The Confidence to Teach English Language Learners: Exploring Coursework's Role in Developing Preservice Teachers’ Efficacy

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Published: 
Feb. 01, 2012

Source: The Teacher Educator, 47(1), pages 9–28, 2012
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This article examines the organization of endorsement curricula to increase preservice teachers’ confidence in their ability to teach English Language Learners (ELLs).
The purpose of an endorsement policy is to ensure that teachers are able to meet the social and academic needs of this growing student population.

The study addressed the following two research questions:
(a) What curricular methods in endorsement courses contributed most to students’ sense of efficacy for working with ELLs? and
(b) In what areas of working with ELLs do students’ feel most confident?

Participants
The participants were 197 preservice teachers enrolled in an undergraduate Structured English Immersion course within the Elementary or Secondary Education certification program in a large, public university in the Southwest United States.
Females comprised 80% of the sample and males comprised 20% of the sample.
 

Discussion

This study showed that allowing preservice teachers to engage and collaborate actively in the endorsement content with others is a very effective method of instruction in order to improve their confidence in teaching ELLs.

The preservice teachers in this study believed that they could teach ELL students and that the information that they learned and the instructional methods advocated in the content were integrative and helpful for all student learning and development.
Therefore, providing teachers with the information and knowledge necessary to instruct ELLs is only a first step in the process of improving the instructional practices for ELLs.

 

Implications

The findings of this research have implications for educational policy.
Teachers need to understand how to use their knowledge of ELLs as well as their knowledge of each content area and integrate it to meet the needs of all their students, which includes ELLs.
The study shows that the combination of delivering content necessary to teach ELLs through lectures and readings and implementing interactive strategies to have the student actively engage in the content led to increased levels of efficacy.

Thus, the organization and implementation of endorsement is an important factor in how we can change instructional practices for this growing student population.

Updated: Nov. 06, 2013
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