Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 85–100 | Cite as

Professional development for practicing mathematics teachers: a critical connection to English language learner students in mainstream USA classrooms

  • Karen E. L. Ross


This article examines the effects of changing teacher self-efficacy on student achievement. Results from a quantitative study of mathematics teachers in a USA mid-Atlantic state showed that teachers experienced reduced self-efficacy when working with English language learner students (ELLs) relative to non-ELLs. Further, the article explores professional development opportunities for strengthening teachers’ effectiveness with ELLs. The study utilized a four-part survey instrument based on the Teacher Sense of Efficacy Scale (TSES). All participants (n = 181) were mathematics educators from the highlighted state, and 94 % of them were preK-12 public school practicing classroom teachers. Study results indicate that teachers’ participation in professional development on ELL instruction is positively correlated to their heightened sense of self-efficacy. This finding points to continuing education as a potentially viable approach to reducing academic challenges for ELL students in mainstream mathematics classrooms by developing ever more effective practicing teachers.


Teacher self-efficacy Mathematics instruction for English language learner students Professional development for practicing teachers Continuing education for teachers 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Maryland State Department of EducationBaltimoreUSA

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