Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




JoeAnn Hinrichs


For 4 years, a northern local district in Virginia conducted an intensive staff training on

English language learner (ELL) instruction to settle a United States Department of Justice complaint. The local problem was that ongoing professional development to build teachers' instructional skills has not significantly resulted in ELL students' academic improvement. The purpose of this study was to explore and investigate teachers' perceptions of the mandated English learner Professional Learning Plan Professional Development to help address the instructional needs of ELLs. Guskey's characteristics of effective professional development and Bandura's self-efficacy theory provide the conceptual framework for the study. The research questions were designed to examine teachers' perceptions of the needs and influence of professional development for teachers of ELLs. A case study design was used to capture the insights of 5 elementary school teachers through semistructured interviews; a purposeful sampling process was used to select the participants. Emergent themes were identified through open coding, and the findings were developed and checked for trustworthiness through member checking, rich descriptions, and researcher reflexivity. The findings revealed that teachers recognize the need for increased preparedness, instruction informed by colleagues and team support, and on-going professional development. A professional development project was created to provide coteaching and co-planning instructional strategies for teachers to increase their knowledge and skills to instruct ELLs. This study has implications for positive social change by offering strategies and approaches for improving ELL classroom instructional practices.

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