Year of Publication

2016

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Education

Department

Educational Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Wayne Lewis

Abstract

English Language Learners (ELLs) comprise the largest growing subgroup of students in the United States, yet for decades this special population has persistently underachieved as compared to White non-Hispanic students in the public school system. Throughout the nation, ELLs receive an array of services from English as a second language pull-out to sheltered content instruction to dual language education. Much debate has centered on instructional programs for ELLs and the language of instructional delivery. The purpose of this study was to explore the phenomenon of teacher leadership during the adoption and implementation of a one-way dual language education program at a central Kentucky elementary school. This program, designed to develop and maintain literacy in Spanish and English, was the first of its kind for ELLs in the state.

In an effort to understand the factors that influenced the teachers ‘ thinking, behavior, and interactions as they designed and implemented the program, an exploratory qualitative approach that incorporated heuristic inquiry and narrative analysis was used. Data were collected primarily through interviews and a focus group session along with documents and observation. Analysis of the transcripts involved the identification and interpretation of multiple categories that related to theoretical and emergent themes. Teachers’ stories illuminated the influence of streams of school leadership (relationships, moral purpose, and collective action) throughout the adoption and implementation process. Emergent themes from the data pointed to cross-cultural communication issues that had an impact on the teachers’ relationships and subsequently, the program’s development.

Findings in the study point to the need for K-12 schools and teacher education programs to develop curricula that promotes understanding of teacher leadership theory. More importantly, however, the data showed that attention must also be paid to promoting cultural responsivity in educators, not only as relates to students, but also to colleagues.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

https://doi.org/10.13023/ETD.2016.454