Date of Award



© 2019 Julie Xu

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

William Boozang

Second Advisor

Mary Colleen Patterson

Third Advisor

Lisa Dao-Walker


English language learners (ELLs) are currently one of the fastest growing populations in the United States. As growth of the ELL population has surpassed predictions over the years, there a great need to adequately train teachers to effectively serve these students. This pilot study sought to understand the challenges with academic achievement for ESL students at the elementary level from a teacher’s perspective. This case study research was conducted to answer four research questions: 1) What current challenges do teachers have with serving ELLs? How are they currently addressing these challenges? 2) What (if any) current instructional strategies are currently effective with ELLs? 3) Is the current English language framework (curriculum and professional development) providing the needed support for our ESL student population? The researcher conducted initial data collection using an electronic survey, then conducted follow-up interviews. A total of 10 elementary teachers participated in the survey and 2 took part in the follow-up interview. The results of this study revealed six major themes: 1) teachers do not understand how to implement language acquisition strategies, 2) lack of professional development for language acquisition instructional strategies for teachers, 3) ELLs have the greatest struggle in reading comprehension, 4) tactile activities and visual representations are effective instructional strategies for ELLs, 5) intervention time was effective block, 6) scaffolding was an effective strategy for ELLs. These findings, as well as, the curriculum and professional development analysis support the need for professional development for teachers to deepen their understanding on the process of language acquisition for ELLs. Based on the results of this study, the researcher recommends future research to elaborate further on the emerged themes.


Ed.D. Dissertation