• Teacher Preparation for Instructing Middle School ELL Students: A North Carolina Piedmont Perspective

      Rubinstein-Avila, Eliane; Sox, Amanda Kay; Gonzalez, Norma; Reyes, Iliana; Rios-Aguilar, Cecilia; Rubinstein-Avila, Eliane (The University of Arizona., 2011)
      The North Carolina Public Schools, like other schools in the southeast, have experienced phenomenal growth in their ELL student populations in the last 15 years. This fairly recent influx of ELL students raises questions about the extent to which the schools, and more specifically, the teachers, are prepared to meet the needs of their linguistically diverse students. Unfortunately, few studies to date have investigated how teacher education programs (TEPs) and professional development opportunities are addressing this aspect of teacher preparation. This dissertation addresses the lack of current research as it pertains to both TEPs and professional development experiences of middle school working in the North Carolina Public Schools. Using a mixed methods design that combined survey research with open-ended interviews of focal participants, the author revealed that teachers had had limited preparation experiences at both the TEP and professional development levels. However, those who had had these experiences overall did exhibit some capacity to adapt instruction and relate to their ELLs in positive ways. The preparation, however, also lacked sociolinguistic awareness and awareness about the theoretical foundations that underlie these practices. The author concluded by relating the findings to the current research and discussed recommendations and implications for TEPs and professional development in North Carolina and the southern context.