School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy


Rachel Nichole Hernandez


Remote Learning, Traditional Classroom, ESL Teachers, Pandemic


Education | Educational Leadership


The purpose of this phenomenological study is to describe the experiences of ESL teachers who transitioned from remote learning back to the traditional classroom setting post-Covid at community colleges in upstate New York. The theory that will be guiding and directing this study will be the constructivist theory. The focus will be on understanding how English as a second language teachers adapt from the distance learning setting implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic back to the brick-and-mortar classroom. In addition, the study will attempt to understand how the behavior of ESL teachers is reflected in the changing teaching environment. The constructivist theory of learning was developed by the educational theorist Jean Piaget and relates to the study in that, according to constructivists, a teacher should ensure online instruction includes activities where students can contextualize information and engage with the learners while completing online tasks. The central research question seeks to describe the lived experiences of ESL teachers when transitioning from remote learning to the traditional classroom. This study will employ a transcendental phenomenological approach and use individual interviews, a focus group, and journal prompts to gather data to address the research questions. Data will be analyzed utilizing Moustakas’ (1994) phenomenological reduction with horizontalization in order to develop themes to represent the essence of the phenomenon. Three major themes emerged from the study: Challenges in Transitioning to the Online Environment, Improved Learning and Teaching Skills, and Challenges in Returning to Traditional Learning. Significant findings indicated that the online learning environment had influenced pedagogical strategies, with notable elements potentially enriching face-to-face instruction upon transition.