Promoviendo el repertorio lingüístico–exploring the automatic and controlled thought processes of third through fifth grade mathematics dual language teachers in a west Texas elementary school : a multiple case study.


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Emergent bilingual (EB) students are not demonstrating successful academic achievement on standardized mathematics assessments. Dual language programs are intended to support and strengthen student achievement, yet EB students continue to underperform compared to their English-dominant peers. Mathematics standardized assessments, particularly the Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR), requires students to understand content beyond calculations. With the continued increase of EB students in Texas, it is important that dual language teachers help their EB students attain high levels of mathematics academic achievement.

The purpose of this multiple case study was to explore and understand how third through fifth grade dual language teachers at a west Texas elementary school used their automatic and controlled thought processes to promote EB students’ linguistic repertoires when teaching mathematics. The dual process theory (James, 1890) served as the theoretical framework for this multiple case study. I used purposeful criterion-based sampling to select three participants to participate in the study. Data collection followed an eight-step process, including collecting four data sources that provided a unique perspective into the mathematics instruction of each participant. I collected two mathematics lesson plans and one open-ended questionnaire from each participant. I observed each participant on two consecutive days during their mathematics instruction. I also interviewed the participants individually via Zoom. I used Creswell and Poth’s (2018) data analysis spiral to organize individual case profiles and conduct a cross-case analysis to identify themes based on within-case patterns across the three cases.

Data analysis revealed three themes, which comprised the study findings. First, dual language teachers use their automatic thought processes based on their EB students’ mathematics and linguistic needs. Second, dual language teachers target their controlled thought processes toward establishing a conducive learning environment. Third, dual language teachers believe in the need to build a welcoming classroom environment for all learners. Consequently, the findings of this study indicated the need for professional development, a reorganization of district leaders, the creation of guiding coalitions to support mathematics dual language teachers, and adapting teacher education programs.