Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Dr. Michael Brunn


The problem addressed in this study is that English Language Learners (ELLs) in a California school district are not meeting the targeted yearly grade level expectations or making the same progress as non-ELL students. Meeting this goal will help close the achievement gap between ELLs and their native-English speaking peers. The purpose of the qualitative study was to explore the local problem and identify how teachers provided academic instruction to support ELLs with academic instruction and investigate perceived causes of the inadequate progress in learning English and the academic content. The research was guided by Vygotsky's theory of development and the social/cognitive interactions with Ladson-Billings' approach to cultural relevance. These theories support how teachers and students maintain an active cognitive and social learning approach. The qualitative study investigated teachers' instructional practices for ELLs through classroom observations and interviews. Purposeful sampling identified 12 potential participants who met the criteria of providing ELL instruction. Four ELL teachers participated through observations and interviews. The data analysis examined, identified, and interpreted themes. Data saturation was reached as no new themes emerged. The following 4 themes resulted: (a) classroom environment, (b) curriculum content, (c) academic language, and (d) differentiation. A 3-Day PD was designed to guide future ELL pedagogy and strategic activity to promote social change by providing educators opportunities to practice research based ELL instructional approaches to teaching. The end goal is for improved academic and social achievements for ELL students.