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

Kathryn Herr

Committee Member

Jeremy Price

Committee Member

Emily Klein


For this study, I initiated an inquiry group to research how to meet the needs of mainstreamed English language learning (ELL) students. I chose a practitioner action research design with a socially critical lens in order to address the injustice inherent in the district where I currently work and inform future policy. Although what we learned about meeting the needs of mainstreamed ELL students was important to our individual professional development, the research did not yield new findings for the body of educational research on instruction for language learners. The primary contribution of this practitioner action research study was how we started to develop an “inquiry as stance” habit of mind (Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 2009). As we engaged in this inquiry group, we discovered a different approach to professional learning, one with great potential compared to the typical transmission model we previously experienced, which changed our understanding of best practices for professional learning and strengthened our understanding of our roles as educational researchers. By acknowledging the ever-changing needs of the student population, we developed an understanding of the importance of self-directed professional learning.

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