Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

David I. Hanauer, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Gian S. Pagnucci, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Richard D. McCallum, Ph.D.


This study is an analytical critique of English as a second language (ESL) staff development based on an informed understanding of the field of teacher training that considers the diversity within perceptions and perspectives of the stakeholders. The importance of context will be explored in the district’s ESL staff development programs from 2000-2005; in order to evaluate the future needs in mainstream teacher training. The research sites include an elementary, middle and a high school located in western Pennsylvania. The district experienced an increase in English language learners (ELLs) over the past ten years (3,061%). Data analyses consisted of document analysis, a teacher focus group, and administrator interviews that concluded the success or failure of any ESL staff development initiative is contingent upon the collaboration between administrators and teacher, who conduct the district in a bureaucratic linear model. The documents identified seven critical ESL themes: strategies of instruction, second language acquisition, role of culture, affective concerns, Bloom’s taxonomy, ESL program and policy, and ESL standards. Administrator interviews revealed an expectation for teachers to be responsible and self-sufficient professionals who can implement initiatives in order to individualize instruction for ELLs. The teacher focus group revealed a level of frustration with the bureaucratic constraints of the institution that lacks collaboration, time, and communication between stakeholders. Overall, the triangulation of the data reveals that there are inconsistencies between explicit statements in the data and the actualities that occur in the district. First and foremost is the “illusion of teacher training.” Secondly, the triangulation of the data reveals inequities within the power relations and lack of consistent collaboration between the administrators and the teachers.