Effective Teaching Practices for English as an Additional Language Learning in Alberta, Canada

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English as an additional language (EAL) learners lag behind their English-speaking peers academically and it takes longer for them to achieve high school completion requirements (Alberta Education, 2017; 2018, 2019a). Teachers play a critical role in providing intentional language instruction alongside content instruction to support these vulnerable learners. This study addressed three research questions: i) What instructional practices do teachers use to support EAL learners? ii) How does background knowledge inform teachers in their decision making and in determining the effectiveness of the instructional practices they use to support EAL learners? iii) In what ways do pre-service and in-service teacher education impact teachers’ effective instruction for EAL learning? Participants (n=17) were teachers who were recognized as holding specialized EAL knowledge and administrators who lead EAL learning in their jurisdiction. They participated in semi-structured interviews about the instructional practices that they perceived as the most effective for EAL learning. Six key findings were identified: i) positive relationships are foundational for EAL learners, ii) explicit language instruction needs to be embedded in the content areas, iii) teachers ideology influences their background knowledge and impacts their decision making, iv) knowledge of learning theories that impact EAL learning informs teacher’s decision making, v) effective instructional practices for EAL learning should be embedded in post-secondary courses for pre-service teachers, and vi) professional learning in EAL learning is needed for in-service teachers’ and administrators’ decision making for instruction and programming. A conclusion drawn from this study is that the language intentions have to be explicitly identified and stated along with learning intentions for each lesson/unit of study. Another conclusion is that there are some Alberta educators who have a strong theoretical knowledge and a repertoire of effective instructional strategies for EAL learning, however, many teachers and administrators do not have solid theoretical and practical knowledge. As such a recommendation from this study is that professional learning about EAL Learning is required for pre-service and in-service teachers and for practicing administrators.
EAL, ESL, ELL, English as an Additional Language, English as a Second Language, English Language Learning, Effective Teaching Practices in EAL/ESL/ELL, Teacher Education EAL/ESL/ELL, Language Intentions, Learning Intentions, Explicit Language Instruction, Culturally Responsive Instruction
Salmon, K. L. (2023). Effective teaching practices for English as an additional language learning in Alberta, Canada (Doctoral thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from https://prism.ucalgary.ca.