Date of Conferral

2017

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Debra S. Beebe

Abstract

At an international school in Taiwan, English learners have struggled to meet the U.S. national average in vocabulary on standardized testing instruments. This problem has become more significant since 2009. The purpose of this research was to conduct a case study on successful vocabulary teachers to determine their perceptions of effective teaching. Knowles' andragogy, Brookfield's self-directed, experiential learning, and Vygotsky's social constructivist framework provided the conceptual framework for this study. The research questions focused on teachers' perceptions of why they were successful in teaching vocabulary in English. The study site had access to quantitative data regarding previous standardized testing results; however, there was little information about what was causing these teachers to be successful. The primary data collection method was individual interviews with 5 teachers whose success in teaching vocabulary in English was determined by previous students' standardized testing results and the administrator's recommendation. The teachers' perceptions were analyzed using a structural coding process to derive key words, categories, and themes. Findings revealed the needs for increased scaffolding for teachers and students, a purposeful and supportive learning environment, and meaningful context and comprehensible content. This study also included developing a professional learning workshop to enhance the knowledge of all teachers regarding vocabulary instruction. Enhanced knowledge could result in teachers implementing best practices to enable all students, especially English learners, to improve their vocabulary development, which over time may lead to proficiency and mastery in academics and empower students to succeed academically.