Language Teachers' Perceptions of Barriers to New Language Acquisition for English Language Learners

Maryse Lorie Austin-Archil, Walden University

Abstract

Walden University

College of Education

This is to certify that the doctoral study by

Maryse Lorie Austin-Archil

has been found to be complete and satisfactory in all respects,

and that any and all revisions required by

the review committee have been made.

Review Committee

Dr. Peter Kiriakidis, Committee Chairperson, Education Faculty

Dr. Nori Mora, Committee Member, Education Faculty

Dr. Glenn Penny, University Reviewer, Education Faculty

Chief Academic Officer and Provost

Sue Subocz, Ph.D.

Walden University

2019

The research site was an urban public high school. The study problem was that language teachers reported to school administrators challenges they had when teaching English language learners (ELLs) because these teachers were not trained to teach language acquisition to ELLs. The purpose of the study was to examine the perceptions of language teachers regarding the barriers to new language acquisition when teaching ELLs in an urban public high school. The conceptual framework was the theory of second language acquisition, developed by Krashen, which posits that ELLs may improve their proficiency in English by using cognitive activities, intense projects, and practical applications. For this basic qualitative study, the sample consisted of 10 language teachers who taught ELLs and who were selected using purposive sampling. Data were collected via semistructured interviews and analyzed using line-by-line thematic analysis for emergent themes. The themes were language teachers (a) applied the theory of second language acquisition, (b) used hands-on cognitive activities and intense projects to teach ELLs, and (c) needed professional development on how to teach ELLs. A 3-day professional training for language teachers and school administrators was developed to address the study findings. The training includes teaching strategies to accommodate the academic needs of ELLs. Social change (helping ELLs graduate from high school) may occur with the proper training of language teachers.