High Efficacy Bilingual/ELL Teachers' Perception of Effective Professional Development
Gomez, Gloria E. 1956-
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Few challenges facing America today are as vital as improving the educational attainment of low social economic and English Language Learners (language minority children). The United States’ educational reform has brought forth numerous initiatives throughout the past decades to address the “Achievement Gap” between Latino students and their Anglo counterparts. Even when the teachers in high-poverty schools have experience and credentials, they are generally inadequately prepared and supported to handle the enormous instructional challenges they face, challenges that would test the mettle of the most experienced and accomplished teachers. The study explored high-efficacy bilingual/ English Language Learner teachers’ perceptions of what they consider to be relevant professional development that meets their essential needs. The research methodology used in this study consisted of rigorous qualitative, multisite ethnographic interviews and their analysis and synthesis. The study addressed the following two research questions: What are high-efficacy bilingual/ELL teachers’ perceptions of effective professional development? And what resources, means of delivery and organizational support at the school level do high-efficacy bilingual/ELL teachers’ perceive as promoting effective professional development? This study was conducted in three phases using qualitative methods of ethnographic analysis of individual semi-structured interviews. Interviews provided multifaceted understanding of the impact that high-efficacy bilingual/ELL teacher’ perceptions on professional development have on their instructional effectiveness and challenges they face. The three sections include a description of the participants’ gleaned from the (TDQ) Teacher Demographic Questionnaires, a description of the archival district data, selection of the study participants and discussion of categories emerging from analysis of the interview data. This study found differences and similarities among the bilingual campuses in learning, practice, supportive school cultures and sustainability of school practices. Study participants disclosed the lack of adequate educational programs, instruction, resources, unfair assessment, and exclusion of parents and community within school district. Consistent with social, racial, ethnic or linguistic research, this study’s participants disclose that English language learners in transitional bilingual campuses are isolated on three campuses. Furthermore, the study results indicate that bilingual/ELL teachers’ lack of professional development specifically designed to target the needs of English. In addition, this study revealed the extremely difficult challenges teachers face on a daily basis in addressing the needs of their bilingual/ELL students. Teachers had to contend with inadequate instructional material and resources as well as a lack of support. Consequently, bilingual/ELL teachers’ reported that they are left to fend for themselves. In conclusion, the study results revealed the need of specific professional development for all teachers and staff not just the bilingual/ELL teacher.
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