This study investigated elementary teachers’ perceptions of linguistically diverse students (LDS). Using Sociocultural Theory as a lens, nine elementary teachers responded to a case study dilemma about a LDS. This study was guided by the following question : How do elementary teachers from the same teacher preparation program perceive the LDS they educate? Data were analyzed using qualitative methods, including domain analysis. The majority of teachers associated the following perceptions with the LDS case: concern for the student, use of deficit language to describe student, assumption that the student’s families had limited English proficiency, and difficulties and assumptions surrounding the identification of LDS with learning disabilities. Related to their perceptions, teachers reported they would engage in varied professional, grouping, and instructional practices when educating LDS. The following five factors lead to predictive patterns within the data: teachers’ school setting (urban, rural, suburban), school’s percentage of students with native English speakers, school’s percentage of students who qualify for special education services, teachers’ language education coursework, and the teachers’ classroom setting). Implications for LDS, their teachers, schools, and teacher educators are discussed.


Language, Linguistic Diversity, Teachers’ Perceptions, Teacher Education, Special Education

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
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