Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Degree

Spring 2009

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Teaching and Learning

First Advisor

Leslie L. Schrier

Abstract

This study examines the perceptions of foreign language elementary school (FLES) teachers under current federal education legislation, specifically the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001. The study data was collected during the fall of 2008, while Congress continued to debate the reauthorization of NCLB and just prior to the U.S. presidential election. The study gives voice a traditionally under-researched group of teachers, elementary school foreign language teachers. Inner-city public FLES teachers at Murray Language Academy, a Chicago (Illinois, U.S.A.) Public School (CPS), shared their beliefs about working under NCLB in order to document the perceived impact of NCLB on their early foreign language curriculum and their own behavior. The study also provides a review of current literature illuminating NCLB's impact on FLES programs and FLES teacher behavior in the U.S. As a case study, the research included structured interviews and classroom observations which were designed and analyzed with the following research questions in mind:

1. What do CPS elementary school foreign language teachers believe about No Child Left Behind's impact on their curriculum?

2. What do CPS elementary school foreign language teachers believe about No Child Left Behind's impact on their own behavior?

The interviews were analyzed using the constant comparative method (Glaser and Strauss, 1967) to methodically identify patterns in the ways in which FLES teachers are influenced by NCLB. To further enrich the study, classroom observations were conducted.

The study participants did not note any reduction in FLES programming due to NCLB, however, the study uncovered two recurring critical issues for Murray FLES teachers in the climate of NCLB. The two recurring critical issues revealed by the study's participants are: (a) FLES teachers in CPS believe they face increased challenges in integrating students from NCLB failed schools into their language curriculum and (b) FLES teachers in CPS perceive increased workloads and increased use of school resources, including greater interaction with the school's special education staff, as a result of mainstreaming students with cognitive and behavioral disabilities into FLES programs under NCLB.

Keywords

early foreign language learning, education policy, elementary school, FLES, foreign language, No Child Left Behind

Pages

xi, 336 pages

Bibliography

Includes bibliographical references (pages 328-336).

Copyright

Copyright 2009 Monica Lee Vuksanovich

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