Current population trends have revealed a huge influx of non-native English speaking students in the mainstream classroom across the United States. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore what mainstream teachers are doing to meet the academic needs of English Learners (ELs) in their classrooms on a daily basis. The researcher used semi-structured open-ended interview questions in order to gather data to answer five research questions; 1) How do teachers use data to plan for differentiated instruction? 2) How do teachers describe their experiences with differentiated instruction methods in planning reading lessons? 3) What processes do teachers go through when differentiating process, content and product during differentiated instruction? 4) What training do teachers receive to help them become effective at teaching EL students? 5) What challenges do teachers have when using differentiated instruction? Participants of the study were purposefully selected from a title one school in the Southeastern, United States with a high population of ELs. In order to be eligible to participate within the study teachers were required to teach either the third, fourth or fifth grade and have had at least 80% of their EL students meet expectations on the state mandated test in reading. The data analysis revealed six themes; 1) Collaboration 2) A huge inventory of research bases instructional strategies 3) Data-driven instruction 4) Well trained 5) Rigor 6) Learning community (7) Courage and Resilience Findings also suggested that differentiation of choice as well as interest is essential for creating an environment to meet the academic needs of ELs. Further perceptions included; using differentiation in the mainstream classroom was time- consuming, difficult to plan for, and often was met with a lack of resources. Even though, participants identified these challenges they felt that differentiated instruction was the only way to meet the academic needs of ELs. Recommendations for further study included broadening the research study to include classroom observations as well as teachers who are new to teaching ELs in the mainstream classroom setting. Further recommendations for qualitative studies included EL student perceptions of their successes and failures when participating differentiated instruction in the mainstream classroom.
|Commitee:||Dyer, Marianne, Gibson, Adrienne|
|Department:||School of Education|
|School Location:||United States -- Minnesota|
|Source:||DAI-A 76/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||English as a Second Language, Elementary education, Teacher education|
|Keywords:||Data driven, Differentiated instruction, English as a second language, English learners, Learning community, Meeting the needs of all learners|
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