Fall 10-23-2016



Degree Name


Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Lisa Robb

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Adele Hansen

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

Cecilia Oberg


With so many ESL (English as a Second Language) teachers currently co-teaching, it is important to investigate how academic text interferes with the general understanding of the text for ELLs (English Language Learners). This study examined the use of the passive voice in a biology textbook in a high school co-taught biology ESL classroom. The general research questions were: how often does the use of passive voice occur and what does the use of passive voice look like in Biology (Nowicki, 2008); what types of issues can passive voice cause for teachers and students, including classroom expectations of using the textbook; and what strategies can help ELLs better understand and use the passive voice. A text analysis was conducted by using quantitative, qualitative, and mixed research paradigms. The results of this research suggest that teaching language, including challenging language features like passive voice, is just as important as teaching science content for ELLs.

Research Methodology

Text Analyses


ESL/ ELLs, Science, Teachers/ Teaching

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