Term

Summer 8-7-2015

Capstone

Thesis

Degree Name

MAESL

Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Cynthia Lundgren

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Anne DeMuth

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

Carrie Sorenson

Abstract

The purpose of this project was to examine how school personnel perceive the role of the ESL teacher within elementary school communities. Electronic surveys, individual interviews and a focus group were used to collect data from ESL teachers, mainstream teachers and administrators. Results showed that while ESL teachers see themselves as language teachers, mainstream teachers see them primarily as classroom support, suggesting that the role of language within content instruction is not clearly understood by those outside the field of ESL. As a result, the expectations of the ESL teacher vary greatly within the school community. Recommendations for clarifying the ESL teacher’s role include professional development for mainstream teachers and administrations to further their understanding of language learning and teaching. In addition, ESL teachers need strategies that make their work more explicit within their school communities.

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