ERIC Number: ED491701
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2005
Reference Count: 36
Listening to Teachers of English Language Learners: A Survey of California Teachers' Challenges, Experiences, and Professional Development Needs
Gandara, Patricia; Maxwell-Jolly, Julie; Driscoll, Anne
Policy Analysis for California Education, PACE (NJ1)
As long as students with limited English language skills have attended California schools a debate has raged among educators and policy-makers regarding how best to educate these children. A major focal point of this debate is bilingual education. That is, the viability, advisability, and effectiveness of using students' primary language in instruction. However, everyone agrees that ELs must learn English, learn it well, and meet rigorous standards. No matter what the method or program of instruction, teachers of English language learners need special skills and training to effectively accomplish this task. While this debate continues outside the classroom, inside the classroom teachers are called on to meet the challenge of teaching English learner students every day. Teachers who speak their students' home language and those who do not, teachers with special training and those without, teachers who have years of experience and those who have taught for only weeks are in front of classrooms with EL students. Teachers are both on the front line and responsible for the bottom line when it comes to providing these students with the skills and knowledge they will need to survive and thrive in U.S. society. Seldom are teachers invited to share their experiences and their concerns with those who shape education policy. It is critical to ascertain the perspectives of teachers who have so central a role and such a large stake in these issues if instruction for EL students is to significantly improve. This study sets out to ask teachers about their greatest challenges with regard to educating English learners, to analyze how these challenges vary according to factors such as teacher experience, training, and student need, and to discover the kinds of support they have--and need--for doing their jobs effectively. Appended are: (1) California Commission on Teacher Credentialing Authorizations for Working with English Language Learners; (2) Teacher Ethnicity; (3) OLS Regression Models Predicting Elementary and Secondary Teachers' Self-Rated Ability to Teach ELs; and (4) Percent of Elementary, Secondary and All Teachers Reporting Reasons Why They Found Particular Kinds of In-Service Most Helpful. (Contains 4 graphs, 9 photographs, and 7 tables.) [Funding for this initiative was also provided by the Clarence E. Heller Charitable Foundation.]
Descriptors: Elementary School Teachers, Secondary School Teachers, Teacher Surveys, Public Education, Teacher Attitudes, English (Second Language), Second Language Learning, Professional Development, Teaching Experience, Teacher Certification, Teacher Effectiveness, Educational Resources, Parent School Relationship, Teacher Qualifications, Inservice Teacher Education
Policy Analysis for California Education, PACE. 3653 Tolman Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720-1670. Tel: 510-642-7223; Fax: 510-642-9148; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://pace.berkeley.edu/pace_publications.html.
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: Teachers; Policymakers
Sponsor: William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Palo Alto, CA.; Stuart Foundation, San Francisco, CA
Authoring Institution: Policy Analysis for California Education, Berkeley, CA.; Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning, Santa Cruz, CA.; California Univ., San Diego. Linguistic Minority Research Inst.