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How Do Effective Upper Elementary Teachers of English Language Learners Show Support?

by Holland W. Banse, Natalia A. Palacios & Anna Martin - 2019

Background/Context: Latino English language learners (ELLs) comprise a rapidly growing portion of the student population, and much empirical attention has been devoted to supporting their English language and literacy proficiency. Less is known about how to support Latino ELLsí social-emotional needs. Latino ELLs face the dual challenge of learning English and academic content simultaneously; they also may face stigma, anti-immigration sentiment, and deficit perspectives from teachers and peers. Consequently, they may be in especial need of support from their teachers.

Research Question: This study addresses the question, How do effective teachers show support within upper elementary classrooms with varying levels of English language proficiency?

Research Design: We employed a multiple and comparative case study approach to answer this question, using videotaped English language arts lessons from the Measures of Effective Teaching data set. We compared how teachers demonstrate supportiveness in three types of fourth- and fifth-grade classrooms: (1) high-ELL and high-gains; (2) no-ELL and high-gains; and (3) high-ELL and low-gains.

Conclusion/Recommendations: We observed that only high-ELL, high-gains teachers showed supportiveness in the following distinct ways: through contingent and effusive praise, by describing the relevance of content, and by advancing relationships with students. We discussed why these demonstrations of supportiveness may be important, particularly for Latino ELLs. We conclude with ideas for future research and practical implications for teachers and teacher preparation programs.

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 121 Number 7, 2019, p. 1-42
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 22688, Date Accessed: 6/12/2021 10:54:22 AM

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About the Author
  • Holland Banse
    University of Denver
    E-mail Author
    HOLLAND W. BANSE is a postdoctoral fellow at the Marsico Institute of Early Learning and Literacy at the University of Denver, where her research foci include supporting English language learners, early childhood mathematics education, and the intersection of those two domains.
  • Natalia Palacios
    University of Virginia
    E-mail Author
    NATALIA A. PALACIOS is an associate professor at the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia whose research interests include teacher interactions with linguistically diverse students, with particular focus on the educational contexts experienced by Latino children.
  • Anna Martin
    University of Virginia
    E-mail Author
    ANNA MARTIN is a graduate of UVAís Educational Psychology-Applied Developmental Science masterís program and works in assistive technology at Northern Virginia Community College, aiming to make education accessible for students of all abilities.
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