Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Steve P. Wells


Instructional practices of elementary content teachers of English language learners (ELLs) and their alignment with improved ELL academic performance need to be explored. The purpose of this case study was to explore the instructional practices of elementary teachers of ELLs and how those practices are perceived by the teachers to be aligned with improved ELL academic performance. The study is grounded in Ladson-Billings’ theory of culturally relevant pedagogy which holds that student academic achievement and cultural identity should be affirmed. The research questions focused on exploring instructional practices used by teachers to support ELL learning and the teachers’ perceptions regarding how their practices are aligned with improved ELL academic performance. The case study was bounded by 3 elementary schools in an Eastern school district. Data from lesson plans and semi-structured interviews with 9 general education teachers who met the criteria of teaching in an elementary school in the geographical area were analyzed using a priori, open, and axial coding. The findings suggest that positive strategies for cooperative learning and varied instructional practices were in use, but there is a need to build culturally appropriate and collaborative relationships with English to Speakers of Other Languages teachers, develop means to communicate with ELL parents to break cultural barriers, and create a welcoming learning atmosphere for ELLs. A policy recommendation paper was developed to improve ELL pedagogy in content classes. Improved instruction for ELLs will contribute to positive social change by increasing ELL students’ academic achievement.