The Perceptions of Parents, Teachers, and Principals of American Indian English Language Learners and Teaching Strategies That Address ELL Learning Needs: A Multi-vocal Qualitative Study

Open Access
Bilagody, Melissa June
Graduate Program:
Educational Leadership
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
February 18, 2014
Committee Members:
  • Roger C Shouse, Dissertation Advisor
  • Roger C Shouse, Committee Chair
  • Nona Ann Prestine, Committee Member
  • Kai Arthur Schafft, Committee Member
  • Ladislaus M Semali, Committee Member
  • English Language Learner (ELL)
  • English Language Development(ELD)
  • English as a Second Language(ESL)
  • Instructional methods
  • American Indian
This dissertation reports the findings of a multi-vocal qualitative study conducted in a school district, which serves predominantly American Indian students, in the southwestern United States. It explored the perceptions of parents, teachers and principals about instructional strategies to support teaching of American Indian ELL students. The first major goal of this inquiry was to generate recommendations and implications for improving instructional strategies for teachers and principals who work in schools with a high American Indian ELL population. The second goal of this study was the issue of whether or not American Indian ELL students’ learning needs can be met by implementing instructional strategies that address ELL learning differences. The third goal of this study was to encourage and promote discourse in the area of American Indian ELL students and how to best serve their needs. This study was guided by the following question: What instructional strategies might be most effective for American Indian ELL students? In addition, sub-questions included: (a.) What knowledge and skills do teachers of American Indian ELL students need to ensure learning? (b) How can instructional strategies recommended by the literature of ELLs (non-American Indian) be used to improve American Indian ELL students’ learning? (c.) How do principals characterize the implications for supporting and fostering the implementation of instructional strategies? (d.) To what extent do parents perceive their child's teacher provides a suitable environment for ELL?