Teachers’ Perceptions of their Preparation for Teaching Linguistically and Culturally Diverse Learners in Rural Eastern North Carolina

Debra D. O'Neal, Marjorie Ringler, Diane Rodriguez

Abstract


The number of English language learners (ELL) students in the US is increasing dramatically. The growth is even more evident in rural areas of the United States such as North Carolina where teachers are facing classrooms with a majority of second language learners. The authors conducted a study interviewing 24 teachers at a rural elementary school in eastern North Carolina. Teachers were interviewed regarding their perceptions of their preparedness to teach English language learners in the mainstream classrooms. Findings revealed that teacher training programs have not prepared these individuals for the student population they face today regardless of the year in which they received their teaching licenses. All teachers showed a strong desire to learn more at this time in their careers, but emphasized their lack of prior training. The study found that even though teachers lacked confidence, they were effectively educating this growing population. The authors discuss the responsibility of Institutions of Higher Education (IHE) to provide formal education in teaching students from diverse language backgrounds.

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