Perceptions of ESL Professional Development Programs by Mainstream Teachers: A Descriptive Qualitative Study

Perceptions of ESL Professional Development Programs by Mainstream Teachers: A Descriptive Qualitative Study

Author: 
Ammar Al-Sharafi
Program of study: 
Ed.D./CI
Abstract: 
This descriptive qualitative study explored the viewpoints of K-12 mainstream teachers in the state of Ohio about English as a Second Language (ESL) professional development and training programs implemented in order to teach English Language Learners (ELLs) in mainstream classrooms. The problem explored in this study is that mainstream teachers who teach ELLs without professional training in teaching ELLs may produce a lower academic achievement level than teachers who have had professional training in teaching ELLs. Mainstream teachers who teach ELLs but do not have the professional training required for teaching ELLs may face numerous challenges that hinder their ability to close the achievement gaps between ELLs and their native English language-speaking peers. The purpose of this study was to explore and examine the viewpoints of K-12 mainstream teachers about the ESL professional development and training programs implemented for mainstream teachers who teach ELLs in mainstream classrooms. A descriptive qualitative approach was used in this study that involved 15 participants who responded to open-ended interview questions to describe their experiences with wide range of ESL professional development programs that they have participated in. An analysis of the participants’ responses yielded three themes: (A) teacher engagement, (B) relevant communication, and (C) the efficiency and relevance of technology. These three themes and the findings of this study can help educational leaders make research based decisions to overcome the barriers involved in trying to cater for the needs of ELLs by improving the quality of ESL professional training programs.
Dedication: 
I dedicate this dissertation to my parents who inspired me and encouraged me to continue my higher education and strive for the impossible. I dedicate this work to my loving wife, Kristen Al-Sharafi, who has stuck with me since the beginning of my doctoral journey. Her support and patience made it possible for me to keep going and reach my academic goals. Finally, I dedicate this dissertation to my beloved son, Amjad, whose existence gave me the energy and the power to push my boundaries and complete this difficult journey. I hope to become an inspiration for him as he grows and help him develop a love for learning and dare his dreams.
Acknowledgements: 
I would like to acknowledge and thank my committee chair, Dr. Patricia Penn, for her guidance throughout the research and dissertation process. She was always willing to help and provide the best suggestions that helped me overcome many of the challenges and barriers that I faced throughout this journey. Without her guidance and persistent help, this dissertation would not have been possible. I would also like to thank my committee members Dr. Patricia Talbert and Dr. Gale Cossette for the countless hours they spent reviewing my work and offering advice and encouragement.