Bridging the Gap: Providing Effective Instruction for English Language Learners in the Social Studies Classroom

Open Access
Snare, Daniel Brooks
Area of Honors:
Secondary Education
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Mari Haneda, Thesis Supervisor
  • Rose Mary Zbiek, Honors Advisor
  • social studies
  • ELL
  • English language learner
In American schools today, the combination of a rapidly growing English language learner (ELL) population and an English-reliant content area such as social studies creates an urgent need for social studies educators to learn and utilize the best practices in supporting ELLs. I have personally learned about the increasing gap between ELLs and their non-ELL counterparts in the social studies classroom through my own teaching experiences. This thesis investigates the best practices for social studies educators to use in supporting English language learners in the general education social studies classroom. This research aims to push this unique field further, consisting of an extensive literature review coupled with interview data from current educators with experience in the field of ELL education. Findings show that educators can best support ELLs by increasing the accessibility of the social studies content, placing an emphasis on culturally relevant pedagogy, and creating a classroom environment that welcomes learners of all levels and backgrounds.