The Impact of Teachers’ Self-Efficacy and Instructional Practices for English Language Learners: A Mixed Methods Approach

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Heath, Anne
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Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES::Social sciences::Education , Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES
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This mixed-methods study examinedthe impact of teachers’ self-efficacy beliefs and instructional practices when teaching English Language Learners(ELLs). The researcher utilized an integrated mixed-methods design. Quantitative and qualitative data were sequentially collected, concurrently analyzed, and triangulated. First, quantitative data were gathered with Research Question 1:To what extent and in what manner do teachers’ self-efficacy (efficacy in student engagement, efficacy in instructional strategies, and efficacy in classroom management), and instructional strategies (student-directed instruction, direct instruction, promotion of student thinking, and academic performance feedback) predict teachers’ adaptive instruction in K-12 classrooms that include ELLs? A sample of 126 experienced K-12 Connecticut educators completed (a) a demographic survey, (b) a teachers’ self-efficacy survey and (c) a classroom strategy scale. A stepwise multilinear regression procedure determined that (a) academic performance feedback, (b) efficacy in student engagement,(c) student-directed instruction, and (d) direct instruction significantly correlated with adaptive instruction. Second, qualitative data were obtained from ten participants (from the quantitative sample),who self-rated as having high self-efficacy and classroom strategy use.Research Question 2 inquired:For K-12 teachers with high self-efficacy and frequent usage of a variety of instructional strategies, how are these strategies used to support English Language Learners? Specific strategies and adaptive instruction using a culturally relevant pedagogy, technology, and appropriate feedback were identified. The triangulated results revealed that when leadership provided professional learning, an inclusive curriculum, and collaborative time, it positively impacted teachers’ self-efficacy to instruct English Language Learners.
Behind this dissertation, there is an invisible support team of advisors, friends, and family who have supported me on this journey and helped me to tap into my strengths and push away doubts. Without them this investigation would not have been possible. I would like to begin by acknowledging my primary advisor, Dr. Pauline Goolkasian, for her dedication and unwavering commitment in supporting my success and efforts. My gratitude is extensive as Dr. Goolkasian is highly knowledgeable and proficient while being kind-hearted and encouraging. Likewise, I express my gratitude to my secondary advisor and program director, Dr. Marcy Delcourt, who provided invaluable guidance at every stage of the dissertation, including the initial brainstorming of this inquiry, and generous hours of statistical advice and fine-tuning. Also, I am appreciative of Dr. Helena Nitowski, for being on my committee. Additionally, I am grateful for the empowering support of my friends. In particular, I am grateful for Dr. Jean M. Evans, a WCSU cohort member, as well as a constant friend and cheerleader. Additionally, I would like to acknowledge Antonio Xavier, an English Language Learner and my martial arts instructor, for whom I am indebted for setting the “wheels in motion” and for motivating me to become a reflective teacher. My invisible support team includes my family, especially to my beautiful children and grandchildren, who were patient when I was busy. Last, but absolutely not least, a huge acknowledgement to Bob Little, my forever sweetheart, who made my life beautiful and calmer with constant encouragement and love.