Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Committee Member

Dr. Lienne Medford, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Pamela Dunston

Committee Member

Dr. Bonnie Holaday

Committee Member

Dr. Temi Biderjano


The population of English language learners (ELLs) within the US has been steadily increasing over the past 20 years, thereby escalating the need for teachers to be knowledgeable in how to teach these students. However, research indicates that many teachers are not receiving adequate English as a Second Language (ESL) professional development. Lack of professional development in ESL strategies may adversely affect teachers’ self-efficacy because they are unfamiliar with methods to assist their ELL students in learning academic content. The purpose of this research study was to determine if particular subject areas taught by middle school teachers engender a higher level of teaching self-efficacy. An explanatory sequential mixed methods design was used for this study. The quantitative data were collected using a modified version of Tschannen-Moran and Hoy’s (2001) Teachers' Sense of Efficacy Scale survey with middle school subject area teachers. The survey focused on self-efficacy with instructional practices for ELLs and ELL student engagement, and provided an opportunity for participants to volunteer to be interviewed for the qualitative portion of the study. Interviews allowed for more detailed information to be gathered about participants’ self-efficacy in teaching ELLs. The results of the data analysis of the survey showed statistically significant results for instructional practices. Upon closer analysis, social studies and English language arts (ELA) teachers were the only subject areas with statistically significant results for instructional practices. Student engagement was not found to have any statistically significant results. Findings from the qualitative phase of the study showed that participants already used many different strategies for discussion, differentiation of instruction, and instructional strategies, most of which they gained through years of teaching experience. School support in the form of ESL professional development was unavailable at most of the schools.