Campus Location

Dallas Campus (Online)

Date of Award


Document Type



Organizational Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Scott Bailey

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Christie Bledsoe

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Julie McElhany


The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore the perceptions held by educators and administrators regarding sheltered instruction of English Language Learners (ELLs) in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) classrooms; relevant professional development; and the use of the English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS) within lesson plans. ELLs represent a subpopulation of students with significant achievement gaps in STEM, ultimately affecting student engagement and career interest in STEM. Ten STEM teachers and two administrators from a midsized middle school in west Texas participated in the study. Online semistructured one-on-one interviews and document analysis of submitted lesson plans from the 2019–2020 school year served as the primary data sources for the study. Data collection and analysis of interview transcripts revealed seven dominant themes regarding the implementation of sheltered instruction: (a) experience with ELLs, (b) positive relationships, (c) good teaching, (d) language barriers, (e) instructional focus, (f) achievement, and (g) lack of adequate training. Additionally, five themes emerged related to sheltered instruction professional development: (a) lack of professional support, (b) resources and strategies, (c) collaboration, (d) relevance, and (e) structure. Document analysis of lesson plans revealed ambiguity in how STEM teachers addressed the ELPS and an overreliance on low-engagement activities. The findings of this study provide STEM teachers and campus administrators a vision for revamped professional development and improved lesson planning, leading to enhanced ELL-focused instruction in the STEM classroom.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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