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This chapter investigates the impact of a teacher preparation program that includes specific attention to the needs of bilingual learners on participants’ subsequent…
This chapter investigates the impact of a teacher preparation program that includes specific attention to the needs of bilingual learners on participants’ subsequent teaching practices. Specifically, this mixed methods retrospective study examines graduates’ reports of their current teaching practices as well as their perceptions of the Teaching English Language Learners (TELL) program’s impact on these practices. Multiple-choice survey data were analyzed quantitatively to identify trends among reported practices and perceptions. Open-ended survey and interview data were analyzed qualitatively to identify interrelated themes within teachers’ detailed, first-hand accounts of their pre-service and in-service experiences. The results showed that there was variety with respect to whether particular linguistically responsive practices were routine, used occasionally, or rarely. There was also a difference with respect to whether such practices were perceived to be the result of having participated in the program. Notably, the most frequently used practices attributed to the TELL program involved teaching language (TL) to facilitate content learning. Other aspects of the teacher preparation program supported effective practices for academic content learning, but only TELL coursework and experiences facilitated practices that emphasized academic language development. These results suggest that programs created to improve the preparation of teachers to work with bilingual learners in mainstream classroom contexts must make a special effort to develop teachers’ skills in regard to language teaching, especially practices that focus on language beyond the word-level. There are limitations to the study because of the small number of participants and the fact that they were self-selected as program participants.