Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Curriculum & Instruction

First Advisor

Dr. Sandra Musanti

Second Advisor

Dr. Laura Jewett

Third Advisor

Dr. Karin Lewis


Growth in the ELL student population triggers a need for more educators equipped to address the academic and linguistic needs of this growing population. Through a phenomenological case study, this dissertation addresses the following over-arching research question, "What can be learned about the implementation of professional development for teachers of ELLs from the reflections and experiences of former ESL/Bilingual educators?" This dissertation provides a look at PD through the reflective lenses of retired educators who worked directly with ELLs and teachers of ELLs. Data were collected from a questionnaire, interviews and a focus group describes how participants. Through their stories and recollections of PD experiences participants described how PD should result both in student learning and educator professional growth. This research reveals a shift from the traditional stand-alone workshop concept of professional development to the idea of professional learning through job embedded learning opportunities to support teachers in working and learning collaboratively at their own schools. However, participants indicate that the PD efforts are not enough and the learning gap between non ELL and ELLs continues to grow. They concur to indicate that teachers need PD that targets the learning needs of ELLs. Findings show how they had endeavored to close the ELL learning gap while also navigating PD barriers such as resources, relationships among stakeholders and federal and state mandates. Although participants claimed face to face PD as the most effective delivery mode; they did not designate the stand alone workshop as the delivery vehicle. Participants valued the role of specialists to provide PD to meet specific campus needs. As school districts continue to focus on the needs of individual students through the PLC process, they will need to look to their ESL and bilingual teachers cultivating them to serve as teacher leaders in ELL instructional needs. Finally, in order to support learning for all learners including ELLs, data from this study indicates school districts need to encourage the building of positive relationships through communication and collaboration among all departments.


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