Abstract 3- Volume 4, Number 2, Summer 2009

Social Studies Research and Practice

Volume 4, Number 2, Summer 2009



High School Social Studies Teachers’ Attitudes toward English Language Learners

Jason L. O’Brien
University of Alabama in Huntsville


This study examined the attitudes of high school social studies teachers toward the inclusion of English language learners (ELLs) in their social studies classrooms. A mixed-model methodology was employed by surveying all 344 social studies teachers in the school district. Additionally, eight of these teachers were interviewed to ascertain their attitudes toward including ELLs in high school social studies classrooms. More than three-fourths of teachers surveyed indicated they would prefer that ELLs not be in their classroom until they have “learned” English. Furthermore, the main cause of the negative attitudes seemed to be rooted in the inability of the social studies teachers to effectively modify instruction. The possible results of these attitudes and the efficacy of current policies are discussed.

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About the Author(s)…

Jason L. O’Brien is a former high school social studies teacher and is currently an Assistant Professor of Education at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Contact information: University of Alabama in Huntsville, 301 Sparkman Drive, Morton Hall 245, Huntsville, AL 35899; Email: jason.obrien@uah.edu