Date of Award

8-2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Education

Major Professor

Clara Lee Brown

Committee Members

Pamela S. Angelle, David F. Cihak, Jennifer A. Morrow

Abstract

One of the school restructuring efforts in English as a Second Language education has been inclusion, like the “push-in” model (Platt et al., 2003). In the push-in model, English Learners (ELs) remain in their core academic classes instead of being “pulled out” for language instruction by the English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) teacher. In addition, ELs receive content area instruction from their General Education (Gen Ed) classroom teacher for reading, language arts, mathematics, science, or social studies in the push-in setting (Alston et al., 2014).While push-in and collaborative teaching models are widely implemented, these collaborations between and among key educational stakeholders remain largely under-theorized and under-researched for the EL population in particular (Arkoudis & Creese, 2006). Following an extensive literature review, it was found that no studies have been conducted in assessing the status and implementation of inclusive educational practices in Georgia’s ESOL push-in model. It, thus, signaled that the effectiveness of the push-in model has not been systematically examined. This research investigated the state of inclusive educational practices for ELs in Georgia’s elementary schools based on the perceptions of ESOL teachers, Gen Ed teachers, and administrators. Survey results from 167 respondents were triangulated with interview data from eight ESOL teachers and three Title III coordinators. The major finding of the study showed that while ESOL teachers and Title III district coordinators possessed educational knowledge and had participated in formal training prior to implementing the push-in model for ELs, Gen Ed teachers and administrators, on the contrary, had not participated in extensive formal training that adequately prepared them to address ELs’ needs in mainstream settings. The significance of the study’s findings was to identify the critical components related to the push-in model for ELs beyond the necessity of professional development as found in the literature. It is suggested that school districts need to spend substantial time and energy to lay a strong foundation in collaborative practices before committing to the push-in model. Otherwise, the push-in model only serves as a “feel-good” policy for policymakers and another initiative that does not contribute to the enhancement of student learning.

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