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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

An examination of an English language development Professional Learning Community
by Vargas, Lilia A., Ed.D., California State University, Fullerton, 2012, 140; 3528606
Abstract (Summary)

California has the largest enrollment and fastest growing population of English Language Learners (ELLs) in the country. Just as ELLs enter school with diverse academic, linguistic, cultural, and social assets, teachers also enter the classroom with varying levels of preparation, skills, experiences, and knowledge about how to meet the cultural and linguistic needs of this student group. Despite the busyness of a school and daily interaction with others, teachers may find themselves feeling isolated once they step into their classrooms. The purpose of this study was to examine the knowledge, skills, and perceptions of a select group of school leaders within the English Language Development Curriculum Improvement Team (ELD CIT). The ELD CIT represented a cross section of school leaders across the district and operated as a Professional Learning Community (PLC). The following questions guided the study: (a) what was the knowledge base of teachers and administrators who participated in the ELD CIT with regard to differentiating instruction in Language Arts for ELLs? (b) how did perceptions about ELD and ELLs influence the ELD CIT participants' instructional practices? and (c) how were teachers' knowledge and perceptions used in the development of the ELD CIT professional learning community?

Through the use of a constructivist framework, questionnaires, focus group interviews, classroom observations, artifacts, observation field notes, and analysis, the following five themes emerged: (a) participants held affirmative views about their ELLS and held high expectations about their students' abilities to learn, (b) participants acquired the knowledge and learned specific instructional strategies that allowed them to differentiate instruction for their ELLs, (c) the collaborative model of the ELD CIT strengthened and validated their abilities to provide effective instruction to their ELLs, (d) a culture of appreciation characterized the climate of the ELD CIT and participants' classrooms, and (e) there is the need for all teachers to have the opportunity to participate in this type of collaboration in order to share ideas, knowledge, experiences, and expertise. The implications of these findings supported the need for school leaders to engage in meaningful conversations about ELLs and their linguistic and cultural needs at a local and state level.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Ordonez-Jasis, Rosario
School: California State University, Fullerton
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 74/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: English as a Second Language, Instructional Design, Elementary education
Keywords: Case study, English language development, English language learners, Equity, Professional learning communities, Second language acquisition
Publication Number: 3528606
ISBN: 978-1-267-61764-4
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