The primary purpose of this study was to examine elementary teachers' perceptions and attitudes toward the "inclusion" of ELLs in mainstreamed classrooms. Other purposes of the study examined (1) the teachers' perceptions and attitudes toward ELL language acquisition, (2) class modifications, (3) the ELL time constraints, (4) professional training and support, and (5) the overall educational environment resulting from ELL inclusion.
This study utilized an "Integrative Research Design." Both quantitative and qualitative inquiries were employed. The quantitative aspect was descriptive. The survey instrument in this study was developed by Dr. Jenelle Reeves from the University of Nebraska. Open-ended questions were used to serve two purposes in this research: (1) to allow participants to expand or clarify their responses in the survey and (2) to identify any attitudes and perceptions the survey did not address (Reeves, 2002).
The population for this research consisted of 14 elementary schools within the Rutherford County School district in Middle Tennessee. There were 437 participants (elementary classroom teachers) in the research study.
The researcher used the SAS Statistical software (SAS™, SAS Institute, Inc., Cary, NC, USA) for all data analysis. Descriptive statistics was used to analyze the survey responses for the normality of distributions. If the data was normally distributed, parametric statistics were used to test the null hypotheses.
For null hypotheses 1-6, t tests were used to reveal whether or not mainstreamed teachers had positive attitudes toward ELL students. Additionally, the General Linear Model procedure was used to perform the MANOVA test. The MANOVA test is the Multivariate Analysis of Variance, and it allowed comparison of multiple dependent variables (Mallery, 2006).
Elementary mainstreamed teachers had positive attitudes toward class modifications, time constraints, educational environment, general attitudes, and training and support but had negative attitudes about having adequate ELL training. Also, elementary mainstreamed teachers had negative attitudes toward second language acquisition.
Finally, the research showed that new teachers were more positive about all of the variables than experienced teachers, and females were more positive than males.