Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Fall 8-31-2014

Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


David Heflich

Committee Member

Roberta Schomburg


Strategies for Improving Instruction for English Language Learners and Culturally Diverse Student Populations. Turanza D. Jackson, 2014: Applied Dissertation, Nova Southeastern University, Abraham S. Fischler School of Education. ERIC Descriptors: English (Second Language), Multicultural Education, Cultural Awareness, English Language Learners

This applied dissertation was designed to determine effective strategies that promote academic success for high school students of diverse cultural populations, particularly students learning English. Many ineffective strategies used by teachers in English-language classrooms also lack the culturally accepting element. Students from various sociocultural and linguistically diverse backgrounds are experiencing limited academic engagement because of educators’ deficiency in cultural perspectives. The problem addressed was the need to improve educational opportunities and academic engagement for English language learner (ELL) students and the diverse needs of students from various cultural backgrounds.

A qualitative research design was conducted by examining the instructional methods and leadership practices of participating faculty and staff at a high school servicing ELL students and culturally diverse student populations. This research design focused on understanding strategies for improved performance of ELL students and diverse student populations in the teaching and learning environment with particular interest on how faculty were engaged in using specific strategies. Through the collection of interview, documentation, and observational data, detailed conceptual theory was developed.

A constant comparative analysis of the data revealed 5 themes that support existing theories in the literature: student engagement, classroom strategies, environmental conditions, teacher–student relationships, and challenges that impede performance. This study resulted in 3 main conclusions. First, a strong relationship exists between students’ increased classroom engagement and improved student performance. Next, student engagement is influenced by 4 main practices selected by teachers: grouping, relevant topics, collaboration, and differentiation. Finally, 3 factors that greatly affect student performance are relationship dynamics, cultural perceptions, and external challenges.

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