Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Sarah Hough


For the past 7 years in a public Midwestern school district, 75% of the English learners (ELs) in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades have performed below proficiency on the state examination. To address the declining academic achievement, district administration required that K-5 teachers attend professional development (PD) that featured culturally and linguistically responsive (CLR) instructional practices for ELs. Despite district wide PD, school administration did not monitor implementation of these practices and student achievement continued to decline. This qualitative bounded case study was grounded in Vygotsky's constructivism and Krashen's second language acquisition theories. The purpose of this study was to explore teachers' perceptions and use of CLR instructional practices when teaching ELs. Data were collected via 23 individual interviews with and 22 observations of teachers, who had taught ELs within the last 3 years. Data were analyzed using typological analysis and a priori codes were established based on the typologies. Teachers reported they were using academic language and native language in class, but these instructional practices were not supported in observation data. Furthermore, teachers reported that using the student's native language, incorporating language and content, lack of instructional time, and a need for further training in how to teach ELs were barriers that affected implementation of CRL instructional practices. Based on the findings, a 3-day professional development was created to increase teachers' knowledge of how to develop ELs' academic language, to use ELs' native language in the classroom, and to overcome classroom barriers. These endeavors may contribute to positive social change when administrators provide teachers with CLR instructional practices, ELs may increase their academic performance.