Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version



Teacher Education and Practice, Vol. 30, No. 3 / Summer 2017.


Published by Rowman & Littlefield. Copyright 2017 Stephanie Wessels, Guy Trainin, Jenelle Reeves, Theresa Catalano, and Qizhen Deng.


Research has shown that many pre-service teachers do not feel confident in their abilities to work with English learners (ELs), and that attitudes toward ELs can have an effect on their confidence in working with these students. The purpose of this quantitative study is to find out what factors affect the confidence and attitudes of pre-service teachers in regard to teaching ELs. Data consisted of a four-part survey of 244 pre-service teachers entering an elementary teacher education program. Findings revealed that attitudes toward ELs’ use of L1 correlated with reported second language proficiency and diversity experience, and indirectly with international travel experience. In contrast, confidence levels did not correlate with these variables. The authors conclude with suggestions for ways that teacher education programs can change attitudes toward L1 use, develop confidence, and foster greater understanding of ELs in pre-service teachers.