Teachers’ Perceptions of Personal Self-Efficacy In Teaching English Learners

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2021-08

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Abstract

Background: Preparing classroom teachers to work with culturally and linguistically diverse learners is a growing concern for many schools. The state of Texas has placed significant pressure on educators to close the achievement gap, particularly among the English learner population. In turn, a significant number of teachers often feel ill prepared to work with English learners despite teacher preparation programs and certifications. Self-efficacy plays a vital role in teachers’ ability to effectively manage the educational challenges that contribute to student achievement and motivation. Purpose: This study explored teachers’ perceptions of self-efficacy to guide successful student outcomes for English learners. Research Question: What are the self-perceptions of elementary teachers in guiding English learners to successful outcomes? Method: This study utilized a qualitative case study to develop an in-depth analysis of individual participant responses. Seven elementary educators who have taught English learners were selected as participants using convenience sampling from the researcher’s social and professional network. Data collected for this study occurred in three phases including individual interviews, member check sessions, and focus group interviews. The researcher initially conducted the individual semi-structured interviews using questions to elicit views and opinions from the participants to gain information regarding instructional practices and self-efficacy beliefs. Member check sessions ensured validity and accuracy of the content. Participants then took part in a focus group interview to generate information on the collective views of the group. Data sets were analyzed using open coding to produce a grounded theory and was reviewed by a professional with experience teaching English learners to strengthen reliability. Findings: Following data analysis from the interviews, four significant themes emerged: 1) Vocabulary development was the primary tool teachers understood and utilized when teaching language acquisition; 2) Continued professional development in the area of teaching English learners is necessary; 3) Effective campus leadership is essential in providing support to teachers; 4) Culturally responsive teaching complements instruction for English learners but further training and implementation needs to be addressed. Conclusion: The perceptions of elementary teachers in this study have shown that continued professional development and campus leadership support are essential in enabling teachers to feel effective in delivering instructional practices and culturally responsive pedagogy that support English learners.

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Keywords

Cultural Responsiveness, English Learners (ELs), Self-Efficacy

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