Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Ellen Scales


General education teachers who teach language arts, math, science, and social studies are challenged with incorporating academic language instruction into content instruction for English language learners (ELLs). Little is known about how general education teachers use instructional strategies for teaching academic language to ELLs. A deeper understanding of teacher experiences with implementing academic language instruction to ELLs can help guide future efforts to collaborate on implementation for effective literacy programs that address ELLs’ academic language needs. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore how elementary general education teachers plan, implement, and assess academic vocabulary instruction to ELLs. The conceptual framework for this study included Cummins theory of second language acquisition. The participants included 10 general education teachers who teach language arts, math, science, and social studies at diverse elementary public schools in the Mid-Atlantic area of the United States. Teacher questionnaires and face-to-face interviews were utilized to answer the research questions. Data were analyzed via open and axial coding to generate the themes. The study findings revealed that elementary general education teachers believed that implementing academic language instruction that included instructional strategies and assessments in all four language domains, which are listening, speaking, reading and writing, was essential for academic success of ELLs. This study’s findings may positively affect social change by informing stakeholders’ efforts to develop and implement teacher professional development to support general education teachers’ efforts to provide academic language instruction to ELLs.