Dr. Kent Mann
Date of this Version
Schneider, M. K. (2019). Addressing the Needs of Middle School English Learners Through Inclusion in General Education Classrooms: A Case Study of a Midwestern Metropolitan Public School District. (Dissertation) University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
A significant shift in student demographics in United States public schools has summoned the attention and action of public school educators to address the needs of English learners (ELs) who are required to meet the same academic standards as their English-speaking peers. Across the nation, school administrators, teachers, and other education specialists face challenges in fully meeting the academic demands of ELs, especially when including the students in general education classrooms. The purpose of this qualitative descriptive case study was to examine the implementation of inclusive practices, or specific instructional and academic supports that teachers provide to ELs, in middle school, core-subject-area classes at a Midwestern metropolitan public school district. Part of the qualitative research design included data collected from 20 interviews of school principals, core-subject-area teachers, instructional coaches, and other educational specialists, in order to share their perspectives and current reality regarding inclusive practice supports for ELs. Twelve observations of Professional Learning Community (PLC) sessions also contributed data on teacher collaboration to better serve ELs in core classrooms. When analyzing the interview and observation data, four major findings were identified that align with the purpose of the study, research questions, conceptual framework, and the literature review. The findings include an understanding that all ELs have varied backgrounds, experiences, and skills; that there are specific instructional implications which teachers must be aware of and apply in their teaching practices; the need for explicit professional development to be provided to educators regarding ELs and how they best learn; and that purposeful collaboration efforts among educators is crucial to student success. The study found that all participants agree to a shared responsibility for students, and to improve the education of ELs, it is imperative for educators to refine their personal knowledge, understanding, commitment, and other elements of working with students to the best of their abilities. It was concluded that if all these conditions are addressed and implemented to a high degree, ELs will be successful at school and meet the same academic standards as their English-speaking peers.
This dissertation study was completed in tandem with another researcher colleague and doctoral candidate who was focused on high school educators (grades nine through 12) at the same study site, which allows for the potential to further define inclusion for ELs and to offer clarity regarding the implementation of inclusive practice strategies provided by secondary general-education teachers.
Advisor: Kent Mann