Document Type



Doctor of Education (EdD)


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor's Name

Judith J. Slater

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Abbas Tashakkori

Third Advisor's Name

Sandra H. Fradd

Fourth Advisor's Name

Stephen M. Fain

Date of Defense



The purpose of this study was to examine what secondary English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) teachers understand about social and academic language, what instructional strategies they use for Limited English Proficient (LEP) students, and how these concepts are operationalized in their daily practice.

This was a mixed method study incorporating both quantitative and qualitative data collection and interpretation. Written questionnaires and individual interviews addressed the questions on teachers' definitions of social and academic language and their strategy use. Classroom observations provided verification of their definitions and their descriptions of instruction for academic language.

Findings indicated that teachers' definitions of social and academic language were still developing and that there were ambiguities in identifying examples of social and academic language. The use of graphic organizers or visual supports, groups or peer partners, role play or drama, and modeling were the strategies teachers consistently listed for beginner, intermediate, advanced and multiple level classes. Additionally, teachers' descriptions of their instruction were congruent with what was observed in their classroom practice.

It appeared that this population of secondary ESOL teachers was in the process of evolving their definitions of social and academic language and were at different stages in this evolution. Teachers' definitions of language influenced their instruction. Furthermore, those who had clear constructs of language were able to operationalize them in their classroom instruction.




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