Summer 8-13-2015



Degree Name


Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Amy Young

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Ann Mabbott

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

Tara Garcia Mathewson


This study examined the differences is ways newcomer ELs in the dual language immersion program characterized identity and sense of belonging in comparison to newcomer ELs in the English-only track. Interview data was analyzed to reveal differences in perceptions of school membership along three different themes: perception of Spanish in the school, academic participation, and peer acceptance. The concept of communities of practice (Lave & Wenger, 1991) was employed to understand students’ participation and sense of belonging within the school community, and the topics of agency and self-efficacy are discussed as they relate to students’ identities. The results of this study suggest that newcomer ELs in the dual language immersion program perceive higher levels of school membership than newcomer ELs in the English-only track. This paper concludes with pedagogical implications and suggestions for educators and administrators of Middle School dual language programs.


ESL/ ELLs, Dual Language Immersion, Newcomer ELs


Degree completed under name of de la Riva; changed to Whisler in 2017.

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