Fall 2023



Degree Name


Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Michelle Benegas


This study explored how elementary ESL teachers describe their experience learning about genre-based pedagogy, and how they describe change that resulted from learning about this instructional approach. Multilingual learners represent a rising student demographic across the United States (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2021), however, most teachers and administrators have not been adequately trained in language development, so language remains an abstract concept and professional learning experiences related to language development are scarce (He & Bagwell, 2021; Ranney, 2012). Without language-based resources or frameworks, ESL teachers are often underutilized professionals in their schools (Harper & de Jong, 2009). A genre-based approach offers an instructional framework while seeking to provide a more equitable learning environment for students (Derewianka, 2015). This is accomplished through explicit teaching of text organization and language features that are key to the different genres, or text types, students are most likely to encounter in school (Brisk, 2015). A mixed methods case study was used to collect data. Data were collected and analyzed using Guskey’s (1986) Model of Teacher Change as a theoretical framework. Findings were organized by ESL teachers’ experience with genre-based pedagogy professional development, and subsequent changes they experienced in relation to their classroom practices, student learning outcomes, and their own beliefs and attitudes. Overall, ESL teachers described learning about genre-based pedagogy as being relevant to their role, a collaborative experience, and one that increased their confidence as language teachers. ESL teachers described changes in their classroom practices. Specifically, they described beginning to use the Teaching and Learning Cycle (Rothery, 1994), having an increased ability to communicate language demands within content instruction, and shifting toward a more purposeful focus on language instruction. Regarding change in student learning outcomes, ESL teachers described students as having increased access to content learning, increased language production, and demonstrating a measurable increase in language growth. Finally, in relation to changes in beliefs and attitudes, ESL teachers described increased clarity in their identity as language teachers, an increased sense of identity as writing experts, and increased professional empowerment.

Research Methodology

case study


ESL/ ELLs, Staff Development, Teachers/ Teaching, Writing








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