Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Ed.D. Doctor of Education

Academic Discipline

Reading and Language

First Advisor

Terry Jo Smith

Second Advisor

Kristin Lems

Third Advisor

Ruth Quiroa


This study explored the impact of instructional interventions with four Middle School English Language Learners in Science. The initial focus was to determine the impact of explicit academic vocabulary instruction, including cognates, and small-group guided discussions in order to facilitate the acquisition of cognates, academic vocabulary, and comprehension of scientific concepts. To accomplish this, various methods were implemented to gather data: observational and reflective field notes, a cognate-circling task, along with group and individual interviews. Upon the initial data analysis, an emerging question surfaced which added an additional dimension to the research, and shed light on the complexity of the teacher/research role. Thus, data analyzed and reflected both original and emerging questions, uncovering various patterns that impacted students’ learning. It also provided insight into how a researcher’s roles can affect the types and quality of data. Implications are provided for researchers, classroom teachers, bilingual teachers, professional development providers, and university programs developing new teachers.