Applying Interactive Structures in the Elementary EL Classroom to Support the Oral Language Acquisition of Emerging English Learners

Date of Award

Spring 5-12-2020

Document Type

Project (696 or 796 registration)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Curriculum & Instruction


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Courtney LaLonde



The purpose of this study was to monitor the effects of implementing student interaction structures with emerging English Learners (ELs) to support the acquisition of explicitly instructed English vocabulary, grammar, and language structures and functions; to facilitate the development of oral English skills; and to support engagement in EL instructional sessions. Identified subjects received six weeks of targeted EL services focused on practicing their curriculum's target language through student interaction structures. Both language mastery and student engagement was measured and compared before, during, and after the treatment phase. Students showed a consistently high level of language mastery, with a 93.5% assessment mastery rate before treatment and a 94.5% assessment mastery rate during and after treatment. Oral language growth was monitored through oral narrative language tasks. Students showed significant growth on this assessment. All students made gains, while 50% of students moved from the high-risk to the ‘some-risk categories when compared to grade-level norms, and 25% of students moved from the high-risk category to meeting benchmark for grade level norms. Student engagement was analyzed through focus group sessions, subject surveys, and student zone checks utilizing the Zones of Regulation. Analysis of this data supported the use of interactive student structures as a valuable instructional practice for enhancing engagement in instruction, with more positive comments and feelings associated with the treatment conditions than associated with the pre-treatment conditions.

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