Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching, Leadership & Professional Practice

First Advisor

Pamela Beck


The National Center for Educational Statistics’ [NCES] 2021 annual report indicates that there are currently over five million English Language Learners (ELLs) in U.S. schools. Of additional importance to this statistic is that the growing wave of diversity is no longer primarily settling in the larger metropolitan areas, but ELLs and their families are more recently finding themselves in geographically rural areas. The school systems in these rural areas face unique challenges in meeting the needs of the growing diverse populations, with many teachers in these systems lacking best practice knowledge and the confidence and competence needed to meet the diverse academic, social, and emotional needs of their new students. Offering learning opportunities for teachers is the typical response from administrators when the call for professional growth arises. Unfortunately, the traditional professional development methods used are often ineffective for adult learners, resulting in the limited influence of transferring the new learning into practice. This study aimed to determine how learner agency, through innovative professional development methods, influenced teachers’ self-efficacy to implement new knowledge into classroom routines.