English as a Second Language Teachers and the Use of New Media: Collaboration and Connection

Johnna Paraiso, Tennessee State University


The role of the ESL teacher is that of both educator and advocate. Frequently ESL teachers work with a population that presents complex challenges to the school culture at large. The distribution of the ELL population within a school system may require the ESL teacher to fulfill responsibilities at multiple schools, thus maintaining an itinerant schedule. As a result, this group of educators may experience political marginalization and geographic isolation. Therefore ESL teachers may not have the opportunities for professional support and collaboration with their parallel peers. The problem that prompts this research is the sense of political marginalization and geographic isolation experienced by English as a Second Language teachers. The purpose of this study is to examine how English as a Second Language teachers use new media to collaborate and connect with other teachers. This research study provides rich, ethnographic data about the professional collaboration experiences, both through an on-site format as well as through the use of new media technology, of ESL teachers in one school district in middle Tennessee. English as a Second Language teachers have indicated that they perceive themselves to be frequently professionally marginalized and geographically isolated. Geographic isolation and professional marginalization make collaboration with other teachers difficult for the ESL professional. Yet professional collaboration and connection is essential to both teacher satisfaction as well as student achievement. This study examines the lived experiences of ESL teachers as they seek avenues for professional collaboration and connection in environments that may not readily provide access to supportive relationships. Online teacher support groups exist in a multitude of forms on the Internet. Many ESL professionals participate in online professional networks in order to gain support from parallel peers for their specialized discipline. ESL teachers access these groups through a number of new media tools including social network sites, mobile devices, internet telephony, and collaborative software. These platforms can be effective in addressing teacher isolation and providing professional and emotional support to a segment of the education profession that is frequently underserved through tradition means of professional support and development.

Subject Area

English as a Second Language|Educational leadership|Teacher education

Recommended Citation

Johnna Paraiso, "English as a Second Language Teachers and the Use of New Media: Collaboration and Connection" (2012). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3552839.