Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Patricia N. Anderson


The problem examined in this study was that English language learners (ELLs) are not meeting readiness proficiency, which contributes to the growing learning gap between ELLs and their native English-speaking peers. The purpose of this qualitative study was to gain an understanding of prekindergarten teachers' perspectives about what is needed to increase their effectiveness in teaching ELLs. The conceptual framework for the study was Vygotsky's sociocultural theory. Prekindergarten teachers' perspectives were examined to understand how they assess, create goals, and monitor the learning progress of ELLs as well as how they can be further supported by colleagues and administration. Data were collected from semistructured interviews with 10 prekindergarten teachers who worked with ELLs. Participant responses were transcribed and analyzed using in vivo coding. Codes were grouped into categories and categories were grouped to make 5 themes used to address the research questions. The results showed that the participating prekindergarten teachers act as the 'More knowledgeable other' by meeting their students' needs through the use of data from formal and informal assessments to create and monitor goals and design classroom activities. The results also indicated that the prekindergarten teachers felt that they need a curriculum that meets the needs of their ELLs and targeted training that helps them to address the distinct learning needs of the ELLs in their class in order to support their instructional practices with ELLs. Implications for positive social change include a specialized professional development and a curriculum that assist prekindergarten teachers in supporting the development of ELLs' readiness skills, which may help to lessen the achievement gap between ELLs who attend prekindergarten and their peers who are native English speakers.