Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Students' and teachers' perceptions of challenges pertaining to the acquisition of academic English
by Olvera, Catalina, Ed.D., California State University, Fullerton, 2014, 195; 3580205
Abstract (Summary)

The current case study was conducted to examine the perceptions of English learners (ELs) who have not been reclassified after attending a public school for at least 6 years, as well as the perceptions of their teachers. The research questions this study investigated were: (1) What do nonreclassified ELs in the sixth grade perceive as the challenges faced during the process of acquiring academic English? and (2) What do teachers of ELs perceive are the factors that impede ELs' development of academic English proficiency, preventing them from being reclassified by the end of six years in a public school? The conceptual framework consisted of five concepts: (a) historical, political and social influences on ELs, (b) programs for ELs, (c) a description of ELs, (d) the problems of reclassification and the characteristics of long-term English learners (LTELs), and (e) teacher expectations. The theoretical foundation informing this study was critical care to counter deficit-based thinking. The goal of the study was not to critique individual teachers but to examine what was happening in the profession of teaching that was impacting some students' ability to become proficient in English. This study included focus groups and one-on-one interviews, as well as an examination of report card comments. The study utilized purposeful sampling. Five teachers and six students were interviewed. There were five themes derived from both teachers' and students' perceptions in reference to the research questions: (a) the EL profile, (b) teacher perceptions of parents (c) connecting to the learning and to motivation, (d) engagement in learning and teaching, and (e) instruction. Overall, the findings support that teachers' perceptions are grounded in deficit thinking, and the student responses indicated they had internalized these beliefs themselves. However, this study explained teacher and student perceptions using a strengths-based approach to demonstrate how to support ELs. Educators may find it useful to interview their own students as a form of self-review process in order to become more aware of their teaching methods and how students internalize the instruction.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Oropeza, Maria
School: California State University, Fullerton
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 75/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Elementary education, Teacher education
Keywords: Culural wealth, Deficit view, Long term English learner, Minorities, Second language acquisitions, Strength based
Publication Number: 3580205
ISBN: 978-1-303-89066-6
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