Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name



English Education

First Advisor

Christina P. DeNicolo

Second Advisor

Sharon L. Elliot


With the growing need to close the gap in instruction for all students there needs to be more of an emphasis on instructional strategies that assist students to achieve in literacy and a focus on their perceptions of the instruction. There is a specific need to support English language learners as they are the fastest growing subgroup in U.S. schools. Moreover, there needs to be a focus on professional development for teachers to support English language learners, multicultural students and all other students that struggle with literacy.

The purpose of the research study was to examine the instructional practices used by one secondary literacy teacher. The secondary purpose of the proposed research was to understand the perceptions of students of Middle Eastern descent regarding the literacy instruction that they were exposed to and utilized in class. The research study was to identify how instructional strategies affected literacy instruction for secondary emergent ELL and English only students in a high school classroom. The research was of qualitative designed in the form of microethnography.

The two research questions that were used in the research study were:

- What are the instructional practices used by a secondary mainstream tenth grade language arts teacher of a non-ELL class with multilingual and multicultural students?

- The secondary research question was what are the students' perceptions of the literacy instruction?

The primary finding through the research was that students across language proficiency levels were able to draw from textual connections through the use of sociocultural relevant texts that were supported with instructional strategies assisting with metacognition. Through metacognition, students were able to self-regulate their instruction to support their literacy skills. This cyclical process allowed for higher order reasoning skills to be the focus of the instruction instead of simple tasks to learn vocabulary and comprehension.

The sub-findings through the research focused on the students' ability to transfer that knowledge and skill set at a high-order of thinking. Based on the perception data, the students identified that their metacognition allowed them to derive inferences based on their cultural experiences. Additionally, the students identified specific instructional strategies that assisted them to build confidence in their learning and to transfer that learning across content and outside of school.