Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Michael Vinella


English learners (ELs) at a middle school in California were not meeting federal accountability requirements in English language arts (ELA). ELs lacking proficiency in ELA often drop out of high school and live in poverty as adults. The purpose of the study was to examine teachers' perceptions of their self-efficacy to implement effective pedagogical strategies to help ELs develop ELA proficiency. A case study design was used to investigate the problem through the lens of second language acquisition theory. The purposeful sample included 11 middle school language arts teachers. Participants completed an online anonymous survey, and responses were analyzed using open coding and analytical coding. The following 3 themes emerged from the data: teachers varied in their perceptions of their efficacy to support ELs, teachers perceived their teacher preparation and professional development experiences to be inadequate in preparing them to support ELs, and teachers blamed students and parents for the lack of proficiency in ELA. A professional development project was designed to address the findings and to help build teachers' pedagogical skills and self-efficacy in instructing ELs. Positive social change may be promoted by increasing teachers' ability to effectively instruct ELs, which will increase their efficacy with this population. ELs will benefit by possessing the reading, writing, and communication skills necessary for high school and postsecondary success and to be competitive in the workforce.