Policies, Pedagogy, and Practices: Educational Experiences of Latino English Language Learners in Virginia

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Virginia Tech


The purpose of this qualitative case study was to analyze the impact of the policies of the No Child Left Behind Act (2001) on the teaching and learning of 10 Latino English language learners (ELLs) in an urban high school in Virginia. Using ethnographic methodology, the researcher examined the nexus of the policy of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) (2001) with the pedagogy of the English as a Second Language (ESL) and content area teachers, and the practices employed by teachers to enable students to acquire a second language in an academic setting. This enabled the researcher to examine the contextual framework of a large urban school and factors converging to help Latino ELLs learn academic English to succeed in high school. By reviewing the policy, pedagogy, and practices used in this school, I observed the connectedness of an entire school and the relationships fostered by students and faculty to support a learning climate for ELLs.

The findings of this study show that the sociocultural environment and the educational experiences play a significant role in the adaptive process of learning a second language for Latino English language learners. Pedagogy that was built on respect for the Latino English language learners' cultural identity, linguistic abilities, and critical thinking skills helped learners become actively engaged, and facilitated learning in the second language that was academically rigorous. The practices of caring teachers enabled them to serve as advocates for ELLs, helped forge relationships of respect and trust, and encouraged Latino ELLs to succeed academically as they navigated the high school environment.



Latino English Language Learners, Caring Teacher, School Climate, Ethnic Identity, No Child Left Behind Act, Second Language Acquisition