Summer 2017



Degree Name


Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Ann Mabbott

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Heidi Bernal

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

Caitlin Cohn


This case study examined English learner’s perceptions of their mainstream and ESL classes and measured interaction levels of English learners within the mainstream classroom. Student perception of their ESL class can be complex, relating to issues of linguistic and cultural identity as well as academic achievement. Additionally, interaction is integral for English learners to gain access to linguistic and academic resources in the mainstream classroom. Results showed that English learners held conflicting views on languages and language learning. They also percieved significant differences between mainstream and ESL classes. Students’ interaction levels in the mainstream classroom were decidedly higher when placed in small group or one-to-one contexts. These results are used to offer suggestions on increasing English learners’ access to academic resources in the mainstream classroom, as well as ideas on how to counter the self-doubt and uncertainty English learners had about their linguistic abilities.

Research Methodology

Case Study, Grounded Theory, Interview, Observation


ESL/ELLs, English learner interaction, English learner perception, mainstream

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