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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.

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Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership for Diverse Learning Communities




School of Education and Human Services


Administrators and teachers are tasked with the opportunity to implement bilingual programs to accommodate the growing population of multilingual learners, or MLs. There is a debate in the field about the most appropriate structure for bilingual programs. Sheltered Instruction (SI) is a way to “shelter” MLs from the anxiety of regular academic courses by separating MLs from their native English-speaking peers until they are ready and proficient enough to join mainstream classes. While the SI classroom is beneficial academically, the program’s separate structure, culture, and climate could have negative implications for students’ socialization and sense of belonging. The purpose of this study was to examine how different stakeholders–administrators, educators, and students–perceive the assimilation and multicultural goals of a 5th-grade Englishonly and 6th-grade bilingual-supported SI classroom. My findings show that the advantages of a SI classroom included the ability for the ESOL teacher to support specific student needs, create a safe learning environment, and give ML students tailored instruction. Disadvantages of a SI classroom included isolation, missed opportunities, lack of teacher collaboration, and timing. Assimilation goals were present in the SI classroom, particularly in the English-only class, because of the intensive focus on acquiring English for state tests and returning to the general education classroom. Yet, multicultural goals of the SI classroom were also illuminated due to how teachers valued students' cultural backgrounds. The findings of this study can provide an opportunity to improve the SI program through a better understanding of the presence of multicultural and assimilation goals.

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