Ed.D. Dissertations

Date of Award

Fall 12-10-2019

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


College of Education



Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.

Faculty Chair

Heather Miller, Ph.D.

Content Specialist

Michael Jazzar, Ph.D.

Content Reader

Edward Kim, Ph.D.


problem-solving, English as a Second Language (ESL), Beginner ESL, Intermediate ESL, Advanced ESL, Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP), isolation learning, math discourse (collaborative learning), math literacy, self- discovery, Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), readiness standards, supporting standards, educational struggle, motivational input


Krulik and Rudnick (1996) defined problem-solving as explaining how math tasks contain the potential to provide intellectual challenges to enhance the mathematical mindset and development. English as a Second Language (ESL) students must learn math, increase their English language use, and grow literacy skills all in one setting. ESL teachers must examine how ESL students solve, make real-world connections, and build upon learned behavior with rigor. The purpose of this qualitative study was to comprehend how math teachers of ESL students apply problem-solving to benefit the overall educational experience of these students. The research question guiding this study asked: What are the experiences of ESL math teachers who are embedding the problem-solving structure in the middle school bracket? A homogenous sample of nine middle school ESL math teachers was purposively selected from the same school district. Data collection consisted of face-to-face interviews, personal narratives, and member checking. Inductive analysis was used with the collected data, starting with initial coding and proceeding to axial coding to identify codes, create collapsed codes, and form emergent themes. Key findings of this study were that participants understood that demographic awareness, math discourse and multiple strategies, educational struggle, and motivational input were vital aspects in the problem-solving process for ESL students.