Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Education and Human Services


Teacher Education and Teacher Development

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Tamara Lucas

Committee Member

Ana Maria Villegas

Committee Member

Michele Knobel


Educators and teacher educators in the United States have worked for decades to provide English language learners (ELLs) and other linguistically diverse students access to education. While ELLs’ rising high school graduation rates suggest that efforts have helped ELLs access schools, classrooms, and scholastic tasks, more steps need to be taken toward ensuring that linguistically diverse students can also meaningfully access college or 21st century careers.

This qualitative study is at the nexus of language, culture, academic content, literacy, teaching, and teacher education and uses a bricolage approach to examine the teaching of four secondary science and mathematics teachers recognized as “successful” teachers of ELLs. The results show that the content constructed in the teaching went beyond the teaching of the facts, topics, and concepts of the school curriculum to also include the accepted and expected ways of thinking and communicating used in the discipline. This suggests that the teaching was preparing all students to access both the school curriculum as well as disciplinary spaces such as college or careers.

Findings are presented in two chapters. The first findings chapter offers a complex and multifaceted way to view content, including the facets of academics, logos, and expectations. The second findings chapter focuses on teaching and documents how the teaching observed deconstructed disciplinary knowledge to teach students to notice and use content as a language. Together, these two chapters outline what I call PARALEXICAL teaching, or teaching that pays purposeful attention to realizing academics, logos, and expectations integral to content as a language. I argue that PARALEXICAL teaching, through its explicit attention to disciplinary language, can unveil aspects of the hidden curriculum in ways that more equitably prepare all students, especially ELLs, to graduate from high school and enter disciplinary spaces like college or careers.

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