School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Jose A. Puga


Culture, English Language Learners, Instructional Strategies, Second Language Acquisition, Sociocultural Theory


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Curriculum and Instruction | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Methods | Other Education | Secondary Education and Teaching | Teacher Education and Professional Development


The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study was to explore effective instructional strategies of mainstream classroom teachers working with English Language Learners (ELLs). Many teachers feel unprepared to adequately educate English Language Learners. School systems have attempted to rectify this situation by providing teachers with professional development that provides instructional strategies which may or may not be effective. This study answered the questions: What teaching strategies do teachers and administrators perceive to have the most positive impact on learning for ELLs?; How does the culture of the classroom and school impact ELLs’ academic success?; and What are building level administrators’ perceptions of obstacles that hinder ELLs’ academic success? Data was collected through the use of semi-structured interviews and focus group sessions, as well as videotaped lessons. Data collected provided a means to identify themes and shared experiences of effective teaching practices for ELLs; the data provided insight that will assist other school systems in helping their ELLs achieve academic success. All data collected was analyzed utilizing methods of data analysis as discussed by Moustakas (1994), epoche, phenomenological reduction, imaginative variation, and synthesis of structural and textural descriptions to arrive at the essence of the phenomena. During the data analysis the following themes were identified as pertinent to the research study: (a) specialized programs, (b) differentiation, (c) hands on learning, (d) high expectations, (e) respect for home cultures, (f) bilingual staff and translators, (g) community, (h) safety, (i) language barriers, (j) low schooled in native languages, (k) lack of experiences.