ESL Teachers Working with Emergent Bilinguals who had Special Education Needs: The Needs and Challenges

Tuba Arabaci Atlamaz


Many English as a second language (ESL) teachers in the US schools face the challenge of helping an emergent bilingual who has also special education needs. Moreover, these ESL teachers along with other educators do not have enough guidance to serve these emergent bilinguals who are struggling to learn the content and the English language at the same time. One step to help these ESL teachers is to understand their experiences with these emergent bilinguals whom they had taught or met in their classrooms. Thus, this qualitative study aimed to understand what kind of challenges, support systems, and needs ESL teachers report while serving emergent bilinguals with special education needs. Six ESL teachers working in various schools in New Jersey in the USA were interviewed. Although the challenges and support systems were reported to be various, the needs were more or less the same. The data also revealed what kind of strategies ESL teachers used while serving these students. Implications were ESL teachers need more time to collaborate with other teachers; scheduling should be organized more appropriately, and ESL teachers need training on special education strategies. Considering the current trends in the immigration around the world, the implications of this study would also be useful to consider in other educational settings.



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