Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version

Spring 5-2013


Alford, S. (2013). The relationship of preservice teachers to English language learners in mainstream classrooms. Doctoral Dissertation. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education, Under the Supervision of Professor Kathleen Wilson. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2013

Copyright (c) 2013 Susan F. Alford


The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship of preservice teachers by examining their attitudes and perceptions to English Language Learners in the mainstream classroom. An ever-increasing population of ELLs in U.S. classrooms has challenged the preparation of preservice teachers to meet the specific needs of this group of students. Preservice teachers’ attitudes toward their ability to connect with ELLs, their self-efficacy toward preparation to teach ELLs, and their attitudes toward language use in the classroom were probed. The research design included both quantitative and qualitative inquiries. A survey was administered to preservice teachers in three teacher preparation institutions to measure preservice teachers’ attitudes and perceptions of ELL inclusion, followed by a qualitative inquiry of five teacher interviews examining their experiences with ELLs in more detail.

Results showed preservice teachers viewed ELL inclusion in a positive light and believed that ELLs were better served in the mainstream classroom. Preservice teachers were willing to work with other professionals to support ELLs through accommodations made to regular classroom assignments.

Advisor: Dr. Kathleen Wilson