Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Steve P. Wells


In Midwestern high schools, English language learners (ELLs) who are enrolled in Career and Technical Education (CTE) classes transition from school to the workforce at unacceptably low levels. This loss of opportunity has been linked to CTE instructional practices. The purpose of this study was to explore the instructional practices used by CTE teachers to support ELL instruction and how the teachers perceive those practices to improve ELL transition from school to the workforce. The conceptual framework included Freire's critical consciousness theory, which holds that it is important to include learners in the learning process. The framework grounded the study by linking student-centered teaching research to improved ELL outcomes. This basic qualitative study was conducted in secondary school settings in the urban Midwest. Data were collected from 8 CTE education teachers through semistructured interviews and data analyzed by using open and a priori codes. The codes were placed into categories from which themes emerged. Primary themes indicated that CTE teachers apply certain instructional practices with ELLs and perceive that they help ELLs transition to the workforce. These practices include classroom management techniques, adapting curriculum, instructional consistency, questioning techniques, developing community partnerships, and teaching culturally relevant subject matter. A project, in the form of a policy recommendation paper, was created and may translate to an increased number of high school ELL graduates who are prepared to enter the workforce with the skills necessary to be successful. The findings contribute to positive social change through increased understanding of CTE instructional practices toward ELLs.