PROSPECTIVE ELEMENTARY TEACHERS' LEARNING TO EDUCATE ENGLISH LEARNERS IN A TEACHER EDUCATION PROGRAM: A CASE STUDY
Daniel, Shannon Mary
Peercy, Megan M
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In this study, I examined the opportunities prospective elementary teachers had to learn about educating students learning English as an additional language during their thirteen-month Master's with Certification in Elementary Education (MCEE) program. Data collection efforts centered around repeated teaching observations and interviews with four focal participants who were members of the 2010-2011 MCEE cohort during eight months of their program. Additional data collection on candidates' learning experiences in the program included surveys administered with the entire cohort, a focus group interview with the four focal candidates, and a focus group with four other members of the cohort. To investigate efforts teacher educators made to help candidates learn about educating English language learners (ELLs), I interviewed eight teacher educators in roles ranging from mentor teacher to program director. These interviews, along with observations of over one hundred hours of course meetings and a review of program documents, enabled me to identify challenges and opportunities teacher educators encountered when attempting to guide candidates in learning about educating ELLs. When teaching ELLs in their internships, candidates learned valuable skills to educate ELLs, but they also attended to the implicit message that marginalizing ELLs in elementary schools and classrooms is acceptable. In regards to their coursework, candidates identified instances in which they learned about educating linguistically diverse students, but also reported that they remembered little overall because the education of ELLs was addressed infrequently. While teacher educators actively strove toward guiding candidates to learn knowledge, skills, and dispositions of educating linguistically diverse students, they faced challenges such as those related to communication and coherence among teacher educators at the university and school sites. Implications for practice and research include implementing more innovative forms of collaboration among both teacher candidates and teacher educators in elementary education and second language education.