Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version




doi: 10.1002/tesq.3224


Creative Commons Attribution License,


This convergent parallel mixed-method study (quan + QUAL) relies on systematic classroom observations of mainstream teachers considered highly effective with multilingual learners in the United Kingdom and the United States (N = 9). Using a critical sociocultural theoretical lens, we use an established quantitative observation rubric and lesson field notes to capture real-world teaching practices. Using deductive reasoning to merge closed- and open-ended observation data, we illuminate the features of highly effective teaching for multilingual students. Evidence demonstrates that elements of challenge in activity design and teacher presentation, prioritizing language and literacy development, and modeling, were practices with the highest consistency across countries. At the same time, other features leave room for future growth. Lesson analysis unpacked various ways teachers enact effective teaching based on country context. Despite educational policies that may conflict with strong teaching for multilingual students, linguistically responsive teachers in both countries transcend curricular and testing constraints by intentionally enacting lessons that richly scaffold learning.