Ed.D. Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


College of Education



Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.

Faculty Chair

Kara Vander Linden, Ed.D.

Content Specialist

Barbara Calabro, Ph.D.

Content Reader

Catherine Beck, Ph.D.


bilingual education, English immersion, English language learners, second language acquisition, limited English proficient


The purpose of this study was to gain an understanding about the perceptions of teachers regarding the challenges experienced instructing ELLs in the English immersion and bilingual classrooms. The conceptual framework was centered on Cummins (1979) Linguistic Interdependence Theory suggesting that a student’s native and second language are interdependent and necessary for optimal language acquisition. This study addressed the research question: “What do teachers perceive to be the greatest challenges for teaching ELLs in English immersion classes as compared to ELLs in bilingual classes?” The non-probability purposive sampling was used in this study. The qualitative data collection process included two sets of interviews from six bilingual and six English immersion educators and lesson plans. The inductive analysis of qualitative data was used to analyze the data. Findings revealed the perceptions of English immersion and bilingual educators on the challenges of instructing ELLs. English immersion teacher perceptions indicated that beginning and intermediate ELL’s lack of English vocabulary created instructional challenges. Additionally, the lack of training and resources in English immersion required more instructional time from the teacher making it difficult to differentiate for all students. Bilingual teachers’ perceptions suggested that bilingual is more beneficial than English immersion since it provides more support for ELLs and the opportunity to develop two languages. Both sets of interviewed teachers perceived that younger ELLs would benefit more from English immersion since they are developing their first language, but older beginning and intermediate ELLs would benefit more from bilingual since they struggle with communication and comprehension.

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