Doctoral Dissertations


Rachel Patten

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Thomas Turner


While there are multiple studies relating to the ESL specialist, the area of classroom teachers' practices in teaching ESL students is largely unexplored. It was the intention of this research to examine the adaptations, and accommodations made by classroom teachers when they have an ESL student in their classroom. The intent of the researcher was to uncover, through interview and observation, what actually occurs in these mainstream classes to facilitate learning for ESL students. The analysis of the interviews revealed rich information about the classroom teacher's uses of those methods, which are effective with first language students, with the ESL students in her classroom. The conclusions of the study were that primary teachers in Knox County are using a variety of successful strategies with the ESL students in their classrooms; that primary classrooms are well suited for teaching ESL students because of the language focus of the curriculum; that the classroom teacher is a vital part of the language instruction team; and that classroom teachers need encouragement and assistance when teaching ESL students in their classrooms. The study concluded with recommendations for future study. The researcher recommended continuation of qualitative studies using interviews and observations in a variety of settings. In addition several recommendations were made for quantitative research concerning acculturation, parental support, attitudes toward learning a second language, learning leaps, curriculum design and testing.

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