Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




JoeAnn Hinrichs


Teachers are experiencing a change in practice, from teacher-centered to student-centered, which affects their work with English learners (ELs) in third through fifth grade mathematics classrooms. The implementation of student-centered discourse practices is essential to orchestrating productive mathematical discussions. However, the common practice is teacher-centered instruction where teacher talk is prevalent. Although the school district in this study provided professional development (PD) to address student-centered practices, PD for teaching ELs to interact in English in their mathematics classrooms remained to be addressed. The purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of teachers’ experiences with new discourse practices and to identify the types of PD that would best support teachers in implementing these new practices with ELs. Knowles’s adult learning theory of andragogy was the conceptual framework supporting this basic qualitative study that included semistructured interviews with 12 third through fifth grade teachers at schools with at least 10% ELs. Open and axial coding with constant comparison were used to develop themes. Findings revealed that participants continued to struggle with students’ academic vocabulary and language development in mathematics. Also, participants need further PD for implementing equitable discourse practices, which includes virtual tools as well as scaffolded instruction for ELs. Lastly, most of the third through fifth grade mathematics teacher participants expressed a desire for collaborative PD learning with EL specialists. Based on these findings, 3 days of PD eLearning sessions were created. These PD eLearning sessions may also be used by other districts and educational organizations, replicating them to use in other areas to foster social change by promoting EL’s academic growth.