Instructional Practices of English as Second Language Teachers

Karen Ann Wallis, Walden University


The past decade has seen a significant increase in the emergence of English Language Learners (ELLs) in the United States. Nationally, a disparity in achievement exists between ELLs and non-ELLs. Relatedly, this problem was evident in a northeastern school district, where ELLs had not made Adequate Yearly Progress 2 years in a row. The purpose of this study was to examine how much time English as Second Language (ESL) teachers spend on a variety of best instructional practices. Constructivism, Vygotsky's zone of proximal development, and Tomilinson's differentiated instruction were the frameworks used to guide this research. A within-group design was utilized to identify how much time 25 ESL educators spent on 5 types of instructional practices. The Survey of Instructional Practices for ESL/ELD Teachers for Grades K-12 was used to collect data. A 1-way analysis of variance revealed statistically significant differences between the amounts of time ESL teachers spent on the 5 instructional practices. The greatest time was spent on individualized instructional activities and a variety of educational tasks. Less time was spent on small group activities, and the least amount of time was spent on inquiry-based activities and technology activities. Findings supported the creation of a professional development for ESL teachers at the local site focusing on (a) best instructional practices for teaching ESL students, (b) professional learning community network of support, and (c) resources to support educators in their lesson planning of instructional activities. The study findings and culminating project may positively affect social change by improving ESL instruction at the local site and ultimately decreasing the disparity in achievement between ELL and non-ELL students.