Date of Award

August 2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Psychology

First Advisor

Kyongboon Kwon

Committee Members

Karen Stoiber, Jacqueline Nguyen, Tatiana Joseph


Culturally and Linguistically Sustaining Pedagogy, English Learner, Social Emotional Learning, Teacher Beliefs


There is a well-established achievement and graduation rate gap between English Learner (EL) students and their monolingual English-speaking peers (U.S. Department of Education, 2020). The current study focuses on teacher cognition and characteristics that may impact the likelihood that they will implement culturally and linguistically sustaining (CLS) social-emotional learning (SEL) practices for EL students within their classroom. Specifically, I descriptively analyze whether personal, professional, or school characteristics are associated with teachers’ perception of EL students SEL competencies or implementation of CLS SEL practices. Utilizing the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB), I evaluate whether teacher cognition (i.e., behavioral attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control) are associated with the implementation of CLS SEL practices. Finally, I investigate whether the association between TPB beliefs and implementation of practices is moderated by teacher beliefs about EL students. To test each research question, 139 teachers located in the state of Wisconsin completed an online survey. I analyzed responses using Pearson r correlation, independent sample t-tests, and hierarchical multiple regression. The results indicated that teacher personal characteristics (e.g., bilingualism, race), type and amount of professional training, and school characteristics (e.g., dual language program), were associated with teacher beliefs about EL students SEL competency and their implementation of CLS SEL practices. TPB beliefs were correlated with implementation but were not uniquely associated with implementation after controlling for teacher bilingualism and total training. Only teachers’ beliefs about EL students’ academic motivation were a significant predictor of implementation. These results suggest providing teachers targeted training to work with EL students and implement SEL practices may increase the likelihood of using CLS practices within the general education classroom. Such training could enhance teachers’ knowledge and understanding of EL students and how to best support them.