The lived experience of teaching literacy to English language learners among experienced, mainstream, elementary teachers using a coculturation perspective
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] Given the growing number of English Language Learners (ELL) in elementary schools and their potential struggles with literacy development, this qualitative phenomenology used a coculturation perspective to investigate the lived experience of teaching literacy to ELLs in mainstream elementary classrooms. In-depth interviews were conducted to learn about teaching literacy to ELLs among experienced, mainstream elementary teachers in the Midwest and South. Three shared experiences emerged: a) teachers negotiated a range of personal emotions, b) teachers drew on relationships as resources, and c) teachers perceptions of literacy for ELLs evolved. Findings indicated that participants realized they will probably have ELLs in their classrooms and teaching ELLs can be challenging yet satisfying. As the ELL population continues to grow, teachers will need to rely on others to help ELLs overcome their struggles with literacy development. Teaching literacy to ELLs is a process of discovery and teachers need to be open for potential changes in perceptions that will help them provide more effective literacy instruction. This study revealed that educators need to develop expertise throughout their careers.