Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education and School of Criminal Justice


Judith B. Galician

Committee Member

Sherry Burke


Pre-referral, English as a second language, perceptions


This dissertation explored the pre-referral perceptions and procedures employed by general education teachers when working with English as a second language (ESL) elementary students. As the demographic landscape of classrooms becomes increasingly diverse, understanding the perspectives and practices of general education teachers is crucial for fostering an inclusive educational environment.

The research employed a qualitative research approach, using interviews to gather insights from a representative sample of general education teachers. Through a comprehensive analysis of pre-referral processes, the study aimed to identify the existing perceptions, challenges, and strategies utilized by teachers in addressing the needs of ESL students before formal referral for special education services.

Key findings highlighted four main themes: teacher preparedness, professional development, previous experience with ESL students, and involvement of the ESL teacher. The study contributes to the broader discourse on inclusive education and provides practical implications for professional development programs to enhance teacher efficacy in supporting linguistic and cultural diversity within the general education setting.

This research underscored the importance of acknowledging and addressing the pre-referral phase as a pivotal stage in the educational journey of ESL students, paving the way for improved collaboration between general education and ESL specialists, and ultimately, enhancing the overall educational experience for English language learners in elementary schools.

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