Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Education (Ed.D.)


Administrative and Instructional Leadership

First Advisor

Anthony Annunziato

Second Advisor

Richard Bernato,

Third Advisor

James Campbell


Researchers have demonstrated the need for teachers to have the training and preparation to meet the needs of a growing diverse student population that can include students who may present with a variety of needs. This research will explore the experience of educators teaching students who are learning English as a second language and present with a disability. While research has been conducted on the assessment and placement of language learners with disabilities there is a gap in the literature regarding teachers’ experiences and self-efficacy in educating English language learners who have disabilities and their use of Culturally Relevant Pedagogy (CRP). This phenomenological qualitative study aimed to explore teachers' perceptions of the skills needed and instructional decision-making regarding teaching this rising student demographic group. Participants of the study consisted of teachers who teach English Language Learners with disabilities on Long Island and they possess a variety of teacher certification areas - General Education, Special Education, English as a New Language, Foreign Language as well as Bilingual Extensions. This study answers research questions on teachers’ perceptions and experiences teaching English Language Learners with a disability (ELLWD). Through interviews, teachers’ identified innate personality traits, specific pedagogical strategies, and the importance of developing relationships to include families as participants. Participants emphasized the necessity of supporting their ELLWD students' social emotional and behavioral needs. Several respondents shared the importance of self-care to avoid burnout, the need for access to more native language support for students as well as the value of more hands-on and highly effective professional development to support CRP. The respondents all indicated an interest in CRP and wanted to learn more about it but stated that there weren’t enough opportunities for them to participate in professional development. Respondents all demonstrated the components of CRP such as creating a warm welcoming environment, communicating with families, overcoming language barriers, having high expectations, and having a positive approach to their students in terms of social-emotional and behavioral needs. The findings underscore the need for districts to consider their professional development opportunities to improve teacher self-efficacy, preserve the high self-efficacy of their effective teachers and develop a joint understanding and implementation of CRP.

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