Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Steve Wells


In an Eastern U.S. school district, little is understood about how elementary general education teachers apply instructional strategies for English Language Learners (ELLs) in the classroom and which strategies they perceive support academic achievement. The purpose of this basic qualitative study was to explore elementary general education teachers' reported application of ELL instructional strategies and their perceptions of how those strategies support ELL academic achievement. The study's conceptual framework consisted of Vygotsky's sociocultural theory, which infers that learning is a social process guided by interactions with one's environment, people, and culture. Also framing this study was Krashan's second language acquisition theory, which infers that language is attained though one's strong desire to interact with the world around them. Two research questions were used to investigate the reported ELL instructional strategies used by teachers and how teachers perceive those strategies support ELLs' achievement. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 11 elementary general education teachers. Volunteers were recruited from schools having ELL populations of 30% or more. Interview data were analyzed by using open and a priori codes and thematic analysis. The findings indicated that participants used familiar instructional strategies and consistently applied them for the whole class. Additionally, participants perceived ELLs' academic confidence and connecting concepts with their primary language as important to academic achievement. This study contributes to positive social change through a deeper understanding of the ELL instructional strategies that may benefit elementary teachers and stakeholders. A 3-day professional development was created based on the findings to improve ELL academic progress in the district.