Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Peter Kiriakidis


English language learners (ELLs) at a public elementary school in the southeastern United States had not been passing state tests on literacy. Researchers have found that teachers must be adequately prepared to use instructional practices in mainstream classrooms to help ELLs increase language acquisition and pass state tests in literacy. The purpose of this case study was to examine the experiences of Grade 3 literacy teachers teaching ELLs in a mainstream classroom at the study elementary school in order to understand their instructional challenges. The conceptual framework was based on Bandura's social cognitive theory in order to understand how these teachers might improve their instructional practices. A purposive sampling technique was used to identify potential participants. Data were collected through individual semistructured interviews with 4 Grade 3 literacy teachers teaching ELLs. Data were analyzed using open coding and thematic analysis to identify emergent themes. The themes identified were inadequate professional development, lack of support at school, and lack of parental support impacting language acquisition of ELLs. Findings of this study can be used by school administrators, curriculum planning educators, and area superintendents to make decisions regarding the training of literacy teachers who teach ELLs. Based on findings from the study, a professional development program was developed for literacy teachers who teach ELLs to help them prepare students to graduate from high school. Implications for positive social change include providing strategies for literacy teachers at the study site to help ELLs pass standardized tests.