Spring 2018



Degree Name


Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Michelle Benegas

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Margaret Farrell

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

Dae Selcer


The research question addressed in this study was: how do RISA Oral Interactions increase LTEL’s participation, engagement, and academic language? Long Term English Learners (LTELs) are an underserved and growing population of students in the United States. These are students who are typically second generation immigrants, two to three grade levels behind and have made very little growth in acquiring academic English proficiency. In order to add to the very little research available on this population of students, the researcher wished to evaluate how a social constructivist strategy would impact learning. RISA Oral Interactions is a cooperative discussion framework developed by Jill Watson. The researcher compared these student interactions to teacher to whole group style of instruction. A mixed methods case study approach was used to gather data. First, the experimenter recorded field observations of lessons using the RISA Oral Interactions grouping. Next, student interactions were observed in both a teacher to whole group lesson and a RISA Oral Interaction lesson. Finally, student and teacher interviews were conducted to compare the two styles of instruction. It was determined that RISA Oral Interactions increase LTEL’s participation and engagement. RISA Oral Interactions may increase LTEL’s academic language use.

Research Methodology

Case Study, Mixed Methods, Qualitative, Quantitative, Interview, Observation


ESL/ ELLs, Oral Language Development, LTELs, Oral Interactions

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