Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Culturally competent ELL teachers: An examination of their epistemological beliefs and reflective practices
by Barnett, Jason Brent, Ed.D., The University of Alabama, 2011, 159; 3461026
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this study was to identify areas of commonality, if any, among the practices, knowledge, and beliefs of successful teachers of English Language Learners’ (ELL) cultural competencies in northeast Alabama. The study’s participants were identified as exemplary educators of ELL students by their principal or another supervisor within their school or district.

The research illustrating the impact those teachers’ epistemological beliefs or their reflective practice’s had on student outcomes was used as a guide for this study. This study examined the epistemological beliefs and reflective practices of exemplary teachers of ELL students and was based on the assumptions that: (a) teacher epistemology is an important component of cultural competency, (b) teachers’ use of reflective practice is an important component of cultural competency, and (c) commonalities can be identified among teachers’ beliefs and practices related to educating ELL students. The final assumption was that if the identified effective teachers of ELL students had higher levels of epistemological beliefs and/or were more reflective, it would be beneficial to ask practitioners to engage in activities that transform their epistemologies and change their reflective capabilities.

The study procedures included gathering demographic information regarding experience and training, conducting an interview that pertained to the factors in Schommer’s Epistemological Survey and to Arredondo Rucinski and Bauch’s Reflective, Ethical, and Moral Assessment Survey (REMAS) that asked questions about how their teachers’ practices were implemented and how these practices are enacted in the classroom. The researcher then transcribed and analyzed the interview data to identify connecting statements and common themes in the interviews.

This study described commonalities among exemplary teachers of ELL students. The participants were found to have sophisticated levels of epistemological beliefs and were found to be reflective in their practices and beliefs. Additionally, the participants were found to use strategies that engaged their students through active participation and multiple modes of inquiry. The findings suggested that instructional leaders should develop the beliefs and skills concerning epistemology and reflective practice among their faculty to increase teacher capacity.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Rucinski, Daisy Arredondo
Commitee: Dagley, David, Eady, Isreal, McKnight, Douglas, Newton, Rosemary
School: The University of Alabama
Department: Instructional Leadership
School Location: United States -- Alabama
Source: DAI-A 72/09, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: English as a Second Language, Educational leadership
Keywords: Cultural competence, ELL, Education, English language learners, Epistemology, Multicultural, Reflection, Reflective practice, Teacher
Publication Number: 3461026
ISBN: 9781124740072
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