Urban Third Grade Teachers' Practices and Perceptions in Science Instruction with English Language Learners

Scott Lewis, Jaime Maerten-Rivera, Karen Adamson, Okhee Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The study examined relationships among key domains of science instruction with English language learning (ELL) students based on teachers' perceptions of their classroom practices (i.e., what they think they do) and actual classroom practices (i.e., what they are observed doing). The four domains under investigation included: (1) teachers' knowledge of science content; (2) teaching practices to support scientific understanding; (3) teaching practices to support scientific inquiry; and (4) teaching practices to support English language development during science instruction. The study involved 38 third-grade teachers participating in the first-year implementation of a professional development intervention aimed at improving science and literacy achievement of ELL students in urban elementary schools. Based on teachers' self-reports, practices for understanding were related to practices for inquiry and practices for English language development. Based on classroom observations in the fall and spring, practices for understanding were related to practices for inquiry, practices for English language development, and teacher knowledge of science content. However, we found a weak to non-existent relationship between teachers' self-reports and observations of their practices. (Contains 4 tables.)
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)156-163
Number of pages8
JournalSchool Science and Mathematics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2011



  • Teacher Characteristics
  • Second Language Learning
  • Grade 3
  • Science Instruction
  • English (Second Language)
  • English
  • Language Acquisition
  • Teaching Methods
  • Elementary Education
  • Investigations
  • Inquiry
  • Educational Practices
  • Professional Development

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