Fischler College of Education: Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2019

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Abraham S. Fischler College of Education

Advisor

Charlene Desir

Committee Member

Gina Peyton

Abstract

Increasing numbers of English-language learners with limited or interrupted formal education are entering schools across the United States. This new trend is affecting school districts with new challenges as high school teachers of English speakers of other languages are not prepared to address the beginning literacy needs of students with limited or interrupted formal education. In addition, students with limited or interrupted formal education are encountering challenges in high school as they are simultaneously learning a new language and academic content in a new culture in addition to learning how to read and write for the first time in their lives. Moreover, additional challenges that arise with this group of students involve addressing their socioemotional and acculturation needs.

This qualitative study examined how high school teachers of English speakers of other languages in a small urban mid-Atlantic school district integrated social and academic English-development skills for students with limited or interrupted formal education. To accomplish this, the researcher collected data by conducting eight individual teacher interviews and six classroom observations. The researcher also gathered student background information, which included assessment scores that aided during the analysis of classroom observations.

Five general themes emerged from data analysis: (a) meeting the socioemotional needs of students with limited or interrupted formal education by building relationships, (b) differentiating instruction to meet the academic needs of students with limited or interrupted formal education, (c) meeting the beginning literacy needs of students with limited or interrupted formal education who have limited knowledge of literacy instruction, (d) lack of integration into the school culture and students creating their own community, and (e) the power of students’ native languages. The findings of this study will assist school districts across the United States to focus on the areas of needs to provide high-quality educational opportunities to students with limited or interrupted formal education. The gathered information will also contribute to enhance teaching practices that benefit the socioemotional, academic, and acculturation needs of this unique student population.

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