Exploring Teachers’ Pedagogy for English Language Learners in Mainstream Classrooms

  • Author / Creator
    Nation, Judy H
  • In Alberta the influx of immigrants and refugee families from many countries has resulted in an increasing number of minority students entering mainstream classrooms. Students may have limited English skills and in some cases none at all. These students are only able to communicate in their first language. This situation is posing challenges for mainstream teachers in addressing the academic needs of these students. Teachers who are not versed in the student’s first language are at a disadvantage. This study examined the pedagogy of three teachers who were teaching mainstream classes that contained at least 50% English language learners (ELLs). Teacher pedagogy related to teaching ELLs comprises a critical factor in facilitating student success in school.
    The purpose of this study was to explore the pedagogy of three teachers who taught ELLs, how they adapted their instructional strategies, and the supports they deemed necessary to effectively teach ELLs. The research consisted of an interpretive inquiry case study conducted over a period of 3 months in the spring of 2011. Through one-on-one interviews, three teachers described the pedagogical approaches they used when teaching ELLs of varying linguistic and cultural backgrounds and experiences. In addition to the semi-structured interviews, field notes, and classroom observations, my own reflective research journal also provided data for the study.
    In analyzing the data several themes were identified which were organized into three headings: (a) challenges faced by teachers, (b) instructional approaches employed by teachers, and (c) supports the participating teachers identified as necessary for teaching ELLs. Recommendations are made in regard to university preparation programs for pre-service teachers, the need for ongoing in-services for practicing teachers, and increasing the resources for teachers to support their teaching of ELLs in mainstream classrooms.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2014
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.