Graduation Year

2007

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Secondary Education

Major Professor

J. Howard Johnston, Ph.D.

Keywords

ESOL, ESL, Subject area, Perceptions, LEP

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the attitudes of high school social studies teachers who had English Language Learners (ELL) mainstreamed in their social studies classes. In the school district in which the study took place, approximately 70% (n=240) of the high school social studies teachers had ELL students in their classrooms. For the quantitative portion of the survey, 344 surveys were given to each social studies department chairperson in the county to be completed by all the teachers who currently had ELL students in their social studies classroom. For the qualitative portion of the study, eight high school social studies teachers were interviewed as to their attitudes towards mainstreaming ELL students. Both the survey and interview instruments were developed by Reeves (2002) when she measured teacher attitudes towards mainstreaming ELL students. While a majority of teachers appreciated the cultural diversity which ELL students brought to the classroom, more than three-fourths of the teachers reported that they would prefer ELL students not being in their social studies classrooms until they have reached a minimum level of English proficiency. While a broad spectrum of attitudes were reported towards support teachers received, many survey and interview participants did not feel that the training offered in university coursework or from the school district was particularly beneficial in preparing them to teach ELL students. A clear majority of teachers reported time for both planning and instructional delivery as major obstacles when ELL students are mainstreamed in content area classes. Finally, a majority of teachers (66%) supported making English the official language in the United States. Recommendations for future research and for future policy makers were reported in the final section of the study.

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