Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Adult, Career and Higher Education

Major Professor

Waynne B. James, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Edward C. Fletcher, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Ann Cranston-Gingras, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Thomas E. Miller, Ed.D.


Cultural and Linguistic Diverse, Professional Teaching Certificate, multi-cultural, Teacher Professional Development


There has been little research combining both groups of students who were English Language Learners (ELLs) and Exceptional Student Education (ESE) students in relation to teacher attitudes and self-efficacy. The purpose of this study was to compare teacher attitudes and self-efficacy related to instructing either ELLs with or without disabilities in elementary schools

Teachers from six elementary schools in the XYZ Excellence School District participated in a 52-item comprehensive survey. Two questionnaires and the demographic form were combined to create one comprehensive questionnaire totaling 52 questions for the purposes of this study. Teachers were solicited to participate in the study by email, which generated 92 responses for analysis.

The results of this study indicated there were no significant differences between the perceptions of individuals when instructing English Language Learners (ELLs) and Exceptional Student Education (ESE) students. If people feel confident teaching ELLs, they probably feel confident teaching ESE. Equally, if they do not feel confident teaching ESE students, they are more than likely to not feel comfortable teaching ELLs. Thus, there were no significant differences between beliefs and attitudes in both groups. Still, data gathered from the regression analysis demonstrated training in ELL and ESE were strong indicators regardless of which other variables were added to teacher attitudes and self-efficacy when instructing ELLS or students with or without disabilities.

The results of this study also indicated teachers felt they needed additional training in special education and communication was the greatest barrier between teacher and students, since many teachers could not speak Spanish and students could not comprehend or speak English very well. The results also indicated some teachers felt resources available to them in teaching a lesson were a positive component for ELLs, with or without disabilities, to be able to grasp content.

The findings from this study could serve as positive change for reform of a multi-culturally and diverse climate in public schools. States, school districts, and on-site school administrators could support teachers by creating professional development programs in the learning of learning profiles, preferences, interests, and readiness proficiency levels are essential to multicultural diverse education. The states could also encourage these actions by restructuring certification policies recognizing multicultural diverse education.