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Elementary teacher attitudes toward including English language learners in general education classrooms

Joshua C Wilken, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

Recently, the United States has seen an exponential growth in the number of English language learners (ELLs) in public schools. This development, coupled with the diverse needs that such learners bring to the school environment, presents a challenge for classroom teachers. With the predominance of pull-out ELL programs in US schools, ELL students spend the majority of their day in the general education classroom with teachers who may have little or no training in working with language-minority students. The purpose of this study was to examine elementary school teachers’ attitudes toward including English language learners in general education classrooms. The research design included a 38-item survey administered to 35 elementary teachers in two different school buildings to measure teacher attitudes toward ELL inclusion. ^ While teachers’ general attitudes toward including ELLs in the elementary classroom were positive, this study revealed teachers’ frustrations with lack of training and time to effectively meet the needs of English language learners in the classroom. In addition, findings showed negative attitudes toward native language use in school, most specifically related to providing students with native language materials. Finally, survey participants indicated a positive attitude toward ELL classroom inclusion as a multicultural experience for English-proficient students. However, many respondents also revealed a belief that ELL students require more work than other students, and that such inclusion requires more of the teachers’ time. ^ Implications of teachers’ attitudes of ELL inclusion and recommendations for program development conclude this study. ^

Subject Area

Education, English as a Second Language|Education, Elementary

Recommended Citation

Wilken, Joshua C, "Elementary teacher attitudes toward including English language learners in general education classrooms" (2015). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3687443.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI3687443

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