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Teacher Attitudes Toward English Language Learners

I have been interested in doing an article on music teacher attitudes toward recruiting (as we have all experienced interesting attitudes from blatant territorialism to a complete lack of motivation to do any recruiting whatsoever).  I have been searching for articles on this topic and haven’t found ANYTHING new!  I kind of can’t believe that nobody has researched this.  Even searching for attitudes of educators, I found very little research that I could actually use.

One of the articles was on teacher attitudes toward English-Language Learners (ELL) and the inclusion of them within a mainstream classroom.  This study was really interesting (even if it wasn’t really relevant at all for my study).  It does make me wonder, however, how music teachers’ attitudes toward ELL students may differ from other teachers.  Here are a few interesting points from the study:

  1. Between 1995 and 2001, the ELL population grew a whopping 105% across the country (p. 131).  This is so interesting, because I know that this population has grown even more since.

  2. Many qualitative studies have measured teacher attitudes toward ELL students and results were mixed between teachers having negative and unwelcoming attitudes to teachers who were more positive and welcoming.

  3. Researchers suggested a variety of contributing factors to the negative attitudes:

  4. fear of impact of ELL inclusion on the teacher

  5. impact of inclusion on learning environment

  6. teacher attitudes and perceptions of ELL

Participants in this study felt that they lacked adequate training and time to work with ELL students.

I have had many ELL students in orchestra and it has been a blast!  I’m not sure what it is, but the language barrier is rarely an issue in orchestra.  Perhaps it is because so much of what we do involves cues and a universal language.  But either way, it has been wonderful to have them in my class.

Okay, I will end this little post and continue searching for articles on recruiting attitudes…

Reeves, J.R. “Secondary Teacher Attitudes toward including English-Language Learners in Mainstream Classrooms,” The Journal of Educational Research, Vol. 99, No. 3, 2006.

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