Ed.D. Dissertation Defense: Tuba Arabaci Atlamaz

Monday, June 18, 2018 9:00am - 11:00am

GSE 211

Dissertation Defense

Preparing Pre-Service Mainstream Teachers for English Language Learners with A Community-Based Service-Learning Project

Tuba is a doctoral student in the Teacher Leadership concentration of the Education Doctoral program. 

Committee: Dr. Carrie Lobman (Chair), Dr. Alexandra Figueras-Daniel, Dr. Christelle Palpacuer-Lee


Despite considerable number of English language learners (ELLs) in mainstream classrooms, very few of the teachers are adequately trained to work with ELLs (Hutchinson, 2013). This disparity leads to many problems such as ELLs struggle with the demands of academic life in mainstream classrooms due to their teachers’ lack of knowledge, skills, and positive disposition towards ELLs. Hence, mainstream teachers’ awareness of ELLs’ experiences, knowledge, and skills is critical. One important action for increasing the teacher awareness is to prepare linguistically responsive teachers.

This qualitative study aimed to explore the pre-service teachers’ (the PSTs) experiences in a course offered at a graduate school of education at a US state university. Throughout the 15-week semester, the PSTs discussed the Funds of Knowledge approach, communicative strategies, and language and culture. They also met the community members who were ELLs and helped them practice English for eight weeks. The primary data sources were observations of the seminar portion and service-learning project, interviews with six PSTs and six ELLs, documents such as PSTs’ course assignments, and pre- and post-course surveys.

The findings revealed that this course helped the PSTs develop a positive orientation towards ELLs, gave them a chance to reflect on their own beliefs about instruction, and enhanced their use of conversation strategies while interacting with the ELLs. The ELLs reported to feel more confident in their conversation skills after their interaction with the PSTs. The study adds to the literature showing the importance of providing the PSTs with the opportunities to interact with the community members coming from diverse backgrounds. Further research can be conducted to see whether the PSTs retain and implement the information they had learned from this experience


Who to contact:

Ericka Diaz