Teacher gives English lesson to students

Spencer Foundation awards Megan Madigan Peercy grant for English language learners research

Megan Peercy headshot

Dr. Megan Madigan Peercy received a $50,000 grant from the Spencer Foundation to support research focused on novice teachers of English language learners (ELLs).

“I find this grant really exciting because it will allow me to further my work with novice teachers of English language learners as they move into the early years of their careers,” Dr. Peercy, an associate professor in the UMD College of Education, says. “ELLs are one of the fastest-growing groups in US schools, and so it is critical for teachers to know how to support their academic success. We know from previous research that novice teacher support is critical to their early career success and retention, and that working with student groups that are traditionally under-resourced and underserved demands extra capabilities from teachers.

The project will build from Dr. Peercy’s previous work in which she and colleagues proposed a set of core practices for teaching ELLs. Specifically, the project will examine whether and how the core practices might facilitate novice teachers to further develop a repertoire of practice as growing professionals. The project will also explore synergies between the core practices and teachers’ experiences enacting practices in the ELL classroom.

“Most of the work in practice-based teacher education has not drawn teachers' voices into the conversation about what practices are truly central to teaching,” Dr. Peercy says. “This project strives to involve teachers as important stakeholders in informing the ways in which we go about teacher education at the university and beyond.”

Dr. Peercy is an associate professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership. Her work as appeared in publications such as Teaching and Teacher EducationLanguage Teaching Research, Action in Teacher Education, and TESOL Journal. She also serves as an associate editor for the International Multilingual Research Journal.