Date of Award

Spring 5-8-2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership for Learning Dissertations


Educational Leadership

Committee Chair

Dr. Arvin Johnson

Committee Chair/First Advisor

Dr. Miyoshi Juergensen

Second Committee Member

Dr. Nihal Khote


This qualitative study focused on the challenges that 3rd through 5th grade general education teachers faced while supporting and teaching English Learner (EL) students in the classroom from the perspectives of general education and ESOL teachers, based on their experiences in the classroom. This study took place at an urban Title 1 elementary school in the southeastern United States. The purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of the teacher challenges surrounding EL instruction and its impact on student achievement. The theoretical frameworks that informed this study were culturally responsive teaching and critical teacher leadership. Several data gathering techniques (individual interviews, focus group meetings, and classroom observations) were utilized and analyzed to describe the participants' experiences with EL instruction and the challenges that come with such instruction. From the data collected, several themes emerged such as Time, Lack of Resources, ESOL vs. Special Education, Lack of Cultural Competence, Instructional Practices, Understanding EL Documents, Lack of Teacher Preparation, Language Barrier and Teaching Reading and Writing. The findings from the study provided insight into the daily struggles of teaching ELs. The knowledge gained from this study is beneficial to teachers, teacher leaders, school and district leaders and teacher preparation programs because it could be utilized to inform the next steps in addressing the obstacles surrounding EL instruction.