TitleELL-focused content area professional learning in a community of practice
NameMcGriff, Mary Crawford (author), Curran, Mary E (chair), Ryan, Sharon K (internal member), Lattimer, Penelope E (internal member), Rutgers University, Graduate School of Education,
English language--Study and teaching (Elementary)--Foreign speakers,
Language arts--Correlation with content subjects
DescriptionAs English language learner (ELL) enrollment in suburban schools increases, so does the need for ELL-focused professional learning. There has been limited research investigating suburban secondary teachers’ experiences in ELL-oriented professional development. Therefore, this study examines the following questions: 1. How do suburban middle school content area teachers experience participation in an ELL-oriented reflective inquiry group? a. What questions, challenges and interests do these teachers identify as priorities in their ELL-oriented professional learning? b. How does the study of these questions, challenges and interests unfold as teachers interact in a reflective inquiry group? 2. How are the ELL-oriented instructional approaches studied during professional development actually enacted in these teachers’ practice? 3. How do the opportunities or constraints present within a suburban middle school structure impact the content area literacy instruction they provide for the ELLs in their classrooms? Method A qualitative case study methodology was employed to investigate the interactions of five content area teachers and one ESL teacher during eight ELL-focused professional learning sessions over a thirteen-week period. Data were gathered from professional learning sessions, intermittent interviews, periodic classroom observations and related documents. Data were coded to identify common themes relative to participants’ interactions during sessions that focused on ELL-oriented comprehension scaffolding tools, creating opportunities for authentic classroom participation and culturally responsive pedagogy. Findings The school’s interdisciplinary team design and lead teacher framework were potent validating sources that heightened participants’ agency and mediated interactions during sessions. Team-based content teachers were less receptive to culturally responsive strategies and scaffolding measures that promoted ELL / non-ELL interaction. Yet when attendance was sustained, interest in these concepts increased. Participants who acted as leaders during sessions modeled and actively supported the learning of co-participants, whether or not they officially held lead teacher positions in the school. The ESL teacher, who held an institutionally marginalized position, interacted in a commensurately marginalized manner. Significance Findings highlight the need to better utilize suburban secondary schools’ institutional features to promote sustained ELL-focused professional learning. This includes integrating the ESL teachers’ role within these central school structures.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references
Noteby Mary Crawford McGriff
CollectionGraduate School of Education Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.