that she needed. For ex ample, she had ordered beginner readers and other materials for her lower proficiency ELLs. What she wanted most for ELLs and did not get were pullout or self contained classrooms. Future Plans In the next five years, Megan said, Id really like to teach in a low SES school. Those kids its harder, but they really need someone there for them, so I would feel best teaching there and happiest, but when I have kids, I want them to go to a private school, so I will most likely teach where they are. Before I have kids, I would like to go to a lower SES school. And once they are grown, Ill switch to private. In summary, Megan portrayed herself as a compassionate teacher who was sympathetic to the linguistic and academic challenges faced by ELLs. In fact, she said her strength was that she cared about these students. Megan stated that teaching ELLs was the same as teachi ng other students; however, some of her other comments contradicted this position. While she perceived ELLs as some of her best students affectively, she questioned her ability to meet the academic needs of lower proficiency ELLs Furthermore, she prefer red that beginning level ELLs be pulledout for language arts or placed in self contained classrooms for their own benefit and described the year that she had two nonEnglish speakers as her most difficult year.
131 Julie OBrien Fourth Grade Teacher Family Background Julie OBrien, a single White female, was raised in a very religious Catholic upper middle class household and neighborhood. Julies father is a successful lawyer who has provided well for his fa mily. Julies mother was a substitute teacher while I was growing up and in high school she returned fulltime, teaching at an elementary school after Julie completed high school. Julie has two brothers and a sister. The only language spoken in her home was English. K 12 Education Julie a ttended elementary, middle, and high school in her towns public school system. She described the schools as very good with primarily a W hite middle class student population. She recalled that there were very few Blacks and no ELLs. Julies mother w as always involved in education, and knew my teachers well and was always reinforcing things at home and all of that. Most of Julies teachers were W hite, female, and middle class. While she really liked all my teachers because my mom knew them all, she recalled two favorite teachers. One was her third grade teacher. I loved her because she had a part of the day called Celebration, which was like snack time. She would just play music and we could like dance. And that is why I loved her. The ot her teacher she fondly remembered was the W hite, male Advanced Placement environmental science teacher she had during high school. I just liked him because he was challenging. Career Aspiration Julie always wanted to be a teacher. She explained,
132 I kind of always just wanted to be. I think that a lot of it had to be with seeing my mom as a teacher working. I was always playing school when I was little.I really liked to boss people around.I could play teacher and tell people what to do! I love children and wanted to help them. It was kind of [these] things all together. Higher Education Julie selected to attend UF because she thought it was a good school. She declared her major as elementary education upon enrollment. She considered changing her major the first year of college because she was bored with the education classes. It was an E LL class that sparked her interest and motivated her to continue in education. I found that I was excited by that and I thought, Alright, maybe this is it. And as I started doing my practicum and getting in the classrooms and seeing this population. I just loved it! Thats when I decided, and I just, you know, having children that can come from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and knowing that these are kids t hat maybe need education a little. After visiting classrooms with ELL students she decided to pursue a specialization in this field because she believed that ELLs needed more support than students of her own background, and she believed she could provide it. Julie OBrien was in her third year of teaching in the 20082009 school year at an elementary school in Ocean County, which was the school district she attended as a child. She taught in another district for one year prior to taking a position in Oc ean County. The district, school, and classroom contexts of her most recent teaching assignment are presented next. District Context Ocean County Public Schools is the 12th largest in the U.S. (NCES, 2009) and received a grade of A for the 20082009 school year (FDOE, 2010 a ) The district is
133 located on the coast in southeastern Florida. The districts website stated that 199 countries are represented in the student popul ation of the district and 152 languages are spoken ( Ocean County Public Schools n.d.). Of the almost 171,000 students, about 10% are E LLs (FDOE, 2010b ). This is the fifth largest number of ELLs in a Florida school district. The district had mandated that teachers must follow the designated scope and sequence in order to address grade level educational standards. The district also expected teachers to follow the balanced literacy framework. The balanced literacy approach includes reading aloud, whole c lass shared reading and writing, small group guided reading, whole class interactive writing, writers workshop, and independent reading and writing. School Context The school where Julie was hired in Fall 2007 is a designated Title I elementary school. This school has sustained a State of Florida A+ Plan grade of A while Julie has worked there. J ulie stated there is immense pressure by school administrators to maintain the school grade, so emphasis has been placed on scoring high on the statewide ass essment According to Julie, students are expected to perform very highly and this year from the district weve been getting a lot of pressure to keep on top of our scope and sequence so there are certain skills that need to be covered in a certain period of time [and the administrators] really like us to keep moving with that schedule. In fact, the school principal checked to make sure teachers kept up with the scope and sequence when she visited classrooms without regard to whether students had learne d from prior instruction or not. The schools reported demographics for 2008 2009 were 74% economically disadvantaged, 34% ELLs, and 1.6% migrants; Hispanics made up the majority of the
134 scho ol population at 59% (FDOE, 2010b .) Julie indicated that most s tudents are from Mexico and Central an d Southern American countries and that most of them live in apartments and a nearby trailer park. Although in the 20072008 teachers taught all subjects, a new principal instituted departmentalization for grades 15 in the 2008 2009 school year. To schedule this, the teachers at each grade level were divided into two teams with each teacher on the team teaching a different subject. Students were assigned to teams based on special needs and were grouped based on abil ity. One grade level team was assigned the ESE cluster, following the ESE inclusion model. Another team was given the ESOL cluster. In the fourth grade, intensive ELLs were placed in two grade level language arts blocks to accommodate the schedule of th e ESOL teacher who went to different grade level language arts classrooms to provide support for ELLs, following an ESOL inclusion model. Students rotated from one classroom to another throughout the day so that teachers stayed in their own classrooms. Classroom Context In the 2007 2008 school year Julie taught all subjects to her 18 third graders. One third of the class was ELLs: two were classified as intensive (beginning to intermediate proficiency levels) and four were classified as support (advanced proficiency level.) The intensive ELLs were pulledout of her class for the 90minute language arts block while the support ELLs stayed in her class the entire day. Her four support ELLs required little use of ESOL strategies according to Juli e. Her intensive ELLs needed greater support, having little proficiency in English. The emphasis in third grade was on reading and math because the statewide assessment for third grade does not include a writing assessment section
135 Julie taught fourth gr ade in 20082009 and was assigned to the departmentalized team that taught ELLs because she had her ESOL endorsement. She taught three 90minute blocks of language arts (20 students each) with an hour of each block devoted to writing. S ince fourth grader s were assessed on their writing ability, this drove the fourth grade language arts curriculum. Julie was accountable for annual yearly progress in writing for all of the 60 student s who she had for language arts, including her ELLs. About half of Julies 60 students were ELLs. The 15 intensive ELLs were placed in one of two of her language arts blocks due to the limited availability of the ESOL teacher (a secondyear teacher who had experienced difficulty teaching a mainstream class the previous year and was assigned to this position so that she could observe effective teachers, according to Julie.) Because of the ESOL teachers inexperience, Julie did planning for her and documented ESOL strategies herself. Julie and the ESOL teacher cotaught during t he block in which her ELLs did not need more individualized support. During the other block, the ESOL teacher worked with a small group of ELLs following Julies instructional plans. Julie said that her class was extremely structured, in part due to the c onfrontation problems between some of her students. She had to devote time daily to refereeing some students and had to remember not to group certain ones together. In addition, she had to begin and end daily instruction for each of her three language arts block at the same place. You have A, B, C, D that you have to finish, and youve only got 15 minutes, so you better hurry. Roles, Responsibilities, Challenges, and Demands When Julie was asked what it was like to be a teacher of ELLs, she replied, I think I love it! I love those studentstheir culture, their family life. They are very
136 respectful. They are very humble and thankful Julie found that her ELLs progressed quickly in their English language development but felt intense pressure about being responsible for their performance on the writing portion of the FCAT. She reiterated throughout the interview that she did not think that following scope and sequence was in the best interest of ELLs. She found this challenging because a lot of students are ready to go and a lot of them are so far behindThe ESOL students need extra time...and its hard to give that to them. While a few ELLs were from Mexico, many were born in the U.S. with Spanish as the home language, a language that they coul d speak but not read or write. Its almost like those types of students dont even have a language because its such a mix between the first and second, and they are so confused that you are really starting from square one. You have nothing to build on. Its been so tough. In fact, this lack of language has been the biggest surprise that Julie has found in teaching ELLs. Her reality of teaching ELLs in South Florida was much different than what she experienced during her ProTeach internships. Her placements with ELLs were in pullout classrooms where most ELLs were literate in their first languages and often children of university graduate students It is so different! Julie exclaimed. Julie felt challenged when teaching one of the ESOLinclusion language arts block s because students wer e on so many different levels. S he said that she struggled with differentiating instruction so that all students could complete some of the work independently. Julie addressed ELLs need during writing conferences and also worked with them individually and in small groups. She said that they had great ideas but needed a better understanding of the English language to get them on paper. Through
137 small groups, she tried to develop language skills and to push them Since she perceived ELLs as in most need of help, she devoted most of her time to them. Julie was not responsible for administrating tests or completing data sheets or other paperwork for the ELLs enrolled in her two language arts blocks. The school em ployed an ESOL coordinator who prepared the required individual ELL plans and brought the ones for Julies students for her to sign. Julie said that the bilingual guidance counselor coordinated Parent Leadership Councils meetings and would provide Julie a nd other teachers of ELLs with docu ments to send home. Julie had never attended these meetings. Julies school did not specify how teachers documented ESOL strategies in their plans. Julie jots on the top of my week [in the plan book] what strategies I know Im using. She said that its pretty much the same strategies all the time. S he was not required to document ESOL strategies because this was the responsibility of the ESOL teacher. However, Julie felt like she should document them herself sinc e the ESOL teacher was inexperienced and f ollowed Julies plans. Julie said that she tried to just kind of [teach to] the middle because of time constraints and the diverse abilities of her students. Writing workshop, which is part of the district mandated balanced literacy approach, allowed ELLs to go through the st ages of process writing, and Julie allowed them to move at a slower pace. She used the strategies of peer and teacher conferencing, working oneonone with them or in small groups based on needs. She said that her ELLs had great ideas to write about but needed the English language to get them on paper. Through small groups, she tried to develop language skills and to push them.
138 Since the balanced literacy approach requires the use of centers and grouping for instruction, Julie put thought into grouping patterns. She grouped ELLs in different ways, including more proficient ELLs with less, Spanishspeaking ELLs with Spanishspeaking nonELLs, and primarily pairing different ability levels so that they can assist each other. Julie believed that use of the first language was beneficial for ELLs, so she provided bilingual dictionaries and allowed the use of Spanish The Differences in Teaching ELLs Julie discussed her perception about the teaching of ELLs in comparison to teaching other students. She sai d, I think in some ways [teaching ELLs is the same] because there are things I know are good for ESOL students that I think are good for all of my students, like to always have something in front of them to refer to and things like that. However, she pointed out that teachers have to have an understanding of [ELLs ] language needs. Her com ments are presented in Table 42 below. Table 4 2 OBrien: Similarities and differences between ELLs and nonELLs Similarities Differences Need visual support and other scaffolding Errors may be attributable to first language First language literacy affects second Stage of language acquisition affects production Difficult to retain Psychological testing takes longer due to lack of bilingual psychologists Use ESOL strategies based on needed language support/stage Parents may be unable to help due to various factors, including lack of English proficiency English language development necessary for academic success Better behaved Julie elaborated as to why she perceived teaching ELLs to be different from teaching nonELLs. She stated that knowing about their first language can help teachers
139 understand why ELLs are making syntactical and other errors. Further, she expressed that i t is essential to know the stages of second language acquisition in order to plan appropriate tasks and ask questions on their level s Julie found that her ELLs were better behaved than her nonELLs. She commented that many of her non ELL students had behavioral problems, providing a challenge, and that it was wonderful and a big relief to have well behaved ELLs. She had heard from other teachers that it was difficult to retain ELLs they want to keep pushing them through. The psychological testing of ELLs who had been recommended for evaluation just takes forever because there are a limited number of bilingual psychologists. The testing timeline for nonELLs was shorter. Supports and Constraints Julie mentioned two sources support to teachers of ELLs at her school. The ESOL coordinator completed paperwork and administer ed language proficiency tests to ELLs. T wo bilingual paraprofessionals served as translators of homescho ol correspondence that teachers wanted to send home. Teachers were required to send newsletters and other documents to parents in Spanish if that was their first language. Julie did not perceive her colleagues to be ESOL resources because of their lack of expertise in the field. She explained that some peers merely used strategies that were mentioned as being good for ELLs in professional development workshops or listed on strategy sheets. They believed they were providing comprehensible and appropriate instruction, such as using of readers theatre, because of comments that were just thrown in staff development activities as a way to help your ESOL students. Using such strategies counts [as comprehensible instruction even] if they have done nothing to help these students.
140 Julie did not receive support from school administrators. She expressed concern that her principal, who was bilingual, did not understand what these students need to learn because if she didI dont think our classroom would be set up the way it isand [the principal] wouldnt be like, Well, lets put a weak teacher as the ESOL teacher.She would understand how much instruction and attention they actually need. Future Plans In the next five years, Julie said that she might teach English in another country She was also interested in working in a home for abused and neglected children. She said, Im kind of deciding where I want to go next. I know I want to teach. I know thats what I m supposed to be doing In summary, Julie considered herself to be conscious of what [ELLs] need and was doing the best I can to give them what they need She felt prepared because of her specialization in ESOL and recognized that ELLs needed instruction geared to their language profici ency levels Her struggles were due to the demands of meeting the needs of 20 students with a wide range of proficiency and ability levels and following scope and sequence in a 45minu te block. Lauren Perez Cruz Kindergarten Teacher Family Background Lauren Perez Cruz was born and raised in South Fl orida. Both of her parents were born in Cuba and immigrated to Florida. Her mother worked outside the home as an administrative assistant and continues in this position today. Her father owns a home inspection business Lauren has an older brother and two sisters, one older and
141 one younger. Both Spanish and English were used in Laurens home. She considers herself to be fluent in both languages. K 12 Education Lauren believed that her parents sacrificed for their children by sending the girls to private Catholic schools, which had primarily Hispanic students Her high school enrolled females only. Instruction was in English. Although Lauren does not think that the academic education her private school provided was necessarily better than that of her brothers public school, she does believe that the environment was more positive. In addition, she thinks that her classmates made her learning experience more enjoyable and comfortable. The student popul ation remained stable, and friendships kindled as early as kindergarten still remain today. Lauren recalled that her schools had been more family oriented and had much more parent involvement than the public schools she wa s familiar with Laurens second grade teacher was her favorite: She was just wonderful.She was caring. She really cared for the students. She had an interest in me.I just felt special around her. Career Aspiration Lauren always wanted to be a teacher: Ever since I w as little I kne w I wanted to be a teacher.I would always get my two sisters and [say,] Ok, I am the teacher. You sit down and Ill teach you. I just love teaching people things. I love it! In high school I would help my friends with tutoring and all that. I just loved it! Higher Education Lauren chose to go to UF after visiting the campus with a friend and found she loved it! She chose E SOL as her professional specialization because she believed
142 that this would help her get a teaching position in the county where she grew up because of its large population of immigrants She graduated from the P roTeach Program in 2005. At the time of the interviews, she w as taking graduate coursework for a Educational S pecialist degree in Curriculum and Instructi on with a specialization in teacher leadership. Part of her motivation to do so was the increase in salary she will receive once she graduates. T he 20082009 was Laurens third year teaching in the city where she grew up. During her first year, she taught at a charter school. The district, school, and classroom contexts in which Laura was situated at the time of the interview and the year prior are presented next. District Context School Context Everglade County Public Schools, located in South Florida, is the largest school district in Florida and the fourth largest school district in the nation (NCES, 2009). The district grade for the 20082009 school year was B (FDOE, 2010 a ). It has the second largest minority population in the U.S. with 9.1% of students being bl ack, 62.5% Hispanic, and only 9.1% white (Everglade County Public Schools, 2009). The top five languages other than English that were spoken by students were Spanish, Haitian Creole, French, Portuguese, and Chinese. About 15% of the almost 345,000 student s wer e classified as ELLs (FDOE, 2010b). This district has the largest number of ELLs in Florida. The school where Lauren taught was housed on two campuses. In the 20072008 school year prekindergarten and all but Laurens kindergarten cl assrooms were located in the primary learning center facility. Laurens kindergarten and grades 15 were
143 located in the main building. Laurens kindergarten class was placed the next year in the primary learning center Having taught in the m ain buildi ng and developed relationships with some teachers prior to being moved to the other building, Lauren f elt isolated. While at the main building, Lauren collaborated with an ESOL self contained teacher and a third grade teacher. Lauren described perceptions about being placed in the primary learning center facility, Here, its a different situation. Here, everybodys to themselves. They never do things together. Its very my thing; let me do it my way, so its a very different situation Her frustrat ion was apparent through her words, facial expressions, and tone of voice. Any kindergarten student who had a first language other than English or who had a home language of other than English were administered an oral/aural proficiency test.. Kindergarten and first graders who scored at beginning levels of English proficiency were typically placed in self contained ESOL classrooms. Grade tw o to five ELLs who had limited English proficiency were pulled out for language arts instruction by ESOL teachers but remained in mainstream classrooms for the rest of the day. Intermediate and advanced ELLs were mainstreamed throughout the day in mainstream grade level classrooms. ELLs, regardless of their first language, wer e only assigned to mainstream teachers who were bilingual in English and Spanish. That is, ELLs were not placed with monolingual English teachers or bilingual teachers who spoke other languages than Spanish, a practice that Lauren viewed as unfair. The sc hool had a Foreign Language in Elementary School program in which Spanish teachers provided Spanish instruction for about an hour weekly to each class.
144 The Spanish teachers also served as tutors to students who are on a Progress Monitoring Plan because of low scores on math, reading, writing, or science assessments. I n the 2008 2009 school year, Laurens school received a school grade of A fro m the FDOE. The school received Title I funding with 66.5% reported as economically disadvantaged. A lmost 90% o f the student population was Hispanic, about 54% were ELLs, and no migrants were reported ( FDOE, 2005a) Lauren stated that t he overall student population tended to increase in January when families came from outside the U.S. to visit and enrolled their c hildren in schools. Classroom Context Laurens kindergarten class, at the time of the interview, had 21 students Thirteen of her students were ELLs who had scored at intermediate to advanced levels of English proficiency. Lauren insisted that kinderg artners who score d at these levels on English proficiency test s we re actually proficient while those in higher grades who scored similarly on the tests were not, suggesting the test is biased for kindergartners. In Laurens classroom, only English wa s allowed. Lauren had concluded that her ELLs who were in self contained class rooms during prekindergarten were less fluent than those who were mainstreamed because the self contained teachers spoke Spanish to their students and allowed the students to speak in Spanish to each other. I feel that if they just keep speaking Spanish, theyre going to regress and not learn any English., 2009b, lines 189191.) I know that they speak [Spanish] at home and theyre going to get that at home, and I know heres where theyre going to get their English (lines 183185.) Two ELLs in Laurens classroom had a Progress Monitoring Plan due to their low (high risk) score on their initial Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early
145 Literacy Skills (commonly referred to as DIBELS) assessment. They were pulled out twice weekly for tutoring sessions with the Spanish teach er in the building who also had the responsibility of providing reading remedi ation. Lauren assigned homework to her students, stating that her ELLs manage to complete it even when parents did not have English proficiency. She said, I dont know how [ELLs] do it. I guess they find somebody or can read themselves, s o, theyre fine. Lauren said that by the end of the year, her classroom population would be a lot different. Some of her students who had started kindergarten in her classroom only three months ago had already moved and others had arrived. She found that it was Hispanic students that were the most transient. She viewed this as a problem. Roles, Responsibilities, Challenges, and Demands Lauren had confessed in the first interview that she had specialized in ESOL during ProTeach because she thought it woul d help her to get a job in the area she wanted to in South Florida. She did not consider herself to be an ESOL teacher or want to be oneI guess if they asked me I would, but, honestly, Im hesitant, and its [because of] the parents. I do speak Spanish, but according to the other teachers, its hard communicating with the parents sometimes. She sa id that she did not serve as an advocate of ELLs or s erve as an ESOL resource to her peers in her building because she perceived that her colleagues dont care. They see me as young Lauren held a strong belief that it was crucial for her ELLs to develop English proficiency so that they could be successful in school and pass statewide assessments. She enforced her English learning policy in her classroom by telling students: You need to prac tice your Englishyou have to! Lau ren limited her own language use to
146 English, as well. She said, I think the reason Im so hesitant to speak in Spanish is like, Well, what if you get a kid who speaks Chinese or Creole? Well, what are you going to do next? What strategies do you need to do this time? Based on this comment, equity was important to her. Though Lauren felt like English was the language that should be used in the classroom, she did encourage parents to use their first languages at home. She told parents that they could read in Spanish or English. I ts just so [their children are] getting exposure to print, the concepts of print, and all that. And at first, theyre surprisedand I go, Its fine! Its fine for them because theyre still learning the way words work. Although Lauren said that some other teachers thought having ELLs meant more paperwork, this was not the case Everythings done for us! The school had two classroom teachers who served as ESOL chairpersons with the responsibility of testing and compl eting paperwork. Like all teachers of ELLs, Lauren had to document the strategies that she used. The school did not specify how ESOL strategies were documented. Lauren listed the ESOL strategies she had used in her plan book. She said that administrators were supposed to check to make sure that teachers of ELLs were noting ESOL strategies; however, nobody checked her strategy documentation. Lauren commented I keep myself checked Im set; Im good While Lauren did not have beginner ELLs at the time of the interview she shared her feelings when she was assigned an ELL in the charter school: I was honestly disappointed, and I was like, Oh, no! I found this to be an extra burden, and I know it was bad to think this way, but I[thought], I have these 24 other rambunctious second graders. Now Im getting this 25th student who Im going to have to spend extra time with. But when I
147 met her, and I saw how motivated she was, honestly, Iinvested a lot of my time with her more than I thought I would have. Lauren used lower level books with this ELL and asked a former classmate who was a teacher for advice about what she should do to teach this student though she had stated that she felt prepared to teach ELLs. Lauren said that if she had beginners now, she might use shorter phrases, repeat directions more but because she has higher proficiency ELLs, I havent done that much to changeI havent really changed my teaching that much. When she taught the lower proficiency ELL, she experimented wit h ESOL strategies she had learned about during her ProTeach ESO L classes in order t o determine their utility. Lauren perceived that any academic or language issues ELLs had w ere unrelated to their English proficiency For example, she said that one student had a very bad speech problem very bad. He would say tayons for crayons.He hears things, and its hard for him to hear. Hes picking things up but slowly, slowly, but hes getting there. When ELLs came in not knowing letter sounds, how to wri te their names, or the difference between a number and a letters she identified lack of preliteracy skill development was the problem Lauren preferred that her school get rid of the self contained classes for ELLs, commenting that the teachers in these classrooms were not bad but that the y use d Spanish in the classroom limiting exposure to English. She said that she would be willing to have beginner level ESS in her classroom but only would want two or three of them.
148 The Differences in Teaching ELLs L auren expressed her belief that teaching ELLs in kindergarten was the same as teaching nonELLs. O ne of her comments was: I really dont do anything different because I feel like [at the kindergarten level] theyre kind of at the same level with reading and writing the language. And again, my students arent as low.Perhaps if I had levels one and two, I might change a little bit, but I dont think I really would. Table 43 lists both similarities and differences in teaching ELLs and other students based on Laurens comments T able 43 Perez Cruz: Similarities and differences between ELLs and nonELLs Similarities Differences All kindergartners at similar reading/writing levels Strategies, such as pairing word/picture, graphic organizers, and modeling directions, necessary at kindergarten May need to give one to one attention, use shorter phrases, and repeat directions to ensure comprehension May need assignments modified, such as length of writing Requires more teacher time (instruction and documentat ion) May be difficult to communicate to parents Parents may not be as involved/supportive Lauren described ways that she had modified instruction for ELLs, contradicting her stance that she did the same thing for them as other students For example, she simplified her speech shortened the length of writing assignments for a beginner ELL. Supports and Constraints Two teachers at Laurens school worked as ESOL coordinators in addition to teaching. They were provided with stipends and extra planning periods to give them time to fulfill related responsibilities. Lauren felt very isolated as a kindergarten teacher, being housed in a separate building from colleagues that had served as resources and friends in the past. The past year when she was in the main building, she perceived herself as a support to the ELLs
149 in the self contained classroom of one of these teachers because Laurens students, the self contained teachers students, and a third grade colleagues students had recess together and partici pated in other activities together, giving the ELLs greater access to English. Though Lauren perceived herself as having expertise in the ESOL field, she believed her fellow kindergarten teachers who each had several years of teaching experience, to be u nreceptive to any suggestions she might make, so Lauren did not offer assistance or seek it from them. Lauren inferred that mutual disrespect existed between the other kindergarten teachers and her. She commented, Thats fine. Ill keep doing what Im doing my kids are doing great! Future Plans L auren stated that she enjoyed teaching kindergarten because of the growth that she sees her students over a year She would prefer to teach in a private school because of her own positive experiences at the pr ivate Catholic schools she attended: What Ive liked about private schools, is that, beyond the parent al involvement, it is more family oriented. I have friends who I met in the kindergarten who I am still friends with. She said the private school where she would prefer to teach doesnt have to be Catholicbecause the [salary would be a] $10,000 pay cut. I would like to teach gifted. I think it would be fun. I have my gifted students while I have been [teaching], and I really enjoyed a lot, so maybe I could [teach] to a different level In summary, Lauren perceived herself to be fully prepared to teach ELLs but claimed that ELLs did not need specialized instruction though she indicated that she did differentiate instruction for low proficiency ELLs. In addition, she voiced initial frustration when a beginning level ELL was placed in her classroom. Lauren believed that schools should provide instruction to ELLs in English only and perceived that the use of
150 students first language negatively affected their mastery of academic standards and English acquisition. Christina Marino, First Grade Teacher Family Background Christina Marino was born in New York City, the daughter of a Peruvian mother and a Cuban father. Her mother was a kinder garten teacher for many years. H er father, who had a Masters degree in social work, worked at a hospital with mentally retarded patients. Christina has a brother who is about a y ear and a half her junior. Both parents were fluent in both English and Spanish and both languages were spoken in the home. Lauren said that she typically speaks Spanish with her parents and English with her friends. Christina considers herself to be bi lingual and speaks English with no accent. K 12 Education Lauren and her brother both attended a private Catholic elementary school where their mother taught located in the upper west side of New York City. The school had two classes per grade level and went from kindergarten to eighth grade and had a diverse student population that was reflective of the city. In the area where she lived, most parents could afford to send their children to private school. At that time, public school was not the ideal learning environment. Most of her teachers were White, m iddle class females. After her father retired and Christina completed fifth grade, the family moved to Caracas, Venezuela. Christina and her brother attended the Bilingual Academy where instruction was in Spanish and English. Her mother continued her teaching career at this school. Christina recalls that none of the family was content living in Caracas At
151 the end of the school year, her parents decided to move to a small community in west central Florida that they thought would provide a relaxed lifestyle and quality education for the children. It was here that seventh grade Christina and her brother attended public schools for the first time. Her friends in middle and high school were mostly W hite, which was by far the majority racial group. Many classmates were from working class homes while a few had parents who were well known professionals in the community. While Christinas middle school teachers were mostly White females, she recalled that she had a Black male teacher for history and that there were more males at the high school level than had taught at her middle school. When asked about her favorite teachers, Christina had many so she had to narrow down the number. She fondly reme mbered her Filipino fifth grade teacher at the Catholic school. While the teachers persona made her appear strict and mean on the surface; but according to Christina, students were actually afraid of her. She was actually the nicest person. You can t judge a book by its cover, stated Christina, who believed she learned a lot that year. Another favorite teacher was her high school English honors teacher, who Christina had both in her freshman and junior years. Christina found her to be a great tea cher who taught her a lot. As important, she was kind and caring a trusted friend and teacher who Christina felt close to. Christina carries such characteristics into her own teaching. To be a good teacher, she believes you must help students learn, command respect, know students, and be caring. Career Aspiration Christina always wanted to be a teacher and believes her primary career influence was her mother, who had originally been a high school teacher but had moved
152 to kindergarten and taught at this level for many years. Since her mother taught at the private elementary school where Christina attended, Christina would go to her moms classroom and help her with tasks, such as decorating bulletin boards. She enjoyed this immensely. In addition, she would play school with her dolls and her brother. In secondary school, she served as a peer counselor and provided tutoring and other assistance. She found that she preferred working with young children. Higher Education Christina said t hat she chose to go to UF because it is the best school in Florida. She said that her fellow education majors, who started the ProTeach program in their junior year, were guinea pigs in that 1999 was the first year that the College of Education had implemented the Unif ied Elementary ProTeach Program (which provided the opportunity for dual certification in elementary education and special education) with its cohort model and ESOL infusion, allowing them to graduate with their ESOL endorsement qualifications. Christina chose interdisciplinary studies as her professional specialization, which required taking coursework in the integration of math, science, language arts, and technology. She graduated from ProTeach in the summer of 2002. In 2008, Christina earned her Educational Specialist degree in curriculum and instruction through the Teacher Leadership for School Improvement online degree program offered by UF She had also earned her reading endorsement. Upon graduation from ProTeach, Lauren accepted her only job offer, which was from a school in southwest Florida a week before school started. After two years there, she applied for and accepted a teaching position in a school district closer to home and
153 was still teaching first grade there at the time of the interview District, school, and classroom contexts for the school that she was teaching in are provided next. District Context The headquarters of Forest County Public Schools, the nations 10thSchool Context largest school district (NCES, 2009), is located in Central Florida. The districts website indicates that it received a grade of A from the FDOE again (Forest County Public Schools, n.d.). It also indicates that students are from 212 countries and speak 166 different languages. Of the 172 ,028 students, almost 20% are ELLs (FDOE, 2010b). This district has the largest percentage of ELLs and the second largest number of ELLs in Florida and required that English be used as the language of instruction in both ESOL self contained and ESOLinclu sive mainstream classro oms. Spanish was allowed in transitional bilingual classrooms for half of the day. During her first two years working for Forest County Public Schools, Christina taught in a mainstream classroom, which had ELLs enrolled. In the 20052006 school year, almost half of the student population was white and about onefourth was Black; the oth er fourth was Hispanic. Slightly more than 10% were ELLs and almost 1% was migrants. The percentage of economically disadvantaged was almost 46% (FDOE, 2010b), qualifying the school to receive Title 1 funding. The school had received a school grade of A in 2004 2005 and a B in 20052006 (FDOE, 2010a) A new elementary school opened in the fall of 2006 due to overcrowding of the school where Christina taught as well as other district elementary schools. Christina chose to transfer there and continue teaching first grade. The feeder schools (that is, the schools that students were drawn from) for the new elementary school w ere A
154 schools. A new school is not graded by FDOE during its first year of operation. The school received a grade of C in S pring 2008 to the surprise of the faculty. For the 20082009 school year (when the interview was done), it earned an A. The school demographics for 20082009 were as follows: 8.6% White, 11.8% Black, 71.6% Hispanic, 3.6% Asian, and 4.1% multiracial ( FDO E, 2005a). The percentage of economically disadvantaged was 71.6%; thus, the school qualified for Title 1 funding. Over half of the students were ELLs (60.3%) with no students reported as migrant. According to Christina, most of the students were Puerto Rican based on data collection the school undertook. The majority of teachers were Hispanic females like Christina The school required that teachers write objectives on the board. A dministrators would ask students about what they were learning duri ng their daily classroom visits. Therefore, teacher spent time going over objectives and asking students about them so that they would be prepared to answer administrators questions. Classroom Context Christina accepted the first grade position for Fall 2006, assuming she would be teaching a mainstream class. However, she was assigned to a sheltered (self contained) ESOL classroom without being asked her preference of settings (mainstream or sheltered.) She said that there was this negative thing to te ach sheltered because there is a lot more work that goes into it not so much the teaching the kids but the paperwork and that she was no happy at being assigned to a sheltered class. She believed that she was given this position because she was one of a few on the first grade team who had the ESOL endorsement and others did not want it.
155 Though the class size of a sheltered class was smaller (13 or less students) compared to a mainstream first grade classroom (18 or less students), the former required much more paperwork. The next school year (20072008), Christina was once again assigned to a sheltered ESOL first grade classroom along with the only other ESOL endorsed first grade teacher because more experienced teachers did not want this position and had not completed their ESOL endorsement requirements. At the end of her second year at the school, Christina requested that she be placed in a mainstream first grade classroom because I had such a horrible year! She did not want to teach sheltered again because she found it just too stressful Her frustration was due to a variety of factors, including being compared to mainstream first grade teachers test scores, behavioral problems of some of her students, home problems that carried over into the classroom, parents not understanding that their children were not learning, and some students not completing homework. The principal complied with her request, and Christina was assigned to a mainstream classroom f or the 20082009 school year with a total of 18 students; five of them were ELLs. She did not have ELLs that were nonEnglish speakers as they were placed in sheltered or bilingual classrooms. As required by the district, Christina taught only in Englis h though she is fluent in Spanish. Christina does think that it is a benefit to know two languages but followed the mandate. She described her typical day as very structured. Though school did not start till 9:00 a.m., Christina allowed students who arrived early to come into the classroom at 8:15 a.m.
156 Roles, Responsibilities, Challenges, and Demands in Teaching ELLs Christina said that she liked teaching ELLs. She enjoyed the most interesting stories [they told] about what they did on their weekends and what they didlike they ate something or somebody came to visit them from another country. She commented that teaching ELLs requires a lot of organization as well as much preparation. You want to make sure that what ever you r e introducing, you' ve d one enough background thought about whatever questions might come up for those particular students so that you can answer their questions right away so that you don't take away learning time from them or any of the other students .W hen you're practicing you have to differentiate, like I do a lot of differentiated instruction when I pull the ESOL students and the lower level students that may need more help in small groups and I review things to make sure that they got what I was trying to teach them. Wh en planning Christina said that she thought about how she could meet the needs of ELLs I prepare extra and think about how the lesson should be presented to the ESOL studentslike if I need to do a picture, a visual, or if I need to include a graphic org anizer. She displayed vocabulary paired with pictures and definitions daily on the board and went over them. She said that it is a strategy I picked up from [ESOL], but I just decided to use it for everybody because I think it benefits everybody. When cultural topics arose in the classroom, Christina referenced her students who were from that background. She had a culture day in which students dressed up from their native cultures and used to have them bring in food from their culture but found that providing foods was too much of a financial burden on parents. Christina said that she differentiated instruction when she taught her small groups, such as making her instruction a little bit higher for my higher kids. A surprise for her about teaching E LLs was that when she paired them with someone who is dominant in the lesson or dominant in the language, they pick up so much quicker. She believed
157 that peer interaction was more beneficial to language development than teacher student interaction. A major challenge was finding time to do things that Christina believed would benefit her stude nts. She would have liked to provide smaller group instruction and provide more practice opportunities to ELLs but she just did not have enough time to do so. Sh e felt knowledgeable about teaching after doing so for almost seven years and did not mind having to redo things for [ELLs], but this came at a cost. She said that her colleagues perceived her to have expertise in teaching ELLs and sought her advice. Lauren appeared to have more responsibilities and demands as a teacher of ELLs than other participants in this study although there was a teacher on special assignment who was in charge of the ESOL Program. Christina document ed ESOL strategies on the bottom of lesson plans. For eac h ELL in her classroom, she had to complete a tenpage ESOL language arts checklist at the end of the year and monitor their performance throughout the school year In addition, she was responsible for complementing the monitori ng paperwork for the former ELLs in her class that had been exited from the program less than two years prior She was also expected to attend all ELL committee meetings held on behalf of her ELLs These demands were a main reason why some her colleagues had negative attitudes about having ELLs in their classrooms Christina spoke of trying to get some of the parents of her ELLs involved in thei r education as a major challenge. She called parents on the phone, talking in Spanish when necessary, to mak e sure that they understandand make sure they know when they need to come for something. Still, some parents did not come in or make sure
158 their children complete homework. Christina perceived that their lack of engagement with their children created m ore work for her since she and parents were not partners in their childrens education. Christina did not blame her ELLs for the challenges that she hadit's never the kids, but everything that goes into it The kids are never the problem, it's everything around them. So much of, You di d this, so you have to do this! She spoke of aspects of teaching that made it not fun, such as having to write objectives on the board daily and the stress she felt about her ELLs achieving annual yearly progress and doing well on FCAT. She believed there were unrealistic expectations of ELLs, arguing that there are individual differences and that students should not be compared to one another If one child makes this tiny amount of growth and another makes more, then what is considered enough by the higher powers?They dont really understand where [these students] came from. She believed that with the new emphasis on collecting and analyzing data, people are finally starting to understand how reading six words, ev en though it took a few months, is an accomplishment She argued that ELLs can only make so much growth in a year and may not meet grade level expectations. The Differences in Teaching ELLs Christina repeatedly stated th at teaching ELLs was the same as d emonstrated by her following words: I dont think an ESOL student is any different from a regular student because, like I said before, all of the strategies that you use to teach ESOL students are just good strategies that you should be using to teach all students. In my mind, I really dont see a difference, other than they come from a different backgroundbut thats what makes them interesting. That makes you want to learn more about that particular race or country of wherever it is that they come from.
159 Drawing on her experience as an ESOL self co ntained teacher at the school for two years, she said, I really dont see much difference [between teaching sheltered and teaching mainstream]because I taught sheltered for two yearsand it was the exact same thing other than I couldnt retain any kids and some of them were very low Table 44 presents similarities and differences in teaching ELLs that were stated or could be inferred duri ng the interviews, with Christi n a Table 44 Marino: Similarities and differences between ELLs and nonELLs Similarities Differences Varying levels of parental support Cultural background Benefit from vocabulary development activities and ESOL strategy use Acquire English through peer interaction Similar language acquisition May not achieve on grade level on tests due to lack of proficiency in English Difficult to retain Difficult to refer for testing for learning problems Teacher has to complete 10 page checklist for each ELL Requires extra planning and pr eparation ESOL label might affect teacher attitudes and expectations Though Christina indicated that she did lesson planning specifically for ELLs based on their perceived linguistic needs and limitations she insisted during the interview that the strategies that she used with her ELLs benefited all students. She identified language issues that her ELLs and nonELLs had as being similar, saying these issues were about the same. [ELLs] sometimes have problems piecing proper sentences together, bu t they quickly catch on because theyre immersed in the language with other students. Lauren expressed her view that a true ESOL kid is someone who has come from another country with little proficiency in English rather than students who were born here and knows another language. She believed that labeling the latter group of
160 students as ELLs was negative and detrimental because once you have a label, its hard to get off, and people think youre maybe not as smart as a normal basic mainstream kid. I t was troubling to her when ELLs were perceived in this way. Supports and Constraints Christina stated that, There is just a lot of ESOL support [at my school] because we have so many ESOL students The district provided a teacher on special assignme nt who was the one in charge of get ting it all together This ESOL coordinator maintained all of the ELL folders in her office and provided teachers with the lengthy ESOL language arts checklist for teachers to complete. She also handled testing and monitoring of former ELLs. Christina had asked her ESOL related questions on different occasions. Someone from the district ESOL office was frequently at the school to monitor the program and to offer assistance. Christina perceived their help as almost too much. A rule in the district was that ELLs could not be retained if they had been in the program for less than two years. In addition, it was difficult to refer them for testing if a learning problem was suspected. ESOL district personnel supported these policies. Christina perceived some ELLs as having legitimate learning and other problems unrelated to their second language acquisition. She said, I agree how [district ESOL staff] gives [ELLs} the benefit of the doubt but sometimes its not a language problem, its a learning problem! Christina said that parents, too, sometimes used their childrens ELL status as a crutch to keep them from being retained. Christina had not received any professional development about teaching ELLs since she attended ProTeach. Like the other teachers discussed in this chapter, Christina was not observed for her effectiveness in teaching ELLs. While administrators
161 walked through to ask students what they were learning and completed required formal observations, she got no feedback about their impressions on her effectiveness in teaching ELLs to reflect upon. Christina felt hindered by the lack of involvement and support by some parents, believing parental engagement was crucial for student success She believ ed that if parents made sure that students did their homework that she would not have to reteach certain things. She did not identify this as a problem exclusive to ELLs. Christina found that district requirements and emphasis on accountability interfered with her doing things that would benefit her students. The requirement to write objectives on the board and cover the curriculum left her feeling constrained. She also w orried about her ELLs scoring lower on FCAT and feared that she would not be viewed as the good teacher that she knew she was. Future Plans Christin a made the following comments about what she would like to be doing in five years: I would still be happy teaching first grade, I love it that much! I would not mind being an expert in the grade and be able to help new teachers coming into the field. Although, I would also not mind being a [curriculum research teacher] and putting my Specialist to use. Im also thinking that I may want to teach a few days a week (or in the summer) on a community college level and teach future teachers. I always wanted to be some kind of mentor and share what I know with future teachers. I guess we will see what happens. I just like to set myself up to have as many doors open as possible. Plus, if I am married with young children, I want to be able to fully concentrate on them. Christina said that her perfect school would be in a small, suburban middle class neighborhood where parents are really involved, and the kids like schooland play on sports teams, and they go to dance class
162 In summary, Chri stina appeared to be a reflective teacher who worked hard to provide a welcoming environm ent and differentiated instruction for her students. Though she insisted that teaching ELLs was the same as teaching other students, she talked about how she thought about how she would differentiate instruction for ELLs based on their English proficiency levels during her planning period. Christina had more responsibilities than other participants in this study because of greater ESOL paperwork obligations She felt great pressure for her ELLs to achieve well on statewide assessments because administrat ors interpreted her effectiveness as a teacher based on her students scores. Becaus e of the challenges and demands she faced at her current school, including those related to her being a teacher of ELLs she would prefer to teach at a middleclass school that had high parental involvement. Melissa Solana, ESOL Coordinator and Former 3 5 Grade Teacher Family Background Melissa Solano, a Hispanic female, was born in Miami, the daughter of a CubanAmerican mother, raised in Philadelphia, and a Cuban father w ho arrived in the U.S. at the age of 10. Melissas parents divorced when she was four. Soon after, she moved w ith her mother and her younger brother to Philadelphia so that we could be closer to family. Her mother, a high school graduate at the time, worked as a bank manager and a part time realtor. Melissa described her mother as very strict. Melissas father maintained only limited contact throughout her life and, thus, we dont have much of a relationship. Both parents were fluent in both Eng lish and Spanish. Melissa shared, Im not sure if Spanish was my first language. I think both English and Spanish were. Melissa considered English her dominant language saying, I mostly tra nslate from English to Spanish when I speak Spanish.
163 K 12 Education Melissa began kindergarten at a private Catholic school, the largest in the diocese, in Philadelphia, located close to their row house in the city. She said, It was more common to go to a private school in the city. Students were mostly from European backgrounds, including Italian, Irish, and Polish. During her seven years attending the school, most teachers were White females; some were nuns. Melissas mother remarried an old Cuban acquaintance when Melissa was 12 years old, and the family moved to southeast Florida. Soon after, Melissa was enrolled in the 7th grade at a private Catholic school that had only one class per grade level and small class sizes. During her 7th and 8thCareer Aspiration grade years, Melissas mother was able to be a stay at home mom and was able to serve as a field trip chaperone and participate in the school in other ways. For high school, Melissa and her parents decided on a private Catholic school in an affluent area, which required a thirty minute ride to and from school. While a few of the teachers were nuns, priests, and male, the majority were White, middle upper class females. Melissa had aspired to be a pediatrician because I wanted to wor k with children, so she majored in chemistry. After the first semester, Melissa rethought this decision due to the challenging coursework. She had been working at Baby Gator, an oncampus childcare center, as she qualified for the work study financial aid program, and she thought teaching would also meet her goal of working with kids. She decided to change her major to education.
164 Higher Education Melissa was the first in m y family to go to college. S he chose to attend UF and designated her major as chemistry. However, she changed it to education after experiencing difficulty with chemistry courses. Early in the ProTeach Program, she selected literacy as her professional specialization after taking a required childrens literature course. While at UF, she studied abroad in Spain, really for the adventure, and took Spanish. Knowing that she wanted to teach near her home in South Florida, Melissa did her student teaching there at what she described as a migrant school. Thus, many of her student s were ELLs. She graduated with her Master of Education degree in 2003. Recently, she completed coursework to get Educational Leadership certification. Upon graduation with her teaching degree, Melis a accepted at position with Ocean County Public schools in southeastern Florida Melissa had taught for five years in a Title 1 sch ool in the district. Melissa had accepted the position of ESOL and Dual Language Programs Coordinator in 20082009 in hopes that it would help her gain experience to be hired as an assistant principal. The district, school, and classroom contexts when she was a teacher are presented next. District Context Melissa was employed by the same school district where Julie obtained employment. Since information was previously presented, it will not be repeated here. Please refer to pages 141 to 142 to review data about Ocean County Public Schools. School Context Melissa accepted a fourthgrade teaching position at a large Title I elementary school with approximately 1,000 students in southeastern Florida upon graduation in
165 2003. The population of the school during her first year of teaching was 44.8% Hispanic, 15.6% Black, and 30.6% White with 61.2% of students classified as economically disadvantaged and 36.5% eligible for ESOL servi ces; only 1.4% were migrant students ( FDOE, 2005a). The class photos that Melissa showed me on the wall in her office documented the demographic shift during her five years at the school with a decrease in white and Hispanic subgroups and an over 5% incre ase in black students, including Haitians (FDOE, 2010 b ) During these five years, the schools grade progressively changed from a C in 20032004 to an A, which it has maintained. At Melissas school, begin ning to intermediate level ( intensive) ELLs were pulled out during the 90minute reading block by the schools ESOL teacher while more advanced ( support ) ELLs stayed in her classroom the full day Melissa said that her intensive ELLs did not want to go with the ESOL teacher because they wanted to participate in the classroom language arts activities, such as Readers Theatre. Because of this, Melissa included the ELLs in her language arts activities to the extent possible and that they essentially did her assignments as well as the ESOL teachers by choice. In the 2007 2008 school year the school implemented clustering of ELLs in which they were assigned to one or more classrooms per grade level. This was done to alleviate scheduling difficulties by the pullout ESOL teacher who met with intensive ELLs daily for language arts through ESOL instruction. Clustering also decreased the number of teachers who would be targeted to take professional development coursework for their ESOL endorsements because ELLs would be place in f ewer classrooms, usually with teachers who already held ESOL credentials.
166 In the five years that Melissa was at the school, there were three or four different ESOL teachers. Melissa was concerned about the lack of consistency from year to year with the ES OL teacher turnover and found that these teachers were weak. She felt that most of these teachers work[ed] better with smaller groups than a bigger group. Just management and being organized is easier to handle in a smaller group. Melissa stated that t he year bef ore she transferred to another school, teachers asked that the principal to assign a teacher whose students had made large achievement gains to the ESOL teacher position, believing ELLs needed effective teachers. The principal agreed to do th is. This teacher had graduated from an ESOLinfused teacher education program at a Florida university and, thus, had an ESOL endorsement. While teaching at the school, Melissa noticed a lot of teachers dont take ownership [of ELLs]. They dont consider them their kids. Instead, these teachers thought that the education of ELLs was the responsibility of the ESOL teacher. Melissa said that she had even seen some teachers stick ELLs on computers when they came back [from ESOL pullout]. She found admi nistrators to be neutral about ELLs, having heard them make no comments one way or another about this group. Classroom Context Melissa taught fourth grade for two years and then looped, continuing to be their teacher for their fifth grade. She continued teaching at the fifth grade level f or three more years, making her teaching experience two years as a fourth grade teacher and three years as a fifth grade teacher. During her last two years at the school, she served as the School Advisory Council chairperson and took on other leadership duties. She was also a top finalist for the districts Hispanic Teacher of the Year recognition.
167 During her years as a teacher, about onefourth of her students were ELLs from beginning levels ( intensive ) to advanced levels ( support .) The class size ranged from 21 to 28 students. The final year she taught, Melissa did not have an ELL until March because the ESOL cluster classroom teacher went on medical leave and her students were divided between Melissa and the other fi fth grade teachers. Roles, Responsibilities, Challenges, and Demands in Teaching ELLs Melissa said, I truly knew as a classroom teacher that [ELLs] needed their accommodations, and I would give them that and give them extra time and modify their test i tems. However, it was not until Melissa became ESOL coordinator that she became awar e of a ll that w as behind the scenes all the paperwork, all the documentation, the parent notifications. She said that when she taught ELLs, teachers were just taken c are of [by the ESOL coordinator]. We were told, Sign here. Date here....And that would be it.I didnt know anything! To get to know her students, Melissa gave an assignment at beginning of year in which they were asked to bring in items about themselves and describe why they choose them to share. She believed that this allowed her to get to know their personalities and interests and use the information gained to guide her instruction throughout the year. Melissa said she never single out her ELLs. She was amazed by their motivation to learn and would have preferred that her intensive ELLs had not been pulled out because she thought that she could have better met their needs in her classroom. Melissa considered getting involvement and support from p arents of ELLs as a major challenge for her pointing out that in some countries it is not the norm for parents to support education at home. She perceived the knowledge and skills of parents could
168 be transferred to their children. She stated, If parent s had it, they could give it to their kids! In planning for and carrying out instruction, Melissa considered the levels of her ELLs, which the ESOL coordinator had provided her with at the beginning of the year. While she did not identify language objec tives, she felt her strength was in her ability to meet ELLs individual needs while holding them to the same standards as other students. For example, when she taught a science lesson on matter, she expected most students to master twelve vocabulary words. For some ELLs, she would adjust that to only four in which they could illustrate their meanings with drawings. In her present position as ESOL coordinator, teachers come to her frustrated about not knowing how to accommodate ELLs. Melissa found that making modifications for her EL Ls just came naturally to her; that is, she did not have to consciously think about what to do. Melissa confided that she felt bad when she spoke to some students in Spanish to help them understand because I know youre not supposed to do that! When I probed to find out why, she said that she thought she had been taught that during ProTeach. I explained that using the native language is an appropriate strategy, causing her to feel relieved that she was not doing something wrong. She commented that she just felt more approachable when students knew she could speak to them in Spanish. While Melissa said that she did not think about the time she spent in preparing for instruction of ELLs, considering it just a part of her job, she did wish that she had had more time to work with ELLs individually. With so many students in the class, however, she found this was not feasible.
169 Melissa documented ESOL strategies individual ly for each ELL every trimester, stating that I would have my ESOL students needs and then I would check off what accommodations and strategies I used with each kid. Most of the items on the checklist were marked by the end of this time period. She chose to type daily lessons, which she bound weekly with a cover sheet of her schedule, but did not specify any modifications or language objectives for her ELLs She was not observed by administrators about her teaching of ELLs. The Differences in Teaching ELLs When aske d about her perceptions about teaching ELLs compared to teaching nonELLs, Melissa responded, Im going to say its the same because to me teaching is teaching. When youre educating, it doesnt matter --who, what, when, where, how. I feel like I am a full heart educator, and if you give me what I need, give me the materials I need, I can teach anyone.Im a teacher; Im an educatorI adapt, and I think its the same. Teaching is teaching! Table 45 lists the similarities and differences she mentioned during the interviews. As with other t each ers who stressed that there were no differences in teaching ELLs, Melissa contradicted her stance in answers to other interview questions. Table 45 Solano: Similarities and differences between ELLs and nonELLs Similarities Differences Individual differences (learning styles, ability levels, and personality) ESOL strategies useful for all Second l anguage acquisition affected by individual differences May need assignments modified, such as length of writing Can meet same standards Requires more teacher time (instruction and documentation) Benefit from individual instruction Highly motivated to learn Advanced level may still have difficulty with science and social studies Parents may not be as involved/supportive Homeroom teacher may not take ownership of ELL education
170 Melissa believed that ESOL strategies were good for ELLs as well as for all students though sometimes teachers, including herself, tend to get maybe a little bit lazier when it comes to general education kids, and you dont want to use the strategies. ESOL strategies work with ESE kids, they work with general education kids, they work with everybody. We tend to get a little bit lazy and dont want to do the extra work. In other words, she felt obligated to implement strategies for ELLs but sometimes did n ot take the time to use them with other students Melissa, like other teachers interviewed, believed that more proficient ELLs needed little scaffolding, though, in her experience, she observed that they might still have problems with academic language as shown in her comments below: With the kids that were pretty much done with the [ESOL] program and on support, they were pretty much no different than the other kids in how they learned, behavior, and everything else, except, you know, I noticed as their teacher that at times they would struggle with certain [academic] things. She observed that some of her more proficient ELLs usua lly had problems with science and social studies content rather than with reading comprehension. Melissa observed that second language acquisition was affected by individual differences. She talked about one beginner ELL who was very shy and would not talk in front of other students. The student communicated with Melissa by whispering in Spanish. Melissa felt lucky that she spoke Spanish because it allowed her to understand the child. She had another ELL that was new to the country yet quite outgoing participating to the extent possible in presentations and project. She was surprised by how many of her students did not have a silent period and took risks. In addition, she was surprised how quickly ELLs made gains in their English proficiency.
171 She believed that this might have been due to the safe environment she had established in her classroom. Another difference between ELLs and nonELLs that Melissa had noticed was the motivation of ELLs as demonstr ated in the following quote: I was amazed at how much they wanted to learn and how they were willing to do extra things just to be a part of what was going on in their homeroom.I was really amazed at the fact that they tried so hard, and it was like that with almost all of them.I cant think of one[who wasnt] willing to go above and beyond. Supports and Constraints While Melissas school had an ESOL coordinator, she felt like the coordinator was not an adequate ESOL resource. Melissa said she felt unprepared to teach ELLs as a teacher and found out how little she knew once she became ESOL coordinator. Because of this, she developed an informational folder for teachers, which she titled Everything You Wanted to Know about ESOL and More, which contained the Consent Decree (1990), tips on lesson pl anning, stages of English proficiency, and other information. She regularly communicated with teachers so that they could better understand and meet the needs of ELLs as well as know about the ends and outs of the program. She said, The teachers really need to be informed, they really need to know whats going on and where these kids stand, and I feel like thats my number one priority and thats why I made those folders. T he teachers need to know, they need to know whats going on and what to do for these kids. While teaching, Melissas school not only had the ESOL coordinator to manage the large ESOL program there, but they also had a dedicated ESOL guidance counselor and three bilingual paraprofessionals, which were referred to as language facilitator s. Two were Spanish speakers and one spoke Haitian Creole. The Haitian Creole
172 language facilitator came to Melissas classroom twice weekly during math the year that she had a Haitian ELL. A Spanish language facilitator visited her classroom more freque ntly to assist with Spanishspeaking ELLs under Melissas direction. Like the other teachers, no professional development activities were provided to help teachers become more effective teachers of ELLs. In addition, Melissa was not observed specifically about her teaching of ELLs so was not provided any feedback. Her administrators never discussed teaching ELLs. Melissa met their expectations simply by documenting ESOL strat egies, which they did not look at. Some of her colleagues expressed negative at titudes toward ELLs and did not assume respo nsibility for their education, so Melissa did not consider them as resources. Because some parents of ELLs did not become involved in their childrens education, Melissa spent time trying to inform them of the ex pectations in American schools that parents ensure their children complete homework and attend conferences and other school functions. She believed that greater parental educational support would have positive effects on the achievement of ELLs in her classroom. While the other teachers mentioned pressure from accountability measures, Melissa did not mention this as a constraint. In fact, she did not mention it at all. Perhaps it was because her focus had changed since she had left the classroom. Future Plans Melissas career aspiration was to be an assistant principal within the next five years. She said, I dont know if I want to be a principal. She stated that she definitely does not want to be a district administrator because she wanted to be around kids. She found that she missed being with children at the beginni ng of the 2008 2009 school year when she assumed the ESOL coordinator position. Since then she has gotten to
173 know many of the students at the school who speak to her in the hallways and classrooms, which makes her feel content. In summary, Melissa was a nurturing teacher who created a positive environment for ELLs in her classroom. She included ELLs that were pulled out for language arts into language arts activities in her classroo m because of their desire to be members of the class. Melissa perceived teaching ELLs as being similar to teaching other students saying teaching is teaching. In contradiction, she said that she provided differentiated instruction for ELLs based on t heir linguistic needs. She did not modify instruction for her more proficient ELLs unless she noticed that they were having difficulty with academic language. Melissa stated that she did not feel prepared to teach ELLs and learned about what she did not know when she took on the role of ESOL coordinator. However, she spoke of naturally providing comprehensible instruction to her ELLs prior to her becoming ESOL coordinator. Individual Profile Summary Individual profiles of each of the five participants in this study have been presented. To review, all of the participants in this study graduated from the ProTeach Program, considered themselves to be middle class, and had experience teaching elementary aged ELLs in large districts in Florida that have hig h immigrant populations. Participants differ s not only by ethnicity, proficiency in two languages, grades taught, and professional specialization but also by their schooling with four of the five attending private schools at least for part of their K 12 education. Participants perceived teacher roles, responsibilities, challenges, demands, support, and constraints in teaching ELLs in elementary classrooms were re presented, often through using the participant s own words. Each participant was bounded in what
174 they did in their classrooms by their perceptions about what their ELLs needed (usually based on their oral English proficiency level s), their sense of self confidence in teaching ELLs, and district and school contexts. Findings across participants are presented next. Cross Profile Findings F indings are reported using themes tha t emerged during data analysis to teachers perceptions of their experiences teaching ELLs in their mainstream elementary classrooms. Table 46 below provides demographics for the four school districts where the partic ipants taught. Table 46 School district demographics School District Total Population ELL U.S. Size Rank Economically Disadvantaged Megans District, Seaside County Public Schools 256,186 9.9% 6th 47.82% Laurens District, Everglades County Public Schools 344,913 15.2% 4th 63.42% Christinas District, Forest County Public Schools 172,028 19.4% 10th 48.55% Julies & Melissas District, Oceanside County Public Schools 170,745 10.2% 12th 44.13% As shown in the table, these districts rank in the top 12 largest districts in the United States. Table 4 7 provides school and classroom context ual factors for each participant Tabl e 4 7 School and classroom contexts Teacher ESOL support ELL levels in classroom Language(s) in classroom Megan Barret t None All levels Spanish by students Julie OBrien ESOL teacher in class All levels Spanish by students; Limited Spanish by teacher Lauren Perez Cruz None Higher proficiency English only Christina Marino None Higher proficiency English only Melissa Solano Pullout of lower proficiency for language arts All levels Some Spanish by teacher and students
175 The order of presentation that follows is: (1) roles and responsibilities; (2) challenges and demands; (3) constraints and supports. Some data from one category overlaps to another. Embedded in the discussion for each topic is a comparison of the experiences and perceptions of Julie and Lauren, who specialized in ESOL, to those of other participants. Roles and Responsibilities Teachers in t his study had certain roles that were imposed on them because they had ELLs in the classroom and others that they took on themselves. Three themes emerged from the data analysis of the five teachers interviews and artifacts about their perceived roles and responsibilities. The roles identified were teacher as: (a) instructor, (b) secretary, and (c) nurturer. In the sections that follow, these roles and accompanying responsibilities are discussed and illustrated with examples and comments shared by the p articipants. Instructor These participants indicated that their primary role was to be a teacher to all of their students in their classrooms. A responsibility of this teacher role was to address the teaching and learning of ELLs in their classrooms. Four of the five teachers stated that they considered teaching ELLs to be the same as teaching other students because the strategies that had been identified as ESOL strategies in their college courses and on their ESOL strategy sheets that they referred to w hen documenting how they made instruction comprehensible to ELLs were strategies that they believed were good for all students. Participants indicated that they used the reported proficiency levels of ELLs, which had been provided to them by their ESOL co ordinators at the beginning of the year as a guide in determining modifications. In addition, they used their own
176 observations of ELLs language use and performance on class assignments to determine their need for modifications. Planning for instruction for ELLs Not all teachers reflected about how to make instruction comprehensible and how to modify activities for ELLs during planning. None indicated they considered the cultural background or prior knowledge of ELLs. Both Lauren and Megan said that they did not think about their ELLs during planning. Both also believed that the strategies that are considered ESOL strategies are part of the repertoire that they normally used. Megan said: I know a lot of what I do benefits [ELLs]. I make up songs for mat h, and I know it helps them, and it also helps the other students.Like Ill do the graphs. Ill do the pictures. A lot of the things that are ESOL strategies Ill do helps everybody. So I just do it, so I dont really sit there and think. For example, Lauren referred to using visuals and demonstrating her activity instructions as just kindergarten in my opinion. Though Christina and Melissa also believed that teaching ELLs was the same as teaching nonELLs, they did make instructional decisions for ELLs during planning, though Melissa said that you would not see anything related to this in the lesson plans that sh e typed up. Like Lauren, Christina had higher proficiency ELLs in her classroom but thought it was necessary to plan for them. Julie and Melissa had support and intensive ELLs in their classrooms. All teachers indicated that they planned and prepared more when they had lower proficiency ELLs. Megan spoke of asking for additional resources for her beginners, such as lower level books and a language master.
177 Both Julie and Melissa mentioned that you must know the proficiency levels of your ELLs. In fact, Melissa said that she started with what their level was when planning. Julie and Melissa also were aware that students that were proficient in social language need support with academic language. Julie said of her support students, theyve built up a lot of that conversational language but their academics are still lacking. Though Melissa said that she used what she found out about students in the sharing activity at the beginning of the school year and Christina spoke about making connections to cul tural backgrounds when a culture was mentioned in a lesson, no teacher considered culture when planning neither affirming students cultures nor teaching them about American culture. None of the teachers planned language objectives for their ELLs. They commented that their lesson plans are not the detailed plans that they had to write for ProTeach classes during their internships. Christina and Julie indicated that they did think about the language they would teach to ELLs. They, along with Melissa, sh ared that while they lacked putting details in their actual lesson plans, they automatically included certain strategies and modifications while carrying out instruction. Providing instruction to ELLs Teachers identified strategies that they routinely us ed for ELLs. They included the use of visuals, graphic organizers, repetition, demonstrations, modifying assignments, small groups, and oneto one instruction. As mentioned previously, teachers found that more proficient students required little, if any, strategies and modifications while less proficient ELLs required more, including the use of supplemental resources such as lower level reading materials. Lauren, who had only support ELLs in her classroom,
178 mentioned that if I had a self contained classr oom, I would have changed things a little bit. I would have used shorter phrases and repeated directions more. All teachers used small group and individual instruction. Christina usually groups students based on needs. Most of her ELLs were in her low est language arts group. However, she also stated that I have some ESOL students that are amazing and wonderful and I work with them last, because I work from the lowest to the highest. While shes meeting with a small group of first graders, the other students are with either their learning buddies or learning groups. She commented: What's surprising is that when you have an ELL and they're pai red with someone who is dominant in the lesson or dominant in the language, they pick up so much quicker. I t's really amazing to see how a peer buddy can be more beneficial to their language than a teacher can. It's like their little peer buddy is actually teaching them, and it's amazing how quickly they pick things up. Megan, too, found that pairing her ELLs w ith a buddy has benefits Im always pairing them up with a buddy. Its really helpful for them! Both Julie and Megan shared that they felt justified to spend oneto one time with ELLs. Julie said that its usually those ESOL kids that I am really spending the most time with, because I know that they need that language. Megan said that because [a student is] ESOL I feel like I can [spend individual time] with her and help her understand. Melissa and Christina both wished for additional time in their busy days to devote to ELLs. While all teachers were aware of specific ESOL strategies and used them routinely believing that they were beneficial to all students, some thought the mere use of ESOL strategies met ELLs needs. For example, Megan said, I f I were to do a graphic organizer, Id do it with the whole class hoping it would help the ELLs in some ways but
179 in different ways help the other students. She did not differentiate the use of a graphic organizer among ELLs and other students. This is reminiscent of a comment made by Julie about how some teachers at her school believed simply using particular methods and strategies met ELL needs because workshop facilitators would make comments, such as this method is a good way to get the ELLs up, rea ding, and build their confidence. Both Julie (who had specialized in ESOL) and Melissa spoke about the hows and whys of ESOL strategies. For example, Melissa talked of requiring lower proficiency ELLs to only learn four science terms instead of the 12 she required of other students, saying that the demand of knowing all of them would be just too great. She saw her strength as a teacher of ELLs was holding them to the same standards through her modifications. Julie lessened the writing for her intensi ve ELLs and gave them booklets to write in so that they would not be overwhelmed by a blank page and would be more successful writing a few sentences rather than a few paragraphs while receiving scaffolding from her. Teachers varied with the use of Spanish in their classrooms. Christina said that teachers were not allowed to use Spanish at her school. Though she was fluent in Spanish and spoke to parents in the language, she did all instruction in English. Lauren was adamant that English was the only language in her classroom, telling students when she heard them talking in Spanish, You need to practice your English. You have to! Christina said she felt that school was often the only place for ELLs to have exposure to English and saw proficiency in En glish as required for success in school. Melissa said she used Spanish as a way to better instruction comprehension and to
180 make her beginner ELLs feel more comfortable. She spoke Spanish in the classroom though she thought at the time of the interview that it was a strategy that was unsupported by research. Both Megan and Julie sometimes grouped Spanish speakers together so that they could communicate in Spanish to aid in their understanding and expression. All teachers felt responsible for the academic achievement of their ELLs. In addition, they knew they had the responsibility of developing their English. The emphasis on academics versus language development, however, differed from one teacher to another. For example, Julie, the ESOL specialist, foc used on language as well as on language arts skills. Lauren, another ESOL specialist, believed that a natural part of kindergarten was the development of language and literacy skills. Megan let beginner ELLs use the language master to learn English vocabulary words. Melissa tended to teach English through academic content. In addition to the role of instructor that teachers had for ELLs, they were also responsible for completing certain paperwork and documentation. Their role of secretary is discussed next. Secretary For the purpose of this study, the term secretary refers to someone who performs clerical work and maintains records in order to comply with bureaucratic requirements of accountability as set forth by the Florida Consent Decree (League of Nation, 1990) and by the local educational system As with other special programs in schools, the ESOL Program in Florida involves much paperwork and documentation. For example, data elements have to be reported to FDOE for each ELL. The Data Eleme nts Handbook is provided to districts to explain the various data elements. This
181 includes such elements as ESOL program eligibility date, entry date, exit date, test date, test scores, and test name. Each ELL also has to have an annual ELL plan that co ntains the student schedule, number of minutes in language arts, and other information. For any ELL Committee meetings, minutes are supposed to be kept of the proceedings and recommendations. In this section, the responsibilities that teachers do and do not have related to completing paperwork, documenting strategies, and providing homeschool communication will be described. Paperwork tasks For all the teachers in this study except Christina, the completion of ELLrelated paperwork, other than dating and signing forms they were provided with by their ESOL coordinator, was practically nonexistent. Melissa said, We were just t aken care of. We were told sign here. D ate here.I would add a little extra data or couple of lines there, comments, but that would be it In Florida, former ELLs who were exited from the program for less than two years have to be monitored periodically to ensure that they are achieving academically. The teachers in this study were rarely involved in this process. Julie assumed that the ESOL coordinator just pulled the grades from the computer. She recalled, I know last year I had to send in a writing sample for them, but that was it. So whatever other documentation shes doing, I dont know. Christina, who worked in another district, was responsible for the monitoring of her the former ELLs in her classroom. Christina was the sole participant in the study that had to complete timeconsuming paperwork (as well as being the only participant who had called and attended ELL Comm ittee meetings about some of her ELLs and was familiar with the schools required Parent Leadership Council for parents of ELLs). Her district required
182 that teachers of ELLs complete a tenpage checklist about each childs language arts standard mastery i n addition to monitoring documents about former ELLs. She found this very time consuming and a reason that teachers did not want to have ELLs or teach self contained ELL classes. What was most frustrating to her was that these forms were just stuck in the folders of ELLs and were rarely, if at all, examined. ESOL strategy documentation One task that all teachers completed was the documentation of ESOL strategies. Julie indicated that she really did not have to document since the ESOL teacher came to her language arts blocks that had ELLs and was technically responsible for doing this. However, the ESOL teacher was weak to the extent that Julie did all of the planning and told her what to do. Therefore, Julie felt responsible for documenting the strate gies that she used with ELLs. How teachers documented strategies varied from listing codes from a master strategy sheet daily in the plan book, like Megan, to completing a checklist every trimester for individual students, like Melissa. While some administrators checked this documentation, others did not. Megan said, I know they want to see them, and I know thats more for legal purposes so nobody can [claim we arent doing what we should]. Lauren said that her administrators did not check to make sure teachers documented strategies but I keep myself checked. Home school communication The teachers in this study routinely wrote newsletters and other communications to send home to parents. A Consent Decree ( LEAGUE OF UNITED 1990) requirement is that communication must be in the first language of the parents or guardians, whenever feasible. Feasibility is determined by the number of speakers of a specific
183 language in a school. For the schools in this study, a feasible lang uage was Spanish. Therefore, teachers were required to send communications to Spanishspeaking parents or guardians in Spanish. To meet this mandate, schools provided translators for teachers who could not write in Spanish. Julie explained, Our school requires that everything is sent home in English and Spanish, at least, s o we have two language facilitators who we turn things in to. T heyll translate our newsletters and stuff for us. This required that she had newsletters and other documents prepared in advance to allow time for them to be translated. These findings dispel the myth that Lauren said some teachers believed at her school: S ome teachers think that [theres a lot of paperwork]. In reality, Everythings done for us.[The ESOL chairper sons] do everything for us. Theres really no extra paperwork. This statement applied to all teachers in this study except Christina who had to complete the lengthy checklist for each ELL. Nurturer In this study, nurturer refers to someone who expresses compassion interest, and guidance to students in order to create an environment that is conducive to sense of well being, acceptance, and cognitive and affective development. Teachers in this study created positive environments in their classrooms and established positive relationships with their ELLs They nurtured their ELLs by giving them individual attention and by holding positive dispositions. Individual attention All the teachers spoke of giving ELLs individual attention and some wished that the y had had time to do it more. Lauren spoke of working with her only beginner when she taught second grade at the charter school during her first year of teaching. She
184 found working with her enjoyable and spent more time than I thought I would with her. According to Lauren, the student made rapid gains in her acquisition of English. Positive dispositions Teachers exhibited compassion and interest in ELLs. Both Megan and Julie perceived that their ELLs were their best behaved students. Christina spoke of how she enjoyed the stories that her ELLs told and of their excitement at sharing what they had done at home. Melissa said, I cant think of one in my head thats not willing to go above and beyond. Megan was sympathetic to the circumstances of some ELLs. I know its got to be really hard for some of them, and I cant even imagine going to a new school, let alone a new country, learning a new language. She said that her strength was that I really just care for these children...and want them to s ucceed. In summary, the roles that the five participants undertook as teachers of ELLs were: (a) instructor, (b) secretary, and (c) nurturer. While these were roles that emerged from data across participants, how each role was carried out was affected by the perceptions of each teacher as well as contextual factors. While two of the teachers (Julie and Lauren) had specialized in ESOL during ProTeach, their perceptions and beliefs regarding their roles and responsibilities were for the most part similar to the other teachers. An important distinction about Julies understanding about teaching ELLs was that they have needs based on their linguistic and cultural diversity, factors that should be taken into account when planning and implementing instructio n. The next section will discuss themes that emerged from teacher talk and other data sources about the challenges and demands participants experienced as teachers of ELLs.
185 Challenges and Demands Teachers voiced both challenges and demands. Some of them overlap with role and responsibility themes and categories. While participants did not complain about some of their challenges and demands, their frustrations were apparent about others. The common themes that were identified during data analysis were: (a) parental support and involvement, (b) time, (c) educational mandates, and (d) meeting the needs of diverse learners. Each of these themes is discussed next. Parental Support and Involvement One of the biggest demands and challenges that teachers exper ienced was parental involvement and support in their childrens educationor lack of it for Julie, Christina, and Melissa. Some parents did not help with homework. In addition, communication could be difficult between teacher and parent. Melissas experience was similar to that of Julie and Christina. The only place where [ELLs] were getting English was at school, and then they would go home and would not get that extra support for homework not even, Let me look at your homework. Some came from count ries where it wasnt the norm [to help at home] or schooling wasnt possible at times.I felt that I was teaching them alone. You would call and ask them and give them things to do but they didnt have the language. Christinas frustration was apparent in her words and nonverbal communication when she said: I went to the parents with issues and data that the child wasnt learning and they still didnt understand. It wasnt all of the parents. I had some high kids and the parents were wonderful. Id give out homework and theyd do their homework. And some others would go home and not do anything and Id have to teach it all over again. Julie understood about the lack of support and involvement of some of her ELL parents but still wished students had it.
186 For a lot of my ESOL students, their parents know that education is important and they enforce that but for several different reasons maybe theyre not necessarily actually able to support their students.A lot of my ESOL parents are working multipl e jobs, so theyre not even home with the kids, or they dont speak any English at all so helping with the English homework and writing in English, you know, they cant do that. Or theyre not literate on their first language either. Lauren said that her ELLs managed to get their homework doneI dont know how and did not mention any problems she had with parents. However, she said that she did not want to be an ESOL teacher, giving as the reason, Its the parents. I do speak Spanish but according to t he other teachers, its hard communicating with the parents. In addition, she wondered if some ELLs who had been in the bilingual prekindergarten were behind academically because their parents did not provide educational support at home. She said that s he believed there was a correlation. Although Megan, the only teacher at a nonTitle 1 school, did not experience lack of parental involvement, she had to counsel ELL parents who were upset and concerned about the difficulties their children were having because of their lack of familiarity with English and the culture. Megan said, Id like to help the parents. Theyre confused, I mean, Ive had parents that have come crying to me because of what their kids say. [A parent will say,] Shes trying so hard, and I just want her to do well.So I can see where theyre at, where the parents are at, where the kids are at. If I can help them in any way I would love to help them. Parental support and involvement posed challenges and demands for most of the teachers. Megans issue was likely different from Melissas, Julies, and Christinas as her parents were typically well educated. Time as an Obstacle Although most participants indicated that teaching ELLs was the same as teaching other students, they contradicted themselves when they described modifications
187 specifically for them and mentioned that teaching and learning of ELLs took teacher time. Christina described herself as being super busy, in part, due to her having ELLs in her classroom. The cat egories of the time theme: (1) time spent planning and preparing for instruction; (2) time spent on instructional tasks; and (3) time spent for documentation and other paperwork. The amount of time spent on planning and preparing for instruction specifical ly geared to ELL needs varied from teacher to teacher. For Lauren, the fact that she taught kindergarten was a factor. She said that the use of what are considered ESOL strategies were a routine part of her kindergarten instruction. However, when she ha d a beginner ELL when she taught second grade, she spent time gathering resources, such as lower level reading material. While Megan, who had only two ELLs who were at higher English proficiency levels the year of the interview said she did think about E LLs when planning, she recalled having to pullout extra stuff for [beginners] daily when she had lower proficiency ones in prior years. Julie, Christina, and Melissa all spent time planning for ELL instruction, considering proficiency levels. Christi na, like Megan, had higher proficiency ELLs, but she still thought it necessary to plan for them. While all of the teachers put students into small groups, only Julie and Christina spoke of taking proficiency levels of their ELLs into consideration while spending time making decisions about the makeup of the groups. Providing instruction to ELLs also took extra time. No teachers complained about this. Both Megan and Julie shared that they felt justified in doing so since these students had special needs. Melissa thought her weakness was that there was not enough time to work with ELLs individually with so many in the class. This was related
188 to there being a curriculum to be covered, which will be discussed in the educational mandates section that foll ows. While bilingual paraprofessionals assisted students in the classroom and sometimes made copies for the teachers, they were under the supervision of the teachers. Teachers had to plan tasks for them to complete and communicate them to the paraprof essionals, which also took time. For all but Christina, having ELLs did not meaning having much extra paperwork. None of the teachers complained about the time that they spent on documenting ESOL strategies. They just had to sign, date, and perhaps write a few comments on forms that the schools ESOL contacts provided them. In contrast, Christina had to complete a ten page checklist for each ELL by the end of the year. She indicated this was very time consuming. It was evident from her tone that she fou nd this task frustrating especially since the completed checklists just got stuck into ELLs special folders. Educational Mandates Teachers felt the pressure of educational mandates from federal, state, district, and schools levels. All but Melissa, who w as no longer teaching, and Lauren, whose kindergarteners were not assessed in the statewide assessment program, voiced the demands, challenges, and frustrations that they felt. For example, Christina said the powers that be had unrealistic expectations of ELLs. She voiced concerns that ELLs were being compared against native English speakers and that she was being compared with teachers who did not have ELLs. Julie was forced to adhere to a defined scope and sequence and was observed to make sure that she was doing so. Having specialized in ESOL, she felt quite prepared to teach ELLs and knew that they could not be rushed to learn English or academic
189 content. They needed time to learn just as she needed time to teach. She said, My p rincipal is bilingual, she speaks Spanish and English, but I dont really know that she understands what these students need to learn. She continued in saying that The only thing that my administrator h as judged me by is the scores. I f my scores arent good, you know? S o what do I have to do to get their scores good? Meeting the Needs of Diverse Learners The purpose of inclusion is to put students with diverse backgrounds and needs together in the same classroom. It is supposed to benefit ELLs because it gives them exposure to native English speakers and to the same academic content. Most of the teachers spoke of the demands of having students with so many different levels and backgrounds in the same classroom. For example, Julie perceived her struggle to be due to the demands of meeting the needs of 20 students with a wide range of proficiency and ability levels. Megan believed that she did not always door know enough to meet ELLs needs. I try to do the best I can with what I have, [but] I dont feel like I was reaching them [low proficiency ELLs from years past] the best that I could. She would prefer that ELLs be placed in self contained or pullout classes. Both Lauren and Melissa thought that it would be better if ELLs at their grade levels had been placed in their classrooms rather than in self contained or bilingual classrooms. However, Lauren only wanted a few ELLs. She said, I think if I had two or three ESOL levels one and two [beginners], I could help them with their English. I could give them the strategies, andthey would pick up the language much easier. Though she felt prepared to teach ELLs, she said, The only hard thing is trying to teach ELLs and nonELLs at the same time. It is a balancing act!
190 In summary, having ELLs in the clas sroom put some extra challenges and demands on the teachers in this study. The challenges and demands that teachers spoke of were: ( 1) parental support and involvement; (2) time; (3) educational mandates; and (4) meeting the needs of diverse learners. Ch ristinas shared the following sentiment, which is a good ending to this section: The kids are never the proble m. It's everything around them. The final section of findings is about supports and constraints the teachers had experienced. Both the two participants (Julie and Lauren) who had specialized in ESOL during ProTeach identified the same challenges and demands as the others who had specialized in something else. A difference in Julie and Lauren was their self efficacy about teaching ELLs. Supports and Constraints The teachers were asked directly about what they perceived to be supports in their teaching of ELLs in the mainstream as well as constraints. Themes and categories were identified in their responses to these questions as well as to other questions. Some of the themes and categories overlap the previous sections about roles and responsibilities and challenges and demands. The presentation will begin with the topic of supports. Supports Schools had some supports in place to alleviate th e demands that having ELLs could potentially place on the teacher. These included the provision of ESOL coordinators and bilingual paraprofessionals.
191 ESOL coordinator An important support that greatly reduced the amount of paperwork that the teachers potentially could have had was the provision of ESOL coordinators at the schools. These persons completed the required data elements and ELL plan for each child and maintained ELL folders. Teachers typically only had to sign and date documents. As Lauren indicated, Everythings done for us Melissa realized that this came at a cost once she became an ESOL coordinator. I knew nothing! she exclaimed. Once she became aware of what she did not know regarding such things as ESOL entry, exit, and monitoring procedures as well as what English proficiency levels indicated about ELLs, she believed that she would have done a better job as a teacher. This led her to put together a folder of information for teachers at her school and be available to help some of t hem who felt frustrated at not knowing how to modify instruction. Bilingual paraprofessionals Another support that all teachers had (except for Julie during the year of the interview since she taught language arts and had an ESOL teacher come in) was bilin gual paraprofessionals. This was a requirement of the Florida Consent Decree (1990). At some schools, the paraprofessional did not only help to make instruction comprehensible, they also served as translators. Constraints While the teachers were supporte d in some ways, they had a greater number of constraining factors. The data analysis identified the following as constraints in the participants teaching ELLs: (1) lack of time to plan and carry out instruction specifically
192 designed for ELLs; (2) unskilled colleagues; (3) limited parental educational support for some ELLs; and (4) lack of autonomy due to educational policies Time to meet ELLs needs Teachers spoke of time being a constraint to them. Some participants wished that they had additional time to spend with ELLs but felt pressured to cover the curriculum. Others did spend extra time with ELLs because they believed they were justified to do so based on the special needs of ELLs. While time to plan for and implement instruction did take up participants time, none complained about it. Instead, they considered this as part of their jobs. Unskilled colleagues Potential resources were colleagues; however, the participants in this study described many of their colleagues as lacking in knowledge and skills as well as positive dispositions toward ELLs. Melissa said that she noticed a lot of her colleagues did not take ownership of ELLs because they considered the education of ELLs to be the ESOL teachers responsibility. Some research lends credibility to her perception (e.g., Constantino, 1994; Harklau, 2000; Mohr, 2004; Penfield, 1987). Some participants mentioned that they had opportunities to talk about any issues and offer advice during team meetings and other times. However, as Megan pointed out, they were not experts in the field. They were only giving advice based on what had worked for them. Julie suggested that maybe there was a l ack of accountability as a reason for other teachers not appropriately addressing the needs of ELLs. However, there was no accountability for the participants either as they had never been observed for the effectiveness of their instruction to ELLs. Som e administrators did not even check to see if ESOL strategies were documented.
193 Limited parental support and involvement As mentioned, parental support and involvement was seen by most participants as a major challengethe major challenge for Melissa. The lack of parental support and the illiteracy of some parents were perceived as constraints in that participants believed that their ELLs were unable to achieve as they could have if their parents were engaged in their educ ation. Participants realized that parents faced various barriers, such as lack of English proficiency and lack of transportation but still held the same expectations of them as middleclass parents. Lack of autonomy due to educational policies Most teachers expressed that their teaching was informed by educational policy They had to follow specific curricula, teach students test taking skills, administer practice, and actual statewide assessments. Following these requirements prevented participants from providing effective instruction to ELLs. For example, Julie did not have the option of spending additional time when ELLs did not understand concepts or have the English skills and vocabulary necessary to master standards. Thus, ELLs did not develop foundational skills that were required for future instruction and tasks. All but Melissa, who was no longer a mainstream classroom teacher at the time of the study, and Lauren, who taught kindergarteners and therefore did not participate in the statewide ass essment, voiced the pressure they felt for their students to do well. They worried about the performance of their ELLs and geared their instruction toward the test Megan, who taught at a school that served primarily students from middleto upper class families, expressed the least concern, realizing that her ELLs came from literate families. She had more autonomy and resources than the other teachers.
194 The number of constraints outweighed the number of supports. Constraining forces were the lack of tim e, knowledgeable and skilled colleagues, parental support and involvement by some parents, and lack of autonomy due to educational policies Supports came in the form of people ESOL coordinators and bilingual paraprofessionals. Julie and Lauren had the s ame constraints and supports as the other teachers who had not specialized in ESOL. This section concludes the presentation of findings about the participants experiences with the teaching and learning of ELLs in their mainstream elementary classrooms and their perceptions of those experiences. A summary of these are provided next. Summary Data across the five participants were explored about the teaching of ELLs in elementary classrooms located in large school districts. Themes and related categories we re discussed about their roles and responsibilities, their challenges and demands, and their supports and constraints. Three roles were identified. Participants served as: (1) instructors of ELLs; (2) secretaries who completed paperwork and documented ESO L strategies; and (3) nurturers who strived to create a positive class environment and to make ELLs for safe and comfortable. These roles applied to Julie and Lauren, who had specialized in ESOL, as well as the other teachers. The teachers shared the foll owing challenges and demands: (1) parental support and involvement; (2) time obstacles; (3) meeting educational mandates; and (4) meeting the needs of diverse learners. Julie and Lauren faced similar pressures as the other
195 teachers though especially Julie prepared to teach all ELLs, regardless of their English proficiency levels. Two sources of support were identified as well as four factors that functioned as constraints to all of the teachers. The supports were: (1) ESOL coordinators who prepared paperw ork and administered tests and (2) bilingual paraprofessionals who came to classrooms and assisted teachers. The constraints were: (1) inadequate time to plan and carry out instruction specifically designed for ELLs; (2) unskilled colleagues; (3) limited parental educational involvement and support for some ELLs; and (4) lack of autonomy due to educational policies Julie and Lauren had the same constraints and supports as the other teachers who had not specialized in ESOL.
196 CHAPTER 5 FINDINGS : PREPARIN G TO TEACH ELLS This chapter represents teachers perceptions on their experiences learning to teach ELLs during their five year ESOLinfused teacher education program. It also examines similarities and differences in participants between those who spec ialized in ESOL during their teacher preparation and those who did not. Specifically, it addresses the following research questions: What are ESOL prepared elementary teachers perceptions about their preservice teacher education experiences to teach ELLs in general education settings? a. What are teachers perceptions about ESOLrelated content and activities in their teacher education program? b. What are teachers perceptions about how their teacher education program could better address their actual experiences of teaching ELLs in elementary classrooms? How do the experiences and perceptions of teachers who specialized in ESOL during their ES OL infused teacher education program compare to those teachers who specialized in other areas? T able 51 below provides the years that teachers graduated from ProTeach and identifies their areas of specialization. Table 51. Participant ProTeach data Na me Year of Graduation Professional specialization Megan Barrett 2005 Childrens literature Julie OBrien 2006 ESOL Lauren Perez Cruz 2005 ESOL Christina Marino 2002 Integrated curriculum Melissa Solano 2003 Literacy
197 The five year, ESOLinfused Unified Elementary ProTeach Program at the UF provides its graduates with coursework that allows them to get ESOL credential upon successful completion. The ESOLinfused program in place requires that students complete one ESOL standalone course in their senior year and another in the fifth, masters year. ESOL standards should be infused into designated courses. Christina was a member of the first two cohorts who graduated with her masters degree from the ESOL infused ProTeach program in 2002. Melissa followed in August of 2003. Both Megan and Lauren graduated in 2005 while Julie is the most recent graduate participating in this study, having graduated in 2006. Both Lauren and Julie specialized in ESOL. Lauren admitted that she did so because she believed it would help her get a job in the school system in Miami since it has many ELLs. Julie specialized in ESOL because she found it both interesting and challenging as well as a calling for her future career. Although they both specialized in ESOL, neither Lauren nor Julie have been ESOL teachers and do not want to be as they prefer teaching in mainstream elementary classrooms. A limitation of this chapter, as well as other chapters, was that recollections and perceptions are based on memories. Teachers had lapses in their reminiscences about ESOL related ProTeach experiences. Megan admitted, I honestly dont even remember a lot of it; l ike I can remember some of it but not too much I dont remember a lot of what I did in college. She, like others, was anxious to graduate. While participants made good grades, some indicated that they put forth effort to actually learn what was taught.
198 What participants did recall and their perceptions of the utility of their teacher preparation to teach ELLs varied from individual to individual. During the interviews, each was asked about key experiences in their two required ESOL courses as well as specified courses in which ESOL standards were to be infused. In order to refresh their memories, asking them about specific tasks was resorted to. While some recalled activities after the prompts, they still could not remember exactly what the assignment entailed in some cases. Based on their lack of memory about some of these, it may be assumed that these assignments were not key experiences. ESOL Infused Courses Christina was in the first graduating class who completed ESOLinfused courses. She considered herself and other cohort members as guinea pigs. They were also the first gr oup to participate in the Unified ProTeach Program in which students had the opportunity to graduate with dual certificates in elementary education and special education along with meeting the requirements for their ESOL endorsement. Christina recalled the follow ing about ESOL infusion in her classes: I n every one of our classes there was always, at least when I was going through, there was always a little piece of O kay this is what you can do with ESOL kids or Do nt forget that you can do this. And it was the same thing about the kids with learning problems Christina remembered that the syllabi from these classes specifically mentioned ESOL objectives and assignments, such as how a lesson could be adjusted to help those students. Though the other teachers had graduated more recently than Christina, their recollections were not as strong. In fact, Lauren said that she did not remember anything! Melissa who graduated a year later than Christina, said about ESOL
199 infusion in her classes I really dont remember if [method course instructors] did or not. I dont remember it being a big push. Megan, who graduated in 2005, did not recall teachers making [ESOL] connections, or instructors specifying this strategy would be good for ELLs. In addition, she perceived, The things that we learned could be applied to ESOL students because the s trategies were the same. Julies recollections were similar to those of Melissa and Megan. They said that teaching diverse learners was a part of the curricula but did not recall content specific to teaching ELLs. I examined a few 2008 course syllabi that were available online and did not see ESOL standards included though reference was made to students from diverse backgrounds. In summary, all participants, except Christina who was a student during the first year ESOL infusion was implemented, did not recall content and activities specifically related to the teaching and learning of ELLs infused in their classes. My inspection of course syllabi substantiated their recollections. While some found objectives related to the teaching and learning o f diverse learners to be relevant to ESOL learners, it was unknown if they thought this only because they were taking an ESOL standalone course at the same time, had taken one previously, or were using hindsight from completing one afterwards. Next, teach er talk about their two standalone ESOL courses and their perspectives about the usefulness of some of the content and activities is presented. ESOL Stand Alone Course s As noted previously, the two ESOL standalone courses were offered toward the end of t he ProTeach program. Though most participants considered their ESOL standalone courses as helpful in them being able to teach ELLs, some contradicted
200 themselves by saying that they did not feel prepared to teach ELLs. For example, Megan said, W hen I ha d my ESOL class es and we were working with ESOL children, t hat really open ed my eyes [They helped me] know what to do with them. However, she said at a later point in an interview how she did not feel prepared and though that beginner ELLs would be bett er served by the use of ESOL pullout or self contained models. Lauren stated, I learned a lot of good strategies [in my ESOL classes] that I use with my class that werent really mentioned in my other classes based on her contention that ESOL strategies are good for all students. She said that she felt prepared to teach ELLs yet expressed dissatisfaction at the initial placement of a nonEnglish speaker into her class and contacted a friend to seek advice on how to teach her. Some teachers wished that th ey had taken the ESOL classes more seriously in hindsight. For example, Christina stated, I really dont think I saw the point until now because now I have that strong theory foundation. In addition, she commented: I know my ESOL classes w ere the hardest classes I took... [M y ] other classes were challenging too and kind of flowed better but I think that the ESOL classes challenged me. It was all like theory and theorists that kind of stick out in my mind and making posters and acting things out and doing the lessons and watching my classmates do the lessons .[I remember thinking,] M aybe I can do something like this in the classroom. She recalled that her ESOL classes were taught by ESOL professors. Melissa was an outlier in that she did not hold the ESOL standalone courses in high regard. After pointing out that she did not want to be negative and loved the ProTeach Program, she shared, ESOL [courses] were not the best classes I took. I didnt like them! Im not sure why. She wondered if the courses would have been
201 better if ESOL professors had actually taught the courses rather than teaching assistants. In addition, she did not like learning about theory and language structure but rather preferred application. Participants were asked to rec all key experiences in their ESOL standalone courses. Since participants had limited recollections of content and assignments on their own, they were prompted. Participants shared their perceptions about applied linguistics course content and about some of the required assignments, including field experiences, cultural self reflections, lesson planning, and conversation exchanges with adult international students. Lauren and Julie, who had both specialized in ESOL, could not always recall what course co ntent and activities were specific to the ESOL standalone courses and ESOL specialization courses. Therefore, they are not included as data sources for some of the topics presented subsequently. Second Language Acquisition Theory An important component of the ESOL stand alone courses was theory as it served as a foundation for providing appropriate instruction for ELLs at their English proficiency levels. One topic that was discussed in both ESOL standalone classes was prevailing second language acqui sition theory. Melissa said, I hated it all when I was learning it! However, she practiced it without thinking of it as theory [because it was] the right thing to do. She said that she was notified of the proficiency levels of her ELLs when she was teaching but did not credit her ESOL coursework with any understanding she had. Interestingly, she said during the second interview that her lack of knowledge of applied linguistics was a weakness and that she would like to learn more about it. Christina recalled that in ESOL standalone classes, instructors went over and over and over second language acquisition concepts and theories. Christina thought
202 that the theories she learned about and applied when doing assignments provided her with foundational knowledge to plan and implement effective instruction for ELLs She said, Y ou have the theory so you understand why you are doing it. Because of the repetition and application of second language acquisition content, she stated, I ts kind of like e mbedded in how I think When her school administrator announced the decision to limit recess to one day a week, Christina argued, N o K ids need that for their learning They are picking up [social] language Her principal was not persuaded as she thought additional instruction time was more beneficial. Megan said that she remembered learning about the stages of second language acquisition and found it had application in her teaching. She commented: I think I remember that more because Ive seen it with my students. I can see the different levels. I remember thoseIve applied that on my own, like indentifying where they are at and see what they need. If they are in the silent period, [I] back off and not try and push them as much but still tr y and get them to the point where they are comfortable to talk. Both Lauren and Julie both recalled learning about second language acquisition theory in the ESOL standalone courses as well as in the applied linguistics course they took as part of their ES OL specialization. Both have applied their related knowledge and skills as teachers and believe they have a thorough knowledge base. To review, all participants, except Melissa, found second language theory to be foundational and have applied it to thei r teaching. It cannot be determined the extent that the ESOL standalone courses built a knowledge base for Lauren and Julie since they had completed an applied linguistic course, which provided more depth and breadth about this subject.
203 Field Experiences Before sharing the participants perceptions of their field experiences, background about the context of ESOL field placements is provided. Elementary ProTeach students were assigned ESOL field placements in middle school, high school, elementary school, and adult classes because of the low number of ELLs in elementary schools. Some ProTeach students travelled to adjacent districts that had ESOL infusion. The Alachua County School District where UF is located uses a center school model in which ELLs ar e bused to schools at their grade levels that have ESOL teachers. At the elementary school, ESOL teachers pulled out ELLs for language arts instruction. At the middle and high school level center schools, lower proficiency ELLs went to language arts/ Eng lish through ESOL classrooms rather than being mainstreamed where teachers had ESOL credentials. Some ELLs attended noncenter schools since parents had the option of deciding whether their children attended a center school, a magnet school, or the school where they were zoned. Because of this, some ProTeach students were able to have field placements in mainstream elementary classrooms that had ELLs taught by teachers that were ESOL endorsed and known to be excellent teachers. While some of the ELLs we re what Naranjo (2000) referred to as typical ELLs in that they were economically disadvantaged and were from low literacy backgrounds, many of the ELLs were atypical in that they were from higher income, professional families. Laurens first experience i n dealing with ESOL students was to go to a school and tutor an ESOL girl for one hour a week. She found the experience enjoyable. It made her of aware of ESOL strategies and the linguistic needs of ELLs. She said that since she specialized in ESOL, she had many placements working with ELLs.
204 Julie not only did a field placement in an elementary ESOL pullout classroom, she also did her internship in one since she was specializing in ESOL. While she did not experience what it was like to teach ELLs in a heterogeneous setting, she did find that her field placements helped her gain expertise in teaching ELLs at different proficiency and grade levels under the direction of an experienced ESOL teacher. After teaching ELLs in South Florida, she realized that her internship experience was so different, as warned by her internship host teacher. The ELLs she taught there were typically economically disadvantaged and did not have a language, meaning they had little and were not provided educational support at home. Megan had one placement in a high school ESOL class and another at an elementary ESOL pullout class. When asked if she found these experiences useful, she replied, Not so much. She perceived the pullout and high school contexts to be differen t from her actual teaching reality of ESOL inclusion. About the high school placement she commented, It was different because they were older and more mature than what I deal with. But at the same time, you saw how they struggled, and you could feel how they felt, and I was really very sympathetic with these children. Her awareness of their struggles was the biggest thing [she] took from it. She expressed several times in her second interview that she felt bad for ELLs. Melissa stated that, while there were a lot of field experiences, including ESOL ones, during ProTeach, I didnt really get it until I was teaching [because there is not] someone watching, helping, or reviewing your lesson. Her ESOL placement was at a high school. She recalled t hat it was for only 10 hours. While she was at first skeptical that it would be useful since it was at the secondary level, it turned out to be a neat
205 experience for [her] actually. She attributed this to her attitude of when you teach, you teach. T o her, age and needs of students as well as the subject matter were irrelevant, believing she could teach anything to anyone. Melissa found the ESOL classroom environment in her placement made students feel safe. She described it as very comfortable, because of the sofas, tables and lamps that were present. What she took from this experience was the desire to create a positive environment in her own classroom. One of Christinas field experiences was with adult ELLs and another was with elementary ELLs who were pulled out for language arts. Christina felt that, while the adults were older than the students she would be teaching, it was beneficial to observe the instruction of low proficiency ELLs by an experienced teacher. During her elementary placement, Christina found that she liked the pullout model because ELLs were embedded in their old classrooms with the other kids and they could learn the language that way but then the ESOL pullout class met their specific needs. She was allowed to work w ith students in this placement, which provided her with hands on experience. She valued seeing and experiencing the ESOL teaching of low proficiency students. After completing placements, she felt more prepared in the use of strategies for ELLs at differ ent proficiency levels. In summary, most participants found their time in field placements to be meaningful experiences. What they perceived to have gained from their placements varied from one participant to another. While Megan thought that her placeme nt at a high school was not very relevant to her future teaching at the elementary level, Melissa and Christina found there was application to lower grade levels. Julie, Megan, and
206 Christina were placed in pullout ESOL classrooms at the elementary level. The perception of both Julie and Christina was that it was a useful experience though Julie found that the ELL population in this situation was less challenging to teach than the typical ELLs where she teaches due to their literacy and socioeconomic backgr ounds. Megan found the pullout context was too dissimilar to a diverse mainstream elementary classroom that included ELLs of various proficiency levels. Second Language Learning and Culture Self Reflection During their first ESOL standalone course, teachers wrote papers that addressed their experiences learning (or trying to learn) another language and their cultural background. Both Melissa and Lauren, who are Hispanic and learned both Spanish and English growing up, did not identify the assignment as a key experience. Melissa said that she vaguely recalled this assignment [and that] it didnt stand out. Lauren did not remember it. Megan remembered the assignment but was unsure if it served a purpose for her: I remember that project and I guess it kind of made me aware that I need to understand where the kids are coming from so I guess it was beneficial but I dont know. M aybe its because I didnt feel like it was something that I needed to do, whereas others may have found that project more beneficial to them. Julie and Christina were somewhat more positive about this assignment. For example, Christina (who is also bilingual and Hispanic) stated: Its not like I specifically think to that assignment, but I do think about that when I am teaching because I know how hard it was when I struggled to learn another language, so I can only imagine how hard it is for my ELLs.These children dont have that option [to learn English or not], so I can sympathize with them a little bit more because of doi ng that. This self reflection assignment was not a key experience for the participants. While examining ones own background is supposed to be a first step in developing
207 crosscultural awareness and understanding, the participants did not perceive it to be meaningful or relevant to their future teaching careers. Lesson Planning An assignment in the second ESOL standalone class was for ProTeach students to develop detailed lesson plans specifically targeted to ELLs that listed content, language, and metac ognitive objectives. The plans were to also include responses to questions to indicate how they would use or build on existing background knowledge, make the instruction comprehensible, use cultural knowledge, use higher order questions appropriate for ELLs at different proficiency levels, and provide appropriate assessments. Christinas sentiments on this assignment were similar to the other participants in the study: You know the reason why they have all those questions is to make sure you know that when youre sitting down to plan a lesson, when youre writing it all down or youre thinking about it in your head that you know what you have to include in every portion of the lesson. And like I dont write it down anymore I just know and the reason why I know is because I spent so much time writing it and thinking about it and after a while it just becomes normal. And you have the theory so you understand why you are doing it In contrast, Megan said, I mean back then I thought it was useful for me to understand, but I dont really apply it. Teachers indicated that the lesson plans they had to write during college are dissimilar to the plans that they have written since they became teachers. Most of them filled out small blocks for each subject in lesson plan books that referenced the text pages and topics that they would be covering. Melissa differed in that she typed up general lesson plans but indicated that there wasnt anything in my plans that actually said for ELLs. She, like the other teachers, documented ESOL strategies that they
208 used. Melissa completed a checklist for each ELL every trimester while the other teachers either wrote down the strategies or used a code in their plan books to indicate the ESOL strategies that they used. While Lauren said that she did not actually plan specifically for ELLs in kindergarten due to her perspective that it was languagebased and that she used ESOL strategies routinely, the other teachers indicated that they did plan and prepare for their ELLs considering their proficiency levels and academic challenges. None of the teachers explicitly identified language objectives for their ELLs though doing so was stressed in their ESOL standalone courses and lesson planning assignments required their inclusion. Megan and Lauren had ELLs with intermediate to advanced English proficiency and perceived them to be doing fine. Lauren pointed out that kindergarten is so language based anyway. Christina and Julie found that teaching language embedded in content was something that they automatically did. Christina attributed this automization to her completing very detailed lesson plan assignments in her ESOL standalone courses. Overall, participants found the lesson plan assignments to be beneficial and challenging, as it gave them experience planning for ELLs and reflecting on their plans. As Christina said about the ProTeach lesson planning experiences, You cant just be this amazing teacher if you dont have the background, and you dont think about things. Conversational Exchange with Adult International Students As part of the first ESOL standalone course, ProTeach students had to meet with international students who were attending the English Language Institute to develop further English proficiency in hopes of being able to attend a university in the United
209 States. During the four meetings, ProTeach students were to engage in formal conversations that would enable the m to write papers about the culture and language learning experiences of their partners. The conversation exchange was not considered a key experience for most participants. Its benefit was that it allowed them to become aware of other cultures and the difficulties some people have in adjusting to another culture and learning another language. As Megan said, It opened my eyes a little bit more to the different cultures out there and what they have to go through to come over to this country and learn th ings. Recommendations for the ESOLInfused Program Participants were asked to make recommendations for the ESOLinfused ProTeach Program at UF based on the realities of teaching ELLs they experienced. Participants saw the need for: (1) explicit ESOL co ntent in infused courses; (2) additional content in ESOL standalone courses about legal requirements and procedures for educating ELLs in Florida schools; and (3) field experiences with ELLs in mainstream elementary classrooms. There was no overlap in suggestions across participants. Better Infusion of ESOL Content in Courses Four of the five participants did not recall that content in their courses was made explicit regarding the teaching and learning of ELLs. While they perceive some application of c ontent related to teaching diverse learners as applicable to ELLs, they had to infer this.
210 Melissa suggested, Clearly define ESOL components in the syllabus [of each method course]. She complained, I came out with my endorsement but didnt know about E SOL. Legalities and Procedures Related to ELLs While Christina was more knowledgeable than other participants about ESOL identification and other procedures (other than Melissa after she became an ESOL coordinator in Fall of 2008), she wanted to know more. She said: T he one thing that I wish that they would have taught more of was the laws and what surrounds ESOL, but then again all of that is always changing and youre not really going to have a strong grasp on that unless you have those [ELL] kids all the time and really take the time to understand all the laws that govern what you can do in the classroom. ESOL Field Placements in Mainstream Classroom with ELLs ESOL field placements for ProTeach students have been limited due to the lack of availability of ELLs and the center schools model that Alachua County Schools implements in which many secondary ELLs take language arts/ English courses in sheltered (self contained) classrooms and elementary students are pulled out for language arts instruction by specialized ESOL teachers. Some ESOL placements are in adult ESOL classes. While most participants saw some relevance of such placements outside the mainstream elementary setting in which they planned to teach, Christina, for one, argued: I really, real ly think that the more experiences they can have with ESOL students, the bette r. And at different types of settings because [when I started teaching] I had some students in my clas s that didnt speak any English... and it was up to me I was like O h gosh How am I going to manage my nonESOL kids with my kids who dont speak any English at all? H ow do I do that ? I t was kind of like I wasnt prepared for that so thats what I mean by having multiple opportunities so you dont have this fake idea of how things are going to be once you get into the classroom.
211 Three of the teachers had no recommendations. Both Lauren and Julie considered themselves well prepared to teach ELLs upon graduation, but they had specialized in ESOL. Lauren said, Since I took so many ESOL courses, I learned a lot about ELLs and had many experiences with ELLs that prepared me for my teaching. They both were sure that they would not have felt so prepared if they had not specialized in ESOL. Megan perceived that what she neg lected to take to the classroom after graduation was due to a fault within herself: As a student I wasnt probably as focused as I should have beenI should have taken [what was taught in ESOL courses] and practiced it. I know at the time I was learning a lot at the time when I was involved in it. I really understood it. I just didnt bring a lot of it with me into my classroom, but that just could be how I am as a student. Summary This chapter included a description of common teacher perceptions across p articipants about their preparation to teach ELLs in an ESOLinfused teacher education program. The majority of participants identified the following three components of the two ESOL standalone courses as important and applicable to the settings in which they have taught: (1) second language acquisition theory and application; (2) ESOL field experiences; and (3) lesson planning specifically for ELLs at different proficiency levels. Participants did not find two assignments as important: (1) second language acquisition/ cultural self reflection; and (2) conversational exchanges with international adults attending the English Language Institute at UF. When asked for recommendations to improve the ESOLinfused Proteach Program, only two participants had sug gestions, which were not shared between them.
212 They mentioned suggestions including: (1) explicit ESOL content in infused courses; (2) additional content in ESOL standalone courses about legal requirements and procedures for educating ELLs in Florida schools; and (3) field experiences with ELLs in mainstream elementary classrooms to reflect the settings. Neither Julie nor Lauren, who had specialized in ESOL, had any suggestions. Megan believed that she did not feel prepared because she did not take her te acher education as seriously as she could have, though she made good grades.
213 CHAPTER 6 DISCUSSION One purpose of this study was to explore the teaching realities of five teacher graduates of an ESOLinfused teacher education program to portray the perceptions and lived experiences of mainstream elementary teachers whose students include ELLs. Another purpose was to discover participants perceptions about the effectiveness of their ESOLinfused teacher education program, specifically, the fiveyear Unified Elementary ProTeach Program at UF. A third purpose was to compare the experiences and perceptions of the two teacher participants who had specialized in ESOL with those who had not. The research questions guiding the study were: What are ESOL pr epared elementary teachers perceptions about their experiences with the teaching and learning of ELLs in mainstream classrooms? 1a. What are ESOL prepared elementary teachers perceptions about their roles and responsibilities related to the teaching and learning of ELLs? 1b. What are ESOL prepared elementary teachers perceptions about the challenges and demands related to the teaching and learning of ELLs? 1c. What are ESOL prepared elementary teachers perceptions about the supports and constraints rel ated to the teaching and learning of ELLs? What are ESOL prepared elementary teachers perceptions about their preservice teacher education experiences to teach ELLs in general education settings? 2a. What are ESOL prepared elementary tea chers perceptions about ESOL related content and activities in their teacher education program ? 2b. What are ESOL prepared elementary tea chers recommendations for improvements to the ESOLinfused Unified Elementary ProTeach Program
214 based on their teaching experiences ? Ho w do the experiences and perc eptions of ESOL prepared elementary teachers who specialize d in ESOL during their ESOL infused teacher education program compare to those teachers who specialized in other fields? The discussion of the results is presented according to the following topics: (1) summary of the findings, (2) theoretical implications of the findings, (3) summary of the contributions of this research; (4) limitations of the study; (5) implications for educators and teacher educators ; and (6) re comm endations for future research Summary of the Findings: Teaching ELLs The data analysis of the second interview transcripts and secondary data sources yielded the following findings for research question one, specified above. The primary roles participants described that were specific to the teaching of ELLs were those of: (1) instructor; (2) secretary; and (3) nurturer. The challenges and demands associated with being teachers of ELLs identified by participants were: (1) lack of parental support and inv olvement; (2) time as an obstacle to meeting the needs of ELLs; (3) the requirements of educational mandates; and (4) meeting the needs of diverse learners in a single classroom. Participants were supported in carrying out their responsibilities by: (1) E SOL coordinators and (2) bilingual paraprofessionals. They were constrained by : (1) lack of time to plan and carry out instruction specifically designed for ELLs; (2) unskilled colleagues; (3) limited parental educational support for some ELLs; and (4) lack of autonomy. The findings across subquestions for Research Question 1 overlapped to a great extent. Therefore, the following discussion integrates some of the findings in the discussion of sali ent themes that emerged overall When conclusions cannot be drawn
215 based on data, alternative explanations are offered to interpret meaning of participants words and actions. Perceptions about Teaching ELLs Teachers were well aware that they were responsible for the instruction of the ELLs in their classrooms. They perceived one of their responsibilities as being a nurturer by establishing environments that were conducive to the adjustment, language development, and academic achievement of ELLs. Another responsibility related to having ELLs as students was per forming clerical duties, such as documenting ESOL strategies. While four of the five participants had little secretarial duties to complete for their ELLs, Christina had to complete extensive documentation due to requirements of her district. Participant roles and responsibilities were bounded by the participants perceptions about: (1) th emselves as teachers; (2) ESOL teachers, (3) educational policies; (4) parental responsibilities; (5) the similarities and differences in teaching ELLs and other student s; and (6) the needs of ELLs. Perceptions of participants have been reinterpreted by the researcher in attempt to explain what it is like to be a teacher of ELLs in a mainstream el ementary classroom and to find deeper meanings. Perceptions of selves as t eachers All of the teacher participants in this study considered themselves to be first and foremost teachers of all students, including ELLs. Most of the secondary level mainstream teachers in the study by Song et al. (2010) also identified themselves as teacher s of all of their students, and Yoon (2008) found that secondary age ELLs felt empowered and motivated when their teachers assumed this inclusive teaching identity. In the current study, the mainstream elementary teachers of ELLs perceived themselves as i nstructors who were primarily responsible for developing students English language
216 proficiency and for addressing the statemandated content learning standards. For example, Lauren only allowed the use of English in her classroom, believing that the use of Spanish, which was the first language of her ELLs and herself, was detrimental to learning English, which she perceived as needed for her kindergartners to master standards. T hree of the participants stated that they did not feel prepared to meet the n eeds of lower proficiency ELLs, in particular. This finding also supports the conclusions of Song et al. (2010) and Reeves (2006) who found that teachers were frustrated by and reluctant to teach ELLs with very limited English. Among the participants in this study, Lauren, who had specialized in ESOL, said that she thought low proficiency ELLs would do better in her mainstream kindergarten classroom than in self contained ESOL or bilingual classrooms but preferred that she have only two or three beginner level ELLs due to the increased demands on her time associated with such placements. Megan believed that the needs of low proficiency ELLs could not be met in mainstream classrooms. She mentioned at several points in the interv iew that she wished her school would implement the ESOL pullout model or the ESOL self contained model for the benefit of ELLs. She shared the frustration of her colleagues when trying to meet the needs of low proficiency ELLs, specifically noting the additional work required and the lack of self confidence in addressing their needs. Her comments suggested that she would prefer not being solely responsible for the instruction of ELLs who had limited English proficiency. Both Lauren and Julie could be cons idered ESOL experts based on their preservice program specialization in ESOL, yet they perceived that their teacher colleagues viewed them as young and inexperienced, and they were unaware if their
217 colleagues even knew about their preparation in ESOL. Of the five participants, four had never been approached by other teachers or school administrators to serve as an ESOL resource, nor had they voluntarily assumed this role in their schools. Christina, however, did volunteer to administer the annual English proficiency test to first grade ELLs, and she reported that her colleagues did come to her for advice about teaching ELLs, perhaps because she had been an ESOL teacher at the school for two years. Melissa extended her ESOL knowledge only after assuming the role of ESOL coordinator in her school, admitting that she knew nothing before then. All of the participants had earned the ESOL endorsement, while many of the teachers at their school had not, so school administrators often took advantage of this req uired teaching credential. Christina was assigned to teach a self contained ESOL class at her school, and Julie was designated as the fourth grade language arts/ESOL inclusion teacher. She noted that this assignment was welcome news to some of her peers w ho did not want to teach ELLs themselves. Earning the ESOL endorsement as part of an ESOLinfused preservice teacher preparation program was perceived as a mixed blessing because even first year teachers could be assigned to teach ELLs. Administrators may have rationalized decisions to assign novice teachers to classrooms with large numbers of at risk ELLs by imagining that these ESOLendorsed teachers understanding of second language teaching and learning would compensate for the handicapping effects of their inexperience. However, it is likely that many new teachers were assigned to classrooms with ELLs because veteran teachers at their schools were reluctant to take on the added responsibility (and the required ESOL professional development) associated with teaching
218 Perceptions of ESOL Teachers Although Julie and Lauren had specialized in ESOL during their ProTeach preparation at UF, they, along with the other participants, who all had ESOL endorsements, did not view themselves as primarily or uniquely ESOL teachers. All participants identified an ESOL teacher as an educator who had only ELLs as students, such as in ESOL pull out and ESOL self contained classrooms, as reflected in Megans comments: I teach ESOL students, but I dont really think of m yself as an ESOL teacher just because, I mean, Im teaching fourth grade, and theyre learning, and Im giving them strategies. I think of an ESOL teacher as a teacher [who has] a classroom of ESOL students. Megan does not provide an example of what the ESOL teacher might be teaching or what the students might be learning (though they might be fourth graders and the ESOL teacher might be teaching them to apply reading strategies --or any other learning objectives in the fourth grade curriculum). Instead, the ESOL teachers identity is defined by her association with the group of students in the hypothetical classroom, and their identity is assigned based on a single characteristic their ESOL status. Megan refuses this close association with that student characteristic (ESOL) as part of her own identity, as do all of the teachers participating in this study. Julie and Lauren had expertise in ESOL by virtue of their specialization in the ProTeach program and reported self confidence in teaching ELLs. Althoug h they believed that the designated ESOL teachers at their schools were not meeting the needs of ELLs, they were unmotivated to apply for ESOL teacher positions. For unclear reasons, Julie preferred being a mainstream teacher of ELLs though she was consid ering teaching English to children in other countries. Melissa indicated that she
219 felt unprepared to teach ELLs as a classroom teacher, yet she applied for the ESOL coordinator position at an elementary school because she had been advised that it could be a means of access to being hired as an assistant principal. After accepting the position, she became motivated to learn more about ESOL program requirements and effective teaching of ELLs in order to serve as an ESOL resource to teachers in her school. Four participants explained why they and some of their colleagues did not hold the ESOL teacher position in high regard. For example, Christina, a bilingual speaker of English and Spanish, had been assigned as a first grade self contained ESOL classroom teacher for two years without being asked if she wanted to assume this teaching position and asked to be placed in a mainstream first grade after what she referred to as two frustrating years. She believed she had been assigned to be an ESOL teacher because veteran teachers did not want the position, assuming correctly that ESOL teachers had additional administrative and documentation responsibilities and were required to complete up to 300 inservicehours of professional development in ESOL if they did no t already have an ESOL endorsement. Lauren, who was fluent in Spanish and had specialized in ESOL in the hope that it would help her get a teaching position in her district, said that she did not want to be an ESOL teacher because ESOL teachers at her sc hool had complained to her that they had difficulty in communicating with parents of ELLs, even though they were bilingual. She also recalled having to spend extra time preparing to teach an ELL who had no proficiency in English her first year of teaching Laurens comments infer that she did not want to expend time and effort with the challenges that she perceived the ESOL
220 teacher position held. The teacher participants in several studies (e.g., Franson, 1999; Penfield, 1987; Reeves, 2002; Youngs, 1999; and Walker et al 2004) considered modifying instruction for ELLs to be a timeconsuming burden, which resulted in them having negative attitudes toward ELLs, who they perceived to be the cause of their problems. At Julies and Melissas schools, adminis trators reportedly assigned teachers who had experienced difficulty teaching in mainstream elementary classrooms as their schools ESOL teachers. According to participants, administrators reassigned these low performing teachers as ESOL teachers in the hope that they could improve their teaching skills by teaching in small groups of students or by observing mainstream teachers with ELLs included in their classrooms. Based on participants accounts of administrators actions, a number of assumptions are possible One is that administrators did not believe that ELLs needed teachers who were skilled in teaching or who had expertise in ESOL. Another possibility is that those administrators did not perceive ESOL as a professional field in its own right and therefore believed that anyone could step into that position. Four of the five participants perceived that teaching ELLs was the same as teaching any other student; it is therefore reasonable to imagine that their school administrators might have had such a perspective. A third (more cynical) possibility is that those administrators felt that weak teachers could do the least harm teaching ESOL students. In any case, the example illustrates the relatively low status held by ESOL teachers and ESOL teaching wit hin the larger school context. The low status of ESOL teachers is likely linked to the status of their students. Because ESOL teachers are responsible for teaching a marginalized group, their social
221 status reflects this association. Unfortunately anti i mmigrant sentiment is frequently reported in the media. Many Americans are angered that money is spent on the education of immigrant children who are here illegally, though Plyler v Doe (1982) guarantees a free public education for all children. In additi on, some Americans believe that American citizenship should not be conferred on immigrant children who are born in the United States. In summary, participants viewed themselves as teachers of all students, including ELL students, but they did not consider themselves to be ESOL teachers even though they held ESOL credentials on their teaching certificates and taught ELLs in their classrooms. Participants perceptions that ESOL teachers were held in low esteem in their schools were supported with accounts of administrators reassigning low performing mainstream teachers to ESOL teaching positions. Such assignments in effect disregarded Julie and Laurens ESOL expertise and teaching credentials, and their colleagues expressed desire to avoid an ESOL teaching assignment reinforced the undesirable status of ESOL instruction. Even Julie and Lauren, who had specialized in ESOL in their preservice program, did not wish to assume the role of ESOL expert in their schools. Perceptions of educational policies The goal of NCLB (2002) was to close the achievement gap between subgroups of students by holding districts, schools, and teachers accountable for holding all students to the same educational standards. The school districts that employed the participants were required to follow the requirements it set forth and adopted policies to implement researchsupported practices in attempts to increase student achievement. How well each student performs on the statewide assessment impacts how a classroom
222 performs; how each classroom performs impacts how the school performs; how the school performs impacts how the district performs. Low performance over time results in the school being taking over by a governmental agency. Teacher participants felt the force of educatio nal policies in their classrooms. The policies determined what, when, and, in many cases, how these teachers taught. Interview data indicated that participants perceived educational policy as both a demand and constraint for participants. That is, what and how participants taught were influenced by educational mandates, such as prescribed curricula, writing objectives on the board, and adhering to scope and sequence. With the exception of Lauren, who taught kindergarten, and Melissa, who was no longer t eaching, the other three participants complained about accountability pressures, and their frustration with the educational system was apparent. Julie especially expressed a sense of helplessness and resentment about having to keep her three language arts classes at the same place in the curricula and focusing on writing at the expense of reading since fourth graders were assessed on writing ability in fourth grade only in elementary schools. They were also assessed on reading so spending the majority of her 90minute block on writing baffled her. In addition, she felt forced to go against her beliefs about how to effectively teach ELLs, yet she never voiced this to administrators, believing that she could not change the system. Julie, as well as three o f the other participants, expressed their perceptions that curricular demands prevented them from having adequate time to provide individualized instruction to ELLs. Most participants expressed concern that their ELLs would not score as high as their peers on statewide assessments because of their limited English proficiency.
223 Cobb (2004) reported that teachers who possess high levels of efficacy, who use researchbased instructional models and provide explicit strategy instruction, can make a difference with ELL students and close the achievement gaps (p. 4). Assessment results of a class can influe nce teacher evaluations as well as the achievement based grade assigned to schools by the state. While participants did not express negative attitudes toward ELLs, they did worry ELLs would score lower on the statewide assessments, which could lower teacher evaluations. Since most participants did not provide modifications to support ELLs, thinking they were not in need, they may have inadvertently kept them from scoring higher on the tests had they focused on developing academic language and making instr uction comprehensible. Christina found it unfair for schools to compare the student scores of teachers who had ELLs with the student scores of teachers who did not have ELLs or had more proficient ELLs. Though she was dissatisfied with this practice, she accepted that she had no control in changing it. Based on comments from participants in this study in regard to educational policy, as well as other issues, none really took action on their beliefs. Fulton (cited in Bransford, Darling Hammond, & LePage, 2005) argued that teachers must have a strong sense of moral purpose and be aware of the change process so that they can support school reform. Megan spoke to her team about her perception that ELLs would be better served through self contained or pullou t models but was told by her team leader that that was not going to happen since the self contained model was disbanded in previous years because parents of ELLs did not support it. Megans desired action of removing beginning ELLs from classrooms as well as Christinas view that comparing
224 the class assessment scores of teachers of ELLs to those who were not teachers of ELLs was unfair can be interpreted to mean that these participants were concerned about themselves. For example, if ELLs were placed in s elf contained classes, Megan would not have the challenge of teaching them. Although selfish motives can be hypothesized, no data supported this perspective. What can be concluded is that participants lacked a sense of agency. They stayed in their class rooms, following the rules. Research that investigated strategies to help teachers with passion to become change agents would be useful for ELLs as well as participants such as these who kept their frustration and resentment to themselves. Perceptions about parental responsibilities Participants perceived parental involvement and support for student learning as required for the school success of ELLs. In Megans school serving primarily middle to upper middleclass children, parents of ELLs attended meetings and checked the completion of work assigned to their children, as did most of the parents. On the other hand, the parental expectations of participants who taught at Title 1 schools were not always met. Teacher participants at these schools pointed out that they used communication strategies such as providing written information in the familys first language and speaking to parents on the phone in Spanish but still felt that parents did not understand how their children were performing or what th ey, as parents, were supposed to do. Teacher participants in these high poverty schools recognized the barriers that some parents of ELLs might experience in becoming fully involved in their childrens education. These included mismatches between the ho me and school cultures ( Tinker cited in Arias & Morillo Campbell, 2008) the lack of educational experience, and
225 English proficiency, as well as ongoing practical challenges such as unreliable transportation and inflexible work schedules. However, even a fter multiple attempts to engage and support their participation, some parents remained uninvolved. T eacher participants expressed frustration through comments intended to place the burden of responsibility for students school success (or failure) onto the parents. Assertions that some ELLs would have had higher grades if their parents had required them to do their homework reflected the middleclass values orientation of their expectations for parent involvement. Such comments also revealed a deficit perspective that leads educators to view culturally and linguistically diverse students and their families as the problem rather than to consider and remedy their own deficiencies in w orking with diverse populations ( Arias & Morillo Campbell, 2008, p. 8) Some educators have documented successful efforts to engage ELLs parents participation, first through education about the school culture and literacy education ( Arias & Morillo Campbell, 2008). Given their convictions regarding the importance of par ental involvement, these teacher participants should continue their attempts to connect with, inform, and support parents of ELLs through nontraditional approaches. However, they must first acknowledge that they too need to be open to learning, perhaps s tarting with an acceptance of different understandings and expectations of parent involvement. Perceptions of similarities in teaching ELLs and other students When asked directly if teaching ELLs was the same or different from teaching nonELLs, Julie, who had specialized in ESOL, was the only participant who stated that there were differences. She said, I think to be able to do it right for ESOL students, you have to have an understanding of their language needsand you have to know the [heritage] language andbe able to compare [it with English]. Further, she argued that
226 it was necessary to have any understanding of where they are in their levels and what t hey are able to produce. While the other four participants answer to the same question was that they thought teaching ELLs was the same, their descriptions of how they addressed ELL needs indicated that they did differentiate instruction for ELLs based on their perceived proficiency level. When participants contradicted themselves, the researcher would refer back to their perceptions that teaching ELLs is the same as teaching others, they repeated their position. For example, Melissa said, Teaching is teaching. Lauren commented, I do the same things with my other students. Christina explained that when she taught ESOL self contained that she did the same things as in her mainstream first grade classroom. Participants did find some differences in E LLs and other students. Megan, Melissa, and Lauren found their ELLs to put forth more effort to learn. Julie joined Megan perceiving that ELLs were better behaved than other students. These affective characteristics made the teachers enjoy teaching ELLs and want to spend time with them. Perceptions of the needs of ELL Participants perceived the needs of their ELLs primarily using the results of English oral/aural proficiency tests provided to the participants by ESOL coordinators. They used observations of language use and academic performance to supplement this data. Depending on the proficiency test that was administered, scores could be more reflective of social language proficiency rather than academic language proficiency needed for school. Social language, referred to as playground talk is language used in informal settings about familiar topics, such as family and interests, and is
227 contextualized and not cognitively demanding. ELLs who are exposed to and have opportunities to use English for s ocial interaction will typically acquire social language proficiency within two to three years. Academic language, referred to as school language, is the technical, complex, and abstract language used in the classroom and for work. Often times, it is c ognitively challenging and no contextual support is present. The development of academic language for an ELL takes much longer than social language development, on average between five and seven years, (Cummins 1996). The distinction between social and academic language is emphasized as a core concept related to English language development in the ESOL standalone courses. All participants had successfully completed this course as part of the ProTeach Program, though they seemingly remembered neither the concept nor its relevance for their ELLs Schrank, Fletcher, and Alvarado (1996) found that two English oral/aural proficiency tests, which are commonly used to determine eligibility to receive ESOL services in Florida, tended to measure more social language than academic language, causing them to have questionable validity as measures of the language needed for school. To complicate matters further, teachers might wrongly conclude that the display of verbosity in ELLs about familiar topics indicates thei r overall fluency. Therefore, the academic language limitations and needs of some ELLs might not be recognized. Internal and external factors were in place that helped determine the teacher roles that participants assumed and the challenges they faced. The participants shared perceptions about themselves as teachers, about ESOL teachers, about educational policies, about the similarities and differences in teaching ELLs, and about the needs of ELLs. These were reinterpreted by the researcher in attemp t to explain what it is like to
228 be a teacher of ELLs in a mainstream elementary classroom and to identify additional research that is needed. Next, the teacher role as a provider of instruction and support to ELLs is discussed. Participant roles, challeng es, supports, and constraints were bounded by the participants perceptions about: (1) themselves as teachers; (2) ESOL teachers, (3) educational policies; (4) parental responsibilities; (5) the similarities and differences in teaching ELLs and other students; and (6) the needs of ELLs. A discussion related to their role as teacher of ELLs, which subsumes their roles of instructor, secretary, and nurturer, is provided next. This dialogue includes findings about challenges, supports, and constraints that participants have experienced. Providing Instruction for ELLs Participants in this study typically differentiated instruction for the ELLs based on the reported oral/aural English proficiency scores. Participants indicated that they had provided a nurturi ng environment in which ELLs felt safe and accepted. This section discusses: (1) modifications for less proficient ELLs; (2) the lack of modifications for more proficient ELLs; (3) the lack of use of language objectives; and (4) the neglect of integrating the culture of ELLs. Modifications for less proficient ELLs Although four of the five participants explicitly stated that teaching ELLs was the same as teaching other students, they contradicted themselves when they gave examples of how they made instruct ion comprehensible for ELLs with lower English proficiency. For example, Megan provided her beginner ELLs with a language master machine and cards with magnetic strips that contained pictures and names of items, which her ELLs inserted into the machine so they could hear and repeat the words.
229 Christina considered her ELLs English proficiency levels as well as their first language background when grouping students. Lauren used a slower rate of speech and repetition when speaking to her ELLs. All of the teachers said they often used small group instruction realizing that peer interaction a nd support helped ELLs develop their English language skills and content knowledge. Participants nurtured ELLs by giving them oneonone instruction, showing interes t in them personally, and including them in class activities despite their limited English proficiency. Krashen (1981) argued comprehensible input is necessary for second language acquisition and that a positive classroom environment fosters it. Two part icipants mentioned their amazement at how many of their beginners developed English skills quickly. Lack of modification s for more proficient ELLs Of those four participants who insisted that teaching ELLs was the same as teaching other students and yet m odified their instruction for ELLs with more limited English, ability, three commented that students who had been classified as support ELLs required little, if any, differentiated instruction or English language development. (The support ELL designati on was based on these ELLs advanced performance on an English proficiency test of listening/speaking skills.) These teachers risked mistakenly inferring advanced levels of academic English proficiency for ELLs based on their fluent social (and oral) comm unication skills in English. They did not acknowledge the difference in language demands for ELLs in school settings, nor did they seem to be aware of typical patterns of second language development. For example, ELLs who take advantage of opportunities t o use English for social interaction typically acquire the ability to use English socially within two to three years. However, it takes much longer,
230 on average between five and seven years or longer, for ELLs to develop proficiency in using English for ac ademic purposes (Cummins 1996). Therefore, the English language needs of some ELLs may not be accurately identified, depending on perceptions of what English language ability entails and on the accuracy of the assessment tool used to measure it. Schrank, Fletcher, and Alvarado (1996) found that two tests commonly used to determine ELLs eligibility for ESOL services tended to measure social language rather than the academic language skills needed for school success. Participants did not seem to realize that the apparent fluency of their support ELLs may have been based on samples of (oral) communication about familiar topics for social purposes. Although the distinction between social and academic language is emphasized as a core concept related to English language development in the ESOL standalone courses that all participants took, they seemed to remember neither the concept nor its relevance for their ELLs. Similarly, although the development and use of language objectives in lesson planning h ad been emphasized and practiced in participants ProTeach ESOL coursework, none of the five teacher participants in this study reported setting language objectives for the ELLs in their classrooms. The identification of language objectives is considered to be an effective instructional practice to facilitate ELLs social and academic language development in English ( Echevarr ia, Vogt, & Short, 2008 Harper & de Jong, 2004; Gibbons, 2002; Hruska & Clancy, 2005 ; Short & Fitzsimmons, 2007). Language objectives can be developed to target vocabulary, social and academic communication functions, grammatical category, and language structures in the four skills areas of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. An example o f a language
231 objective for speaking or writing is, Students will identify the relative location of two or more places on a map using prepositional phrases such as to the south of along the river, and in the center. Informal and formal assessment m ethods can be used to determine if an ELL has achieved a language objective. Short and Fitzsimmons (2007) reported that the creation and assessment of language objectives resulted in academic language development for ELLs. Teachers who do not teach to l anguage objectives may miss valuable opportunities to promote their ELLs English language proficiency. Three of the participants stated that while they did not create language objectives prior to teaching, they did point out language during instruction. Further, they claimed that the extensive practice of generating language objectives for required ESOL lesson plans in their second ESOL standalone course had developed their ability to automatically target language objectives during instruction. Lauren believed that the kindergarten curriculum was sufficiently language based. It was unnecessary for her to specify separate language objectives for her ELLs. In addition, Lauren perceived that the ELLs in her classroom did not need additional language development activities because they had scored at intermediate or advanced levels of oral/aural English proficiency and, thus, were similar to her other kindergartners in terms of their English language development. Future research that includes observations of graduates teaching ELLs could provide data to confirm or call into question whether teachers explicitly focus on language learning objectives related to content area instruction. Classroom based assessments could also help to determine whether ELLs are learning English in these mainstream content classrooms.
232 The neglect of ELLs cultural background In reflecting on their roles and responsibilities in teaching ELLs, none of the five participants mentioned the need to consider the cultural backgrounds of ELLs However, s cholars in the areas of ESOL and culturally responsive pedagogy (e.g., Bartolom, 1994; Gay, 2000; Harper & de Jong, 2004; Short & Fitzsimmons 2007; Villegas & Lucas, 2000) have argued that instruction should build upon and be sensitive to the cultures of students, viewing students ways of learning, and using language and knowledge gained from prior experiences as assets rather than deficits Moll, Amanti, Neff, and Gonzalez (2001) reported the benefits of teachers learning about and in corporating students funds of knowledge which refer to the historically accumulated and culturally developed bodies of knowledge and skills essential for household or individual functioning and well being (p. 133), into instruction. Based on conversations with participants, the inclusion of ELLs cultures in their classrooms was limited to practices such as mentioning that a story being read in class was set in the home country of an ELL, and organizing a cultural event in which students wore ethnic c lothing and brought traditional foods to school from their home cultures. Such isolated activities clearly do not meet current standards for culturally responsive pedagogy. Yet in the ESOL stand alone courses, incorporating ELLs cultures in instruction and developing ELLs awareness of U.S. cultural norms were addressed. Teacher candidates built and incorporated ELLs background knowledge and cultural experiences into their lesson plan assignments. Research on preservice teachers understandings of teacher knowledge and skills identified cultural competence as one of the most salient and significant aspects of effective teaching for ELLs (de Jong & Harper, in press).
233 One possible explanation of why the three Hispanic participants did not integrate stude nts cultures into their curriculum was because they shared a similar heritage with their ELLs who were also Hispanic. However, Hispanics come from many countries with different ethnic influences and cultural norms. Another more likely explanation is tha t designing instruction around students cultural experiences takes time; the curriculum is already crowded, and teachers schedules are hectic. Although student centered learning is addressed in the preservice teacher preparation program as a principle o f effective curriculum design and instruction for diverse learners, including ELLs, in reality standards based academic content areas (e.g., math, science) and basic literacy (particularly reading) skills drive the curriculum in all but the earliest grades Nevertheless, further research into participants considerations and efforts in incorporating their culturally diverse students backgrounds in their mainstream classroom instruction would help to bridge the gap between theory and practice. ESOL resources A teacher depends on others in the school to fulfill her roles and responsibilities. The potential workload of the participants in this study was reduced because their districts provided ESOL coordinators at their schools to administer language assessments to ELLs and to complete ESOL related paperwork. All three of the participants who i ndicated that they did not feel fully prepared to teach ELLs had ESOL coordinators at their schools, but the teachers did not seek those ESOL resource personnel out for assistance. Because Melissa had previously served as an ESOL coordinator herself, admi tting that she knew nothing when she began, she realized that ESOL expertise was not a requirement for this position, and she knew that this new ESOL coordinator was no expert in teaching ELLs. At Laurens school, two classroom
234 teachers shared the ESOL coordinator position. They were knowledgeable about procedures related to the ESOL program, but they were not ESOL experts either. Although the ESOL coordinators shouldered much of the administrative load associated with ELL assessment and record keeping they did not serve in a professional development, curriculum resource, or coaching capacity for mainstream teachers of ELLs. Research by Edstam et al. (2007) found that teacher effectiveness was enhanced when ESOL experts were available to collaborate w ith teachers. If the ESOL coordinators had been more knowledgeable about ELL issues and more experienced in teaching ELLs, and if both they and the teacher participants had been motivated to work collaboratively, their potential for improving teaching and learning for ELLs throughout their schools could have been significantly expanded. This section discussed findings related to teaching ELLs. Specifically, it discussed: (1) modifications for less proficient ELLs; (2) the lack of modifications for more pr oficient ELLs; (3) the lack of use of language objectives; (4) the neglect of integrating the culture of ELLs; and (5) ESOL resources. What participants described were informed by their perceptions discussed in the previous section. In conclusion, f indings suggest that the responsibility of teaching ELLs falls within the role of teacher, which is how they identif ied themselves. They did not consider themselves as ESOL teachers, considering an ESOL teacher as a teacher who teaches only ELLs, and did not w ant to become one. Their lack of identity as an ESOL teacher may be influenced by the low status of ESOL teachers that derives from such factors as the marginalized population they serve, the extra demands on time to plan instruction, and the assignment o f ineffective teachers to ESOL teacher positions in the past. As a
235 teacher of ELLs, participants provided instruction based the perceived constraints of educational policies and lack of parental contribution to their childrens education. In addition, instruction was informed about participants views of teaching ELLs being similar to and different from teaching other students as well as their perceptions of the modifications and support ELLs of different English proficiency levels need. The interview data provided by participants may not be indicative of their actual classroom practices. Observations of them in their teaching contexts would likely affect findings and conclusions. ESOL Spec ialists and Non Specialists Research Question 3 was interested in differences and similarities between participants who had specialized in ESOL and those who had not. An important finding is that the ESOL specialists in this study felt prepared to teach ELLs while other participants expressed lack of confidence. Overall, however, ESOL specialists were more similar than dissimilar to the other participants who did not specialize in ESOL. All participants identified themselves as teachers and did not consider themselves ESOL teachers. All but one (who had become an E SOL coordinator and had not specialized in ESOL) felt demands on their time and constraints on their autonomy by federal and local educational policies. Other commonalities were that participants perceived the needs of ELLs primarily based on their oral proficiency in English and devoted more time and effort to modifying instruction for ELLs with lower English proficiency. In addition, both ESOL specialists and those who had not specialized in ESOL did not designate language objectives or integrate the culture of ELLs into instruction. None of the participants served as advocates of ELLs. Finally, all of the participants expressed positive dispositions toward ELLs with most perceiving ELLs to have more positive
236 behavioral characteristics than other stude nts. One participant (Julie), who had specialized in ESOL, was the sole participant who perceived that ELLs have unique needs that require specialized ESOL instruction. These findings suggest that teachers who have specialized in ESOL do not necessarily have the desire to exclusively teach ELLs or advocate on their behalf. Neither does it ensure that they will apply effective practices, such as identifying language objectives and making connections to culture, anymore than those who have not specialized in ESOL. In addition, ESOL specialists conform to school culture like other teachers. One of the participants who specialized in ESOL recognized that ESOL was a specialized field. The other participant who had specialized in ESOL might have perceived t he teaching of ELLs as different from teaching nonELLs if she taught a higher grade level than kindergarten and more than one ELL with low English proficiency during her tenure as a teacher. Summary of Findings: Learning to Teach ELLs The infused ESOL co mponent of the Unified Elementary ProTeach Program required two ESOL standalone courses and also infuse ESOL Teaching Standards into existing required courses so that graduates would be considered prepared to teach ELLs. All of the participants had successfully completed the ESOLinfused ProTeach Program. They were asked to provide their perceptions about the two ESOL standalone courses and the ESOLinfused courses, based on their experiences as teachers of ELLs in elementary classrooms. In addition, t hey were asked to make recommendations about ways that teacher education programs could better address the realities of todays inclusive elementary classrooms. These findings, which are discussed next, are based on the participants recollections of cour ses that they took
237 from three to seven years ago. Some participants had difficulty remembering exactly what occurred. In addition, perceptions of events are based on an individuals reality and may not reflect actual events. ESOL Infused Courses Christ ina was a member of one of the first two cohorts to enroll in ESOLinfused courses. She recalled that the courses had ESOLspecific objectives, content, and assignments. The other four participants, however, did not recall objectives, content and assignments spec ific to teaching ELLs as components of these courses when they were enrolled in them They did recall that they learned about teaching minorities and learners from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. However, instruction about teaching diverse learners, in general, does not necessarily promote the development of knowledge and skills that are essential in addressing the unique linguistic and cultural needs of ELLs (Cummins, 2001; de Jong & Harper, 2005). Participants stated that they w ere able to see some applications of methods to teach economically disadvantaged and minority students to the teaching of ELLs. It is unknown if their perceived transfer of knowledge about teaching academic content to diverse learners to teaching it to ELLs was a result of participants taking ESOL standalone courses or if the lack of information about teaching content to ELLs in other courses influenced the perception that teaching ELLs was the same as teaching other learners. Future research is needed t o examine the effects of coursework that focuses on the teaching for diversity on perceptions and the development of knowledge and skills about teaching ELLs.
238 ESOL Stand Alone Courses Students enrolled in the ESOLinfused ProTeach Program are required to t ake two ESOL stand alone courses. One course is taken in their senior year and the second course is taken during their masters (fifth) year. Participants were asked to recall key experiences from the two ESOL standalone courses they had successfully completed through the lens of their actual experiences of teaching ELLs in elementary classrooms. It was necessary to prompt participants about the content and activities in these courses because of their difficulty in recalling content and tasks. Participants identified the following as applicable to their teaching of ELL: (1) second language acquisition content and related assignments; (2) classroom based field experiences; and (3) lesson planning. They did not consider self reflections about their cultural identity and their second language learning experiences or their conversations with adult international students enrolled at UF to have been relevant to their teaching of ELLs in elementary classrooms. Second language acquisition content and application Participants reported that they used their knowledge of the stages of language acquisition to differentiate instruction for ELLs based on their English proficiency levels. Four of the participants, including the two who had specialized in ESOL, found the theories of Krashen and Cummins to be foundational to their application of effective instruction of ELLs. They perceived ELLs who had scored at higher levels of English proficiency on district adopted oral/aural English proficiency assessments, which may be measures of social language proficiency rather than academic language proficiency, as similar in English language development to their native English peers. As a result, they seldom provided modifications.
239 Field experiences Participants spoke of a dis parity between their preservice field experiences and their actual experiences teaching ELLs in mainstream elementary classrooms. Their field placements were in adult ESOL classes, secondary language arts/English through ESOL classrooms, or elementary ESO L pullout classrooms. Most saw some application of teaching ELLs from these placement settings to their teaching contexts. For example, supervising teachers in their placements modified instruction based on the English proficiency levels of their student s. Whether they would have had more beneficial experiences in mainstream elementary classrooms with ELLs is unknown since none had experienced this setting. Two participants mentioned the difference between the literate ELLs they encountered during thos e placements and the less economically advantaged, low literacy students they had in their own classrooms. None made reference to the variety of how ethnicities and first languages of ELLs in field placements differed from the primarily Hispanic, Spanish speaking ELLs that they teach. One participant perceived that she had been misled by her field experiences, thinking that ESOL pullout was a model implemented by all schools. Based on the participants comments, students in the ESOL infused teacher educat ion program should be provided with the opportunities to experience field placements in settings similar to those in which they will teach. If this is not possible, video cases or requirements for students to visit mainstream elementary classrooms in the districts where they hope to teach could expose students to contexts that they are likely to encounter when teaching.
240 Lesson planning for ELLs The second ESOL standalone course required participant teachers to write multiple comprehensive lesson plans that specified language objectives, instructional and assessment modifications, grouping patterns, and other accommodations for ELLs at different proficiency levels. These assignments were intended to develop teacher expertise in addressing the linguistic an d cultural needs of ELLs while developing their academic language and content knowledge. However, participants noted that once they became teachers, they were not required to write indepth plans or target the teaching and learning of ELLs. Most teachers completed a block for each subject area they taught daily in their lesson plan books, listing page numbers, objective phrases, standards, and/or other information. The use of ESOL strategies such as providing visuals, demonstrations, and hands on cooper ative learning experiences, was documented in a manner determined by the teacher, such as writing codes in plan book blocks daily or completing an ESOL strategy checklist for each ELL every trimester. Participants perceived that the lesson planning assig nments they had to complete in their ESOL practicum course were beneficial in that they provided extensive practice in adapting lessons specifically for ELLs at various proficiency levels. Some participants indicated that those planning tasks had made them so adept at identifying language to target in instruction in their own classroom, and so aware of various ESOL strategies (an awareness that was reinforced by the requirement for teachers to document the names of strategies that they used) that they did not have to spend a dditional time planning for the instruction of ELLs. That is, they perceived that they did not have to consider what instruction was appropriate because they already knew.
241 However, based on interview data and examination of the lesso n plans they provided, as teachers, none of the participants reported creating explicit language objectives or integrating the culture of ELLs into instruction as they had practiced doing in their courses. In addition, most participants perceived that ELLs who had more advanced English proficiency did not need instructional modifications or instruction targeted to their language proficiency level though participants stated that they perceived the lesson planning assignments to be useful in preparing them t o teach ELLs, four of the five participants insisted that teaching ELLs was the same as teaching other students. This contradiction calls for research that includes observations of ProTeach graduates as they plan to teach and teach ELLs to determine what understandings and skills were actually applied in their classrooms. Self reflection One assignment that participants did not consider relevant to their experience teaching ELLs in elementary classrooms was the second language acquisition/cultural self reflection paper. Most thought that the self reflection was not something they needed t o do because they already had awareness of their own cultures and experiences learning, or attempting to learn, foreign languages. Their stance is contradicted by ESOL scholars (e.g., Moll & Arnot Hoppfer, 2005; Villegas & Lucas, 2002b) who argue that ones own culture needs to be personally examined to uncover ones own worldviews that might be tacit. It is through this self awareness that one can understand the cultural similarities and differences of others. Participants may have perceived their refl ections about their foreign language learning to be unrelated to their teaching experience because they were not dependent on the foreign language they were studying for social or academic purposes. In English
242 language environments in which the demand to learn another language is often related to college entry requirements. On the other hand, ELLs have to learn English to participate in school and society, which is something that these teacher participants have not experienced. Conversational exchange Wh ile Moll and Arnot Hoppfer (2005) stated that interactions between linguistically and culturally individuals are useful in creating awareness and understanding of linguistic and cultural diversity, four of the participants perceived the assigned conversati onal exchange with adult international students as just a task that had to be completed. It is possible that participants experienced discomfort in trying to establish rapport and communicate with individuals who had limited English proficiency or they re sented the time their meetings and follow up papers took. Although participants had been preparing for positions teaching elementary learners, this assignment involved meeting with adults. Participants may have perceived the experience differently with children, or if they had realized that they would be responsible for communicating with ELLs parents or guardians who may also be limited English speakers. Recommendations Only three recommendations were made to improve their preparation to teach ELLs in elementary classrooms: (1) add ESOLspecific objectives into ESOL infused courses; (2) include more information about legalities and procedures to provide teachers background about ESOL Program guidelines in ESOL courses; and (3) provide field experiences in mainstream elementary classrooms with ELLs. Each suggestion was only mentioned by one individual; therefore, there was no consensus. The lack of recommendations especially by participants who felt unprepared to teach
243 ELLs was surprising. An explanati on is that they did not know what they needed to know. Melissa pointed out that she did not realize the knowledge and skills she lacked until she became ESOL coordinator, and this awareness motivated her to become more knowledgeable. In conclusion, partic ipants perceived some content and activities in their ESOLrelated coursework to be more useful than other. Specifically they found practical application of second language acquisition and other theories to lesson planning as beneficial, believing it in stilled foundational knowledge and skills in planning instruction for ELLs. They did not value cultural related tasks, including self reflections about their own cultures as well as sharing cultural knowledge in conversation with adult international students. It is interesting that participants did not integrate the culture of students in their classroom and did not find assignments that addressed cultural differences in coursework as helpful in them teaching ELLs. Perceptions of Participants Who Specia lized in ESOL Because Lauren and Julie specialized in ESOL, they took three additional ESOL courses, which added depth and breadth to their preparation. Assignments, such as lesson planning for ELLs and field placements in classes with ELLs, occurred in th e ESOL specialization courses as well as in the ESOLinfused program. Both participants stated that their teacher preparation to teach ELLs in the ProTeach Program, including their specialization coursework, had adequately prepared them to teach ELLs in t he mainstream. They expressed stronger self efficacy in teaching ELLs than the other three participants who had not specialized in ESOL. However, Lauren spoke of her initial dread when a beginning level ELL was placed in her second grade classroom, and she sought advice from a teacher friend on what strategies to use. Explanations for
244 the contradiction of Laurens statement that she felt prepared to teach ELLs and her statement that she asked a friend for advice about teaching her first ELL is that she di d not want to admit that she did not take away from her ESOL specialization coursework the knowledge and skills that she needed or that she simply needed to talk to a valued colleague to gain confidence in teaching an ELL with no proficiency in English for the first time. Lauren shared that her pragmatic motivation to specialize in ESOL was based on the belief that it would help her get a job. She may have lacked the passion and commitment to learn all that was being taught about teaching ELLs. For exampl e, Lauren said that she would only want two or three ELLs who needed intensive ESOL support as members of her class, voicing her concern about the difficulty in meeting the needs of a heterogeneous group of students with a range of English proficiency and academic achievement levels. Julie, on the other hand, always had low to high English proficiency ELLs in her classroom and felt equipped to teach them. The dispositions she expressed toward ELLs were always positive; her frustrations derived from other sources, such as the departmentalization of instruction at her school as well as strict adherence to requirements to scope and sequence, which she believed did not meet the needs of her ELLs. She expressed commitment to teaching ELLs because she perceived them to need her as a teacher more than other students. She also acknowledged that she had had economic and educational advantages as a child. Julies comments portrayed her as being altruistic in nature and motivated to teach ELLs who needed her help. Perceptions of Participants Who Did Not Specialize in ESOL The three participants who did not specialize in ESOL earned good grades in their two ESOL standalone courses as well as their ESOLinfused courses. However, all
245 stated that they did not feel pr epared to teach ELLs upon graduation. Christina said that she did not realize her need for learning to teach ELLs until after she began teaching the classroom and realized that her placement experiences were different from the setting in which she taught. However, Megan blamed herself for not truly learning what she was taught and had practiced. Rather, she said that her goal had been to get done. Wing and Warne (1998) summarized literature that gives insight into the behavior of these participants. They reported that education students may form a collective student culture which often centers on a practical focus of just getting through the program, or surviving college, instead of around the ideals of the profession (p.3). Although these particip ants were physically present in ESOLrelated courses and successfully completed coursework and assignments, they likely followed some of these collective student culture guidelines for program participation. A theoretical premise of the ProTeach Program is that students are coconstructors of knowledge rather than empty vessels to be filled by teachers. Many of the instructors model the nontraditional practices, such as group work, student presentations, and discussions, to help create engagement and interaction so that students can construct knowledge and be exposed to what are considered effective practices, which they should use when they are teachers. Three of the participants acknowledged that they did not feel prepared when they began teaching. One attributed it to her not realizing the value of the content prior to actually teaching ELLs, another to her wanting to graduate, and the third to her perception that theory has little application to teaching. More research is needed to better underst and why some students lack motivation to learn about the teaching of ELLs and what can be done to create their interest and engagement.
246 Theoretical Implications of the Findings The conceptual frameworks for this study were teacher socialization and teacher perceptions. The view of teacher socialization that was adopted was the interpretative, dialectical perspective. For the purpose of this study, teacher socialization was defined as the process in which sociopolitical factors, teacher education programs and schools as institutions, interact with individuals values and beliefs in order to shape them to become participating, competent members of the teaching profession ( Achinstein et al., 2004; Brown & Borko, 2006) This view concurs with the position o f Bolster (1983) who argued that in educational research, "People must be considered as both the creators and the products of the social situations in which they live (p. 303). The frameworks of teacher socialization and teacher perceptions are inter twine d in that the belief systems in which perceptions are derived are shaped through the process of socialization. Perceptions are a reflection of what individuals believe to be true; they may not be based on the reality perceived by others or on facts (Barker et al., 2002). Hence, each person constructs their own reality based on their background and unique contextual factors, resulting in the possibility of multiple perspectives about similar experiences. The next section discusses the findings of this st udy through the lenses of teacher socialization and teacher perception theory. The discussion will follow the model of Brown and Borko (2006) and include the areas of (1) life history; (2) learning to teach ELLs; and (3) teaching ELLs.
247 Life H istory The teacher is considered to be a domain that interacts with other variables to influence teacher socialization (Aichenstein et al., 2004) and includes characteristics such as family background, education, and socioeconomic status. The participants in this s tudy had experiences as children, college students, and teachers that have shaped their perceptions. Table 31 presented teacher characteristics. Participants were influenced by their ethnicity, K 12 educational experiences, socioeconomic status, expos ure to other cultures, college education, and other factors. All of the participants were from middle class backgrounds. Christina, Lauren, and Melissa were Hispanic, Megan had Cuban and Greek heritages but considered herself to be White, and Julie was W hite. The Hispanic participants were fluent in both English and Spanish but consider English their dominant language. Megan and Julie are monolingual English speakers. All participants except Julie attended private religious schools for at least some of their K 12 education and the language of instruction was in English except for Christina who attended a bilingual school in Venezuela for one year. The participants teachers were predominately White, middleclass females. Lauren classmates were Hispani c like her. Megan and Julie attended schools with majority White populations. Melissa and Christina attended private Catholic elementary schools in the North with diverse populations; however, their secondary schools were predominately White. Christina is the only participant who has travelled extensively. Four of the five participants in this study had always wanted to be teachers. Of these, two had mothers who were teachers and one had a mother who was an administrative assistant at her school. Julie, Lauren, Megan, and Christina remembered
248 playing school with siblings as children. They likely unconsciously practiced the teaching approaches that their own teachers had used just as this researchers daughter did. Lortie (1975) concluded that, due to the hours and years they spend in schools under the tut elage of teachers, children are, in effect, teaching apprentices. From their observations and experiences with teachers, children develop a strong sense about teaching based on the instructional approaches and teacher dispositions they have been exposed t o. Only one of the participants in this study attended public schools from kindergarten to graduation, and these were located in the affluent area in which she lived. The other participants attended private parochial schools. A similarity of the schoo ls attended by participants was that the schools were considered to be high performing schools, which was important to their parents. All of the parents were involved in the participants education, and the participants were successful students, which all owed them to be accepted at UF. The school contexts that participants had experienced as students were much different than the settings in which they were situated as teachers. Four of the five participants worked in Title 1 schools that had diverse pop ulations, yet none of the participants recalled having ELLs as classmates. Therefore, they lacked exposure to ELLs as learners and to the instructional practices that addressed the backgrounds and needs of ELLs. Most participants indicated that they would like to teach at schools that had high parental involvement, like the schools they had attended as students. Participants perspectives about parental involvement likely evolved from the engagement of their
249 own parents and of their classmates parents. They may have observed their own parents participation and equated this involvement as interest in the education of their children. Learning to Teach All participants selected to attend UF, one of the largest public universities in the United States. One participant said she chose to go there because it is the best school in Florida. The university has a highly selective admittance policy which promotes a sense of status and success for those who are lucky enough to be admitted. While the population at UF is predominately White, several students are from other bac kgrounds, including some international students. The university actively seeks future faculty and students for diverse backgrounds. The ProTeach Program in the College of Education has a good reputation. It is one of the few fiveyear teacher education program that results in a Masters of Education degree and requires that students designate an academic specialization and take 12semester hours of coursework in that field. Starting in 2002, ProTeach adopted an ESOLinfusing model that allowed preservice teachers to graduate with eligibility to obtain their ESOL endorsement in addition to elementary or other areas of certification. The participants of this study graduated from ProTeach from 2002 to 2006. Since there is individual variation between instructors, course content and course activities likely were not identical for all participants. The findings about their teacher preparation were based on participants recollections from a few to several years ago; therefore, their perceptions of what occurred may not concur with actual events. The experiences of the two participants who specialized in ESOL during ProTeach had more exposure to ESOLrelated content
2 50 and ELLs. The life ex periences and teaching experiences of all participants since graduation have certainly influenced how they perceive the education and other experiences in retrospect. Participants who had specialized in ESOL perceived that ProTeach had prepared them to t each ELLs, while the other three felt a lack of confidence in teaching ELLs. T heir feelings of being unprepared may have resulted from participants not active ly engaging in their ESOLrelated coursework as those who had specialized in ESOL because the la tter group had instrumental interests in doing so. Julie felt a passion for teaching ELLs and Lauren hoped it would help her get a job. Wing and Warne (1999) concluded after reviewing teacher socialization research on the influence of teacher education program s: The consensus seems to be that most programs exert little influence on the socialization of prospective teachers (p. 7). They reported findings by Book, Byers, and Freeman that preservice teachers questioned the usefulness of methods and foundations courses even before enrolling in them and a fter completing them, students rated their impact as low. Some of the participants in this study likely held similar perspectives. They spoke of not knowing the utility of what they were taught in the ESOL courses until after they started teaching and were responsible for meeting the needs of this population of students. In this study, participants had few different recommendations about how the ESOL infused teacher preparation that they had all experienc ed could be improved. The differences in their perceptions about the relevance of what they had been taught about teaching to their actual experience teaching ELLs were dependent on the educational contexts in which they were situated and on their percept ions about the
251 needs of ELLs. A conclusion cannot be drawn about the source of the four participants perception that teaching ELLs is the same as teaching others. Standalone ESOL courses had the goal that though the same strategies might be used with all learners, why and how they were used with ELLs was different due to their unique linguistic and cultural needs. Research is needed to explore the sources of the just good teaching perception and what can be done to create greater awareness and unders tanding so that teachers can address the unique needs of ELLs. Teaching ELLs In their review of teacher socialization literature, Brown and Borko (2006) found consistency in findings that new teachers assimilated to the teaching culture of their schools. In this age of educational policy aimed at creating teacher accountability, teachers feel pressure to adopt the instructional approaches mandated by their districts (Grossman et al. 2002). Achinstein and Ogawa (2006) found that when some of the new teachers in their study resisted prescriptive educational policies, they suffered negative consequences, such as losing their jobs. In this study, participants felt the force of institutional socialization in the mandate to implement instructional practices that were determined by the powers that be, as Christina referred to those who create educational policy. The teachers who worked at Title 1 schools expressed feeling more pressure than the participant who worked at a school in an affluent residential area. Achinstein et al. (2004) found in their study that teachers who worked at Title 1 schools had more accountability pressures than those who did not. Participants simply followed the policies that were mandated though they felt frustrated by them. For example, Julie chose to go along with the scope and sequence
252 requirements that her district insisted upon though she saw this as being incompatible with effective teaching practices of ELLs. Participants did not perceive themselves to be change agents or advocates of ELLs, believing their voices would not be heard, and, therefore, chose not to assume these roles. In conclusion, the participants journeys of becoming and being teachers were influenced by their own educational experiences as children, including their parents involvement in their education. Along the way, they developed beliefs about teaching that they brought to their teacher education program and later to their teaching. As students in the ProTeach Program, some participants adhered to a collective student culture that emphasized getting through the program rather than learning from it. Some participants did not realize the practicality of what they were taught about teaching ELLs until they actually experienced teaching them in their own classrooms. When they entered the teaching profession, they were immediately faced with the pressure of accountability measures and conformed to the demands of educational policies even when they did not perceive them to be in the best interest of ELLs. Further research is needed to explore why some teachers of ELLs choose to remain silent and hide their frustration from administrators. In addition, researchers should implement course content in teacher education programs that aims to increase the awareness of preservice teachers about the process to promote change in educational settings (Fulton cited in Bransford, Darling Hammond, & LePage, 2005) and determine if it causes participants to perceive themselves as change agents and actively participate in creating reform that better meets the needs of ELLs.
253 Summary of the Contributions of This Research This research addressed a gap in the literature by examining ESOLprepared teachers perceptions about teaching and learning to teach ELLs in mainstream elementary classrooms. Participants were graduates of an ESOLinfused teacher education program. Prior research had not included participants with this background. The findings can help district and school administrators and teacher educators better und erstand what it is like to be a teacher who is responsible for the instruction of ELLs within the context of a mainstream classroom and learn to address the linguistic and cultural needs of ELLs in such a setting. Limitations of the Study This study was limited to five teacher participants in large school districts who had graduated from the fiveyear, ESOL infused Unified Elementary ProTeach Program at UF. Each had taught in elementary classrooms ELLs. Descriptions of participants and their teaching co ntexts were detailed to facilitate transferability to similar participants and settings; however, generalizations are limited because the research explored the individual experiences and perceptions of each participant who were situated in specific setting s. In depth interviews were the primary data source for this study. Interviews, along with other forms of communication, have potential shortcomings. The resulting data reflect interview situated stories, perspectives, and meanings. The quality of data wa s dependent on participants abilities to understand what is being asked and to articulate their experiences, perspectives, and interpretations of events. Participants may have the desire to be politically correct ( Wiggins & Follo cited in Hollins & Guzman, 2005) or withhold information due to em barrassment or the desire to be viewed as effective. In
254 addition, participants may be uncomfortable with the interviewer, or the interviewer might be uncomfortable with the participants. The researcher att empted to be an active listener and refrain from leading the conversation in the direction of personal biases. It was useful to re call Bakhtins (1975/1981) warning: Language is not a neutral medium that passes freely and easily into the private property of the speakers intentions; it is populated overpopulatedwith the intentions of others. Expropriating it, forcing it to submit to ones own intentions and accents, is a dif ficult and complicated process (p. 294). Given that meaning is created between two interlocutors (Bakhtin, 1981), meaning was influenced by the interaction between each participant and the researcher (Seidman, 2006). The researcher had some previous knowledge of one of the participants who she had taught in an ESOL standalone co urse. This prior relationship may have influenced the participants responses. The researcher also had previous knowledge of the two ESOL stand alone courses, having taught each several times. Researcher biases included those as a former elementary ESOL teacher, a former district ESOL specialist, an inservice and preservice ESOL teacher educator, and a graduate student specializing in ESOL. In addition, biases also included those associated with a white, middle class female. While the researcher reflect ed on biases that came to mind during data collection and data analysis, the reinterpretation of participant data, findings, and conclusions were influenced by the background, beliefs, and identity of the researcher.
255 Implications of the Study District and School Based This study examined the realities of teaching ELLs in mainstream classrooms from the perspectives of teachers who were graduates of an ESOLinfused education program. Though all teachers who participated in the study had the professional credential to teach ELLs, not all felt prepared to do so. Participants reported that many of their teacher colleagues had similar feelings. An implication of this is to provide inservice ESOL support to teachers, such as offering professional development opportunities facilitated by ESOL experts. While the schools had designated ESOL coordinators and ESOL teachers, they were typically perceived as lacking in expertise in teaching ELLs, which suggests that individuals who are assigned to such positions ma y not be formally qualified. Therefore, administrators should hire personnel who have the knowledge, skills, and dispositions related to the teaching and learning of ELLs so that ESOL coordinators and ESOL teachers can serve as mentors and instructional r esources to teachers of ELLs. Two of the participants had completed an ESOL specialization in the ProTeach Program. Administrators should be aware of the strengths and expertise that teachers such as these bring to schools and use their knowledge and ski lls to benefit colleagues and ELLs. Such teachers could serve as coaches or as advisors and mentors to other teachers. Administrators should find ways to become knowledgeable themselves about the teaching and learning of ELLs and serve as advocates for t hem. Administrators may be able to exercise greater power to create change in educational policies that do not consider the needs of ELLs. With administrators assuming such a proactive role,
256 teachers at their schools may develop more positive dispositions toward ELLs and assume personal responsibility for the learning of ELLs at all English proficiency levels Teacher Education Programs In order for future teachers to be prepared to teach ELLs, objectives, content, and activities that specifically addres s the teaching and learning of ELLs must be incorporated into teacher education courses. Four of the five participants did not recall the explicit infusion of ESOL standards into courses that were identified as ESOLinfused. Lack of visibility of ESL iss ues within the program could be due to oversight by instructors of ESOL infused courses, their lack of understanding that teaching ELLs is different from teaching other learners, or their lack of ESOL expertise. An action plan should be developed to ensur e that ESOLinfused courses and are, indeed, infused with ESOL content. In addition, instructors must be knowledgeable about teaching ELLs in order to teach preservice teachers how to do so. Most of the participants in this study held the misconception that teaching ELLs is the same as teaching other students. As a possible result, they neglected to create language objectives for ELLs or to build on the cultural backgrounds of ELLs. In addition, they did not perceive more fluent ELLs as needing support ignoring the possibility that these students may not have the needed academic language proficiency necessary for school success. ESOL standalone and ESOLinfused course faculty should implement instruction that addresses the unique linguistic and cultural needs of ELLs and show students how to differentiate language and content instruction based on these needs. Faculty should also be aware of the reality of classrooms today. While foundational theory and best practices for ELLs are taught in ProTeach c ourses, they
257 may be in opposition to the mandates of educational policies and other school contexts which affect the practice of graduates once they begin teaching. Preservice teachers need to learn how to operate within the educational system while being active in promoting change that would benefit the education of ELLs. Recommendations for Future Studies The following recommendations are made for future studies based on findings and conclusions of this research. Future research should include observations of the actual classroom practices of graduates of ESOLinfused teacher education programs in order to explore participants application of ESOLrelated learning from the teacher education program to the classroom and to understand why and how teacher graduates do or do not create and teach to language objectives, build ELLs academic language, and integrate ELLs cultural experiences into instruction. In addition, future research is needed to provide insight into whether teachers perceptions of thei r teaching ELLs match their actual practices in teaching ELLs. Future research is also recommended to examine why teachers adhere to the perspective that teaching ELLs is the same as teaching all other students, even after they have successfully completed coursework that emphasized the distinct linguistic and cultural needs of ELLs. Finally, research is needed to understand why some of the participants in this study were not cognitively engaged in their ESOL courses and explore ways to enhance student eng agement, to provide opportunities for students to be in classroom contexts similar to those where they plan to teach, and improve relevance of coursework.
258 APPENDIX A LETTER OF INVITATION TO PARTICIPATE
To: University of Flor ida ProTeach Graduates From Sandra J. Hancock, M.Ed. Re: UF ProTeach Graduates Percepti ons of and Experiences with Teaching English Language Learners in In clusive Elementary Classrooms Dear UF ProTeach Grad: I am a former elementary teacher and am currently a Doctoral Candidate at UF. I would like to invite you participate in my dissertation research! As a graduate of ProTeach, you were qualified to obtain your ESOL endorsement along with your elementary certification upon graduation since you completed two stand-alone ESOL courses and ESOL-infused methods courses. Little research exists about teachers who were prepared for English language learners (ELLs) through ESOL-infusion. In addition, research is lacking about teachers perceptions of and experiences with teaching ELLs in regular elementary classrooms. My study seeks to help fill this gap. Please share your reality of teaching ELLsyour roles, challenges, and successesand your perspectives on your ProTeach preparation. The study protocol requires that participants provide personal and professional background information and participate in two 60 to 90 minute interviews that will be scheduled at a location convenient to you (or by phone). The participants names will remain confidential. If you would like to participate in this study and provide this valuable feedback regarding your formal college preparation for teaching English l anguage learners in regular, inclusive classroom settings and let teacher educators know what its really like in the trenches, please contact me by email, phone, fax, or mail. I have attached a copy of the initial questionnaire to this letter. If you want to participate you can either fill it out using the .pdf form and return it to me via email, fax, or mail, or we can do it together during a telephone call and discuss the study further. I appreciate your consideration and look forward to hearing from you. Sincerely, Sandra J. Hancock, M.Ed. Principal Investigator Email: email@example.com 4005 SW 26th Drive, Unit D Gainesville, FL 32608 352.374.2282 (home) 352.514.5249 (cell) 352.466.0657 (fax) University of Florida School of Teaching & Learning 2423 Norman Hall P.O. Box 117048 Gainesville, FL 32611
260 APPENDIX B TEACHER INFORMATION FORM
261 TEACHER INFORMATION FORM To participate in this study you must: Be a graduate of the ESOLinfused Elementary ProTeach Program at UF Have completed a minimum of two years of teaching experience with English l anguage learners (ELLs) in your grade 25 inclusive classroom Currently have ELLs enrolled in your elementary classroom Be willing to provide personal and professional background information and meet for three 60to 90-minute interviews at a time and loc ation that is convenient for you (phone interviews can be arranged, if desired). Share artifacts, such as lesson plans, materials, and your philosophy of teaching you prepared during your ProTeach Program. Please provide the following information to let me know of your interest in participating in my study. You can call me at 352-374-2282 or 352-514 -5249 (cell) if you would like me to take down your information. I look forward to talking to you about your experiences and perspectives. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or SandraJHancock@gmail.com FAX: 352466 0657 Mail: Sandra Hancock, 4005 SW 26th Drive, Unit D, Gainesville, FL 32608 Name: Address: Telephone Number ( s ): Email Address: Semester/Year graduated from UF ProTeach Program: Professional Specialization(s) at UF (e.g., reading, childrens literature, ESOL, etc.): Date began teaching: Teaching Experience with English Language Learners School Year School Name District Grade Number of ELLs Assigned Proficiency levels of ELLs assigned (beginner, intermediate, and/or advanced) Are you responsible for teaching ELLs all subjects? Type of ESOL Support Available (e.g., School ESOL Resource Teacher) 2007 2008 2006 2007 2005 2006 2004 2005 Pl ease add additional teaching experience, if applicable.
262 APPENDIX C INFORMED CONSENT FORM Informed Consent Protocol Title: ESOL INFUSION GRADUATES PERCEPTIONS ABOUT TEACHING AND LEARNING TO TEACH EL LS IN ELEMENTARY CLASSROOMS ** Please read this consent document carefully before you decide to participate in this study. ** Purpose of the research study: The purpose of this qualitative exploratory and descriptive dissertation study is to give voice to graduates of an ESOLinfused teacher education program in order to understand, from their perspectives, the nature of being an elementary teacher of ELLs in a general education, inclusive classroom setting and their perceptions about their ESOL infused teacher preparation What you will be asked to do in the study: 1. To be interviewed individually by me three times between August 2008 and December 2008. The interviews will last approximately 6090 minutes each. You will be provided with the interview protocol prior to the days interview. Interviews will be audiotaped and transcribed by a paid transcriber and/or me. You do not have to answer any question(s) you do not wish to answer. At the beginning of each interview, you will be asked to provide a member check, that is, to confirm the accuracy of my interpretation of what you stated and to provide clarification and elaboration, as needed. 2. To participate in informal communication, via email, face to face, or by telephone, as needed, throughout the study period, in order to ask/respond to questions, provide clarification, and/or provide additional information. 3. To provide, if available, your philosophy of teaching paper that was prepared as part of your portfol io while enrolled in the ProTeach Program. 4. To provide copies of your teaching schedules, sample lesson plan book pages, sample ESOL strategy documentation sheets, and other related documents you are willing to share. 5. To ensure that your experiences and per ceptions have been accurately and fully captured, you will be provided with all interview transcripts to review. During this member check, you can recommend deletions and insertions as well as provide clarification or elaboration, as desired. 6. To participate in a group focus group session via the Internet, the telephone, or inperson, as desired, for approximately 60 minutes to obtain group consensus about perceptions of experiences Time required: 5 8 hours Risks and Benefits: I do not anticipate any risks to you during this study. In addition, I do not anticipate that you will benefit directly by participating in this study though you might feel a sense of satisfaction for contributing to a needed literature on this topic as well as for providing important feedback about your teacher education program.
263 Compensation: No financial compensation will be provided for your participation. However, you will receive a gift certificate in the amount of $25 to show my appreciation for you contributing to this important research. Confidentiality: Your identity will be kept confidential to the extent provided by law. You will be given a pseudonym. The list connecting your name to this pseudonym along with audio tapes of the interviews will be kept in a locked file in my o ffice. When the study is completed and the data have been analyzed, the list and tapes will be destroyed. Your name will not be used in any report, article, and/or presentation that results from this study. Voluntary participation: Your participation in th is study is completely voluntary. There is no penalty for not participating. Right to withdraw from the study: You have the right to withdraw from the study at anytime without consequence. Whom to contact if you have questions about the study: Sandra Hancock (352.374.2282 [home], 352.514.5249 [cell], or email@example.com [email]) 4005 SW 26th Drive, Unit D, Gainesville, FL 32608 Doctoral Committee Chair: Dr. Candace Harper (352.392.9191, ext. 299; firstname.lastname@example.org) 2423 Norman Hall, PO Box 117048, Gainesville, FL 32611 Whom to contact about your rights as a research participant in the study: IRB02 Office, Box 112250, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 326112250; phone 3920433 Agreement: I have read the procedure described above. I voluntarily agree to participate in the procedure and I have received a copy of this description. Participant: ___________________________________________ Date: _________________ Principal Investigator: ___________________________________ Date: _________________ Copy 1 : Researcher Copy 2 : Participant Copy
264 APPENDIX D INTERVIEW GUIDE Interview One Introductions and a review of the participants life history 1. Describe your family background and upbringing. 2. Describe your K 12 school experience (where attended, population, public/private, etc.). 3. What language(s) do you speak (or have studied) other than English? Where did you learn/study it (them)? Do you consider yourself proficient in listening, speaking, reading, and/or writing it (them)? 4. What are your experiences with people from cultures different than your own (consider travel, schooling, friendships, field placements, etc.)? 5. Why did you choose to become an elementar y teacher (what events shaped your career choice)? 6. What grade do you prefer teaching? Why? 7. Describe where you currently teach. What do you like/not like about it? [Did you choose to teach at this school? Why? ] 8. If you could teach at any school, where would that be? (Describe the type of school, e.g., suburban, inner city, private, etc.) Why? 9. How do you identify yourself when someone asks what you do? [Do you consider yourself a teacher? An elementary teacher? A xth grade teacher? An ESOL teacher? Other?] 10. What population(s) would/do you like to teach (minority, middle class, native/nonnative English speakers, economically disadvantaged, gifted, etc.)? Why? 11. What else would you like to share? Interview Two Member check and contemporary t eaching experiences/perceptions: 1. S ummarize/discuss past interview briefly to verify accuracy/expand on a particular point. [Do you have any questions or corrections to the transcript of the previous interview?]
265 2. Tell me about your teaching background with ELLs (school context; number of ELLs, grade(s), proficiency levels). 3. What is it like to be a teacher of ELLs in a mainstream elementary classroom? 4. Describe a typical day. Details: What are your roles and re sponsibilities with respect to being a teacher of ELLs in a general education classroom ? [In what ways are they the same or different from teaching your other students?] 5. How do you feel about your having ELLs in your classroom? Other teachers in your sch ool? Administrators attitudes? 6. Do you consider yourself to be an advocate of ELLs and their families? How? 7. How do you plan for and carry out language, literacy, and content instruction for ELLs amidst nonELLs? 8. What have been the challenges and demands for you in respect to teaching ELLs ? How have you dealt with these? What knowledge and skills have you relied on and/or developed in response? What are your strengths/weaknesses? 9. What have you found surprising about having ELLs in you classroom? 10. Are the language and cultural differences of ELLs apparent in your classroom and school? 11. What are your concerns about having ELLs in your classroom considering accountability requirements? 12. What are ways your school (administration, program structure, resources, collaboration, requirements, professional development, bilingual paraprofessionals, etc.) has (or has not) supported you to be an effective teacher of ELLs? 13. What do you need/want to know more about or learn to become more effective? 14. What else would you like to share? Interview Three Member check, meaningmaking, teacher preparation experiences/perceptions 1. S ummarize/discuss past interview briefly to verify accuracy/expand on a particular point. [Do you have any questions or corrections to the transcript of the previous interview?] 2. W hat are your perceptions about your PROTEACH preparation to teach ELLs ? 3. What were key experiences during your teacher preparation to teach ELLs? 4. How did PROTEACH prepare you to teach ELLs in a mainstream classroom setting?
266 5. In what ways has the PROTEACH program been confirmed or disconfirmed by your actual teaching experiences relative to ELLs in your elementary classrooms? 6. What are your recommendations for making PROTEACH more effective in preparing future teachers for ELLs in their classrooms? 7. What else would you like to share?
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287 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Sandra Jean Hancock is a native of Chattanooga, Tennessee. After a onesemester stint in 1974 attending college, she returned in 1982. She took one course per semester during the jour ney to her first degree until she moved to Florida in 1989 a nd began attending UF fulltime. She graduated from the College of Educations ProTeach Program with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elem entary Education in 1992 and a Master of Education degree, specializing in ES OL and Gifted Education, in 1993. Following graduation, she accepted an elementary ESOL teacher position in Hernando County, Florida, and taught for five years resigning to accept the di strict ESOL Specialist position. In two years, she was awarded a Title VII (Bilingual Education) fellowship to pursue a doctoral degr ee with an emphasis in ESOL/Bilingual Education at UF. Nearing the completion of her degree requirements in 2009, she accepted an assistant professor of early childhood pos ition at Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville, Georgia, where she remains. Mother to three talented childre n, Sandra's son, Joshua, is the Lead MPages Software Architect at Lucille Packard Children's Hospital. Sandra's sec ond eldes t child, Megan, is a Senior Advanced Quality Biomedical Engineer with Stryker Endoscopy H er youngest child, Kelly, is majoring in Art History at UF and has plans to earn a Masters degree in Historical Preservation and Urban and Regional Planning. Sandra is currently resides in Milledgeville, Georgia, wi th her adored dogs, Jack and Pippen.