The purpose of this study was to identify pedagogical and non-pedagogical factors that affect the academic achievement of English Learner (EL) students in the area of language arts at Dr. Albert Schweitzer Elementary School in Anaheim, California. The researcher conducted an exploratory multiple case study to develop a comprehensive, contextual understanding of Schweitzer School's third grade teachers' instructional practices and pedagogical beliefs during the 2008-2009 school year. Data for this study were collected from four sources: teacher observations, student test scores, teacher interviews, and teacher questionnaires.
Participants indicated that there were several pedagogical factors that affected student achievement and that these instructional practices were evident across the four participants' classrooms and supported by their belief systems. The two participants whose EL students showed the highest average gains in language arts had common pedagogical strategies that were unique when compared to those of their counterparts. These strategies included opportunities for critical thinking, carefully scaffolded instruction, and high expectations that their EL students would perform at grade level.
In regard to non-pedagogical influences, all participants felt that factors such as student poverty, parental education level, and student mobility were neutralized by effective teaching. However, participants had varying perspectives in regard to the degree of importance of parental involvement for EL student achievement, with the participant who posted the highest academic gains indicating that parental involvement was essential to EL success.
Recommendations for educational policy included facilitating professional development for teachers to address the monitoring of EL strategies and instructional scaffolding; enforcing the notion that all EL teachers maintain high expectations that their ELs can and will become proficient at grade-level standards in language arts; encouraging parental involvement at the classroom and site level; providing parent workshops for EL parents to educate them in regard to the educational system and how to maximize their children's educational experience; and increasing instructional time for ELs through before- and after-school extended-day tutoring, intersession teaching, and summer school opportunities.
|School:||California State University, Fullerton|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 73/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||English as a Second Language, Elementary education, Literacy, Reading instruction|
|Keywords:||Effective teaching, English language learners, Language arts, Pedagogy|
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