Maria Chouinard


University of New Hampshire



Mentor: Dr. Judy Sharkey, Department of Education

Supporting the Oral Language Development of Young Dual Language Learners: Perspectives of EL Teachers in NH

Demographic shifts in the US over the last two decades have increased the diversity gap between teachers and their students. The majority of multilingual children entering US public schools face the challenge of learning academic content in not just one, but two languages. Despite many of the positive effects of being bilingual, Dual Language Learners (DLLs) often face more challenges in education achievement and opportunities than their monolingual English-speaking peers. A key factor of this challenge is the fact that DLLs tend to have monolingual English-speaking peers, and teachers have been shown to play a critical role in student learning.

Through surveys, interviews, and classroom observations, this study explores to what extent NH teachers of DLLs understand and enact research-based practices known to develop oral language. Preliminary results indicate that teachers in New Hampshire report use of research-based practices in teaching DLLs, but it is unclear if they use them effectively and extensively. Contextual factors such as level of administrative support and availability of resources in students’ first languages were also identified as affecting teachers’ practices. Follow up interviews with teachers will illuminate these preliminary findings.

Research such as this aims to shed light on whether or how research-based practices are making their way into classroom practices. The implications will shed light on the needs for teacher and administrator preparation.

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