Layers in the Life of an English Learner


Spring 4-21-2015



Degree Name


Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Sheryl Feinstein

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Ann Mabbott

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

Carmen Higueros


This thesis explores factors in English learners’ lives that may be helping them acquire English language proficiency in five years or fewer. Utilizing Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems as a framework, the author designed student and family interviews, as well as teacher questionnaires, to uncover the influential factors that are fostering language acquisition. The results uncovered three cross cultural characteristics that appear to be supporting language acquisition in five years or fewer. First, a preference to English encourages students to speak English in various social settings. Second, the more students apply English, the quicker acquisition occurs. Third, parent’s with access to a high school education or higher positively affects the student’s language acquisition. Implication include advocating for homework help, promoting dual language education and providing resources for parents of ELs.


ESL/ ELLs, Bronfenbrenner's Ecological Systems

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