Date of Award

Spring 5-1-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Frank Rossi


According to the National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition [NCELA] (2013), English Language Learners (ELL) are the fastest-growing student population in schools across the United States. Between the years of 1989-2006, the ELL population more than doubled from just over 2,000,000 to over 5,000,000 (NCELA, 2008). The NCELA as cited by Oliveira (2011), reports that “more than 10% of the K-12 student population across the United States is comprised of ELLs, which accounts for over five million students in our schools (p. 59). This rapid increase in ELL students in the nation’s schools has greatly affected classroom teachers. While districts have English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers who are trained and certified in teaching ELLs, many classroom teachers have very limited coursework and/or professional development to equip them to effectively teach their grade-level content to limited English proficient students. It is clear that there is a drastic discrepancy between ELLs’ achievement and proficiency in English language arts (ELA) and math as compared to the total student population throughout the state of New York. This researcher focused specifically on two school districts surrounding Syracuse, New York: Liverpool and Oswego school districts. In order to identify the amount of coursework and/or professional development of elementary classroom teachers regarding ELLs and the potential gaps, eighteen elementary classroom teachers and two English as a second language (ESL) teachers answered a 12-question survey. The survey was sent only to elementary school teachers in buildings within those two districts, Oswego City School District and Liverpool Central School District, as identified by the New York State Education Department as schools with “limited English proficient” students (, 2013). Through the current research and this thesis project, the researcher will create a professional development workshop where elementary school teachers will learn the necessary background knowledge on second language acquisition and effective teaching strategies for ELLs, as supported by the teacher responses from the survey.

Educating English Language Learners.pptx (1332 kB)
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