Adult Immigrant English Learners’ Perceptions of Their Multilingual and Multicultural Identities
Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair
Secondary Advisor/Reader One
Adult immigrant English learners (ELs) must navigate living in a new country while also learning a new language. These immigrants are becoming both multicultural and multilingual. It has been established in prior literature that as immigrants adjust to living in a new culture with a different language, they experience both a language (Wardhaugh & Fuller, 2015) and cultural (Gibson, 2001, as cited in Schwartz, 2006, p. 2) shift. These shifts can sometimes result in immigrants losing connection to their first languages (Zhang, 2010) or their home cultures Gu and Lai (2019). Self-reflection activities have been shown to allow individuals to better understand themselves and sometimes change attitudes (Chen & Zheng, 2019). This capstone thesis seeks to understand how adult immigrant ELs perceive themselves as multilingual and multicultural individuals. It then focuses on how interventions in the form of short lessons, with activities and self-reflection questions, may influence these perceptions. Participants in this study came from an adult English class. Throughout the course of the study, participants took both a pre- and post-intervention mixed-methods survey that asked questions regarding their multilingual and multicultural identities. Between the two surveys, participants completed a series of six mini-lessons focused on discussion and reflection of their multilingualism and multiculturalism. Results of the surveys indicate that adult immigrant ELs tend to view their multilingualism and multiculturalism in a positive light. Almost all reported attitudes towards immigrants' cultural and linguistic identities improved upon moving to the United States. These attitude reports, however, were not positively influenced by the mini-lesson interventions. However, participants did report subjective changes as a result of the mini-lesson interventions. For instance, participants become more comfortable with the idea of continuing to use their first language in public, sharing their first languages with others, and relate the importance of sharing their culture with their children. It also appears opportunities for discussion and self-reflection on adult EL immigrants’ perceptions of their multilingual and multicultural identities allow immigrants the ability to think about who they are and how they can maintain these identities into the future. In conclusion, the researcher identifies limitations of the study, the impact the study may have on various stakeholders, and suggestions for further research on this topic.
Survey (attitude scale, opinion, questionnaire)
Adult Education, Curriculum, ESL/ ELLs, Reflective Practice
McElvain, Greta, "Adult Immigrant English Learners’ Perceptions of Their Multilingual and Multicultural Identities" (2022). School of Education and Leadership Student Capstone Theses and Dissertations. 4557.
School of Education Student Capstone Theses and Dissertations