Jane Lohmann


Nena Stracuzzi, Marlene Roderiques

Date of Award


Date Accepted


Degree Grantor

Northeastern University

Degree Level


Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Department or Academic Unit

College of Professional Studies, School of Education


education, English as a second language, multicultural education, elementary education, critical race theory, general education teachers, Hispanic English language learners, language attitudes, listening guide, socio-cultural theory


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Elementary Education and Teaching


This study used a phenomenological study design to better understand the phenomenon of teaching Hispanic English language learners in the general education setting. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews and researcher memos, and analyzed using the Listening Guide method. The study focused on white, English-speaking teachers to maximize the language and cultural differences between teachers and students. The study also focused on Hispanic students because of the current political climate associated with recent Hispanic immigration trends in this country. Participants included four white, English-speaking teachers at Harbor Elementary School, which is a large, diverse, urban school with a large and rapidly increasing Hispanic population. This study used Critical Race Theory and Socio-cultural Theory to help answer the following question: How do white, monolingual, general education teachers at Harbor Elementary School describe their experiences with teaching Hispanic English language learners? Secondary questions focused specifically on the linguistic and cultural aspects of teachers' experiences.

Findings from this study support previous research findings demonstrating the importance of specialized training for teachers of ELL students, and the need for parent engagement programs. This study also makes an important contribution to the literature by offering a new perspective about white teachers working in low-income, racially diverse schools with limited resources. Findings suggest that teachers' experiences are wrought with emotions, and that institutional and cultural barriers, more so than negative cultural/language attitudes, may be partly responsible for the negative aspects of teachers' experiences. Findings from this study suggest that time spent eliminating these barriers would be time well spent. Recommendations include providing culturally appropriate training for general education teachers, providing in-school resources to support these teachers, and developing parent engagement programs to facilitate parent/teacher communication and to establish a collaborative working relationship between home and school.

Document Type

Doctoral Thesis

Rights Information

copyright 2012

Rights Holder

Kathleen Mackenzie