Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Native Hispanic long-term English language learners' experiences in the public school system
by West, Sandy J., Ph.D., Capella University, 2016, 210; 10242869
Abstract (Summary)

Educational psychology is concerned with increasing the efficacy of teaching and learning while questioning why students from under-represented groups persistently under-perform their peers academically. Students most at risk for poor academic outcomes and most at risk for dropping out of school are American-born students of Mexican origin. Native or second generation-plus Hispanics have the highest high school dropout rate of any U.S. born racial or ethnic group. The purpose of this study was to answer the research question, “How do native Hispanic male long-term English language learners describe the experience of schooling within the educational context of one public school system?” Examined were long-term English language learners’ salient psychological experiences of schooling within the independent and interconnecting contexts of one public school system. The four elements of setting based on Bronfenbrenner’s ecological structure of the educational environment were examined; roles and relationships, activities, place, and time. In addition, the valence of each participant’s experiences was examined. Three educational contexts were defined in this study: the English language development classroom (micro-system); the mainstream classroom (micro-system); and the school campus (meso-system). The body of empirical research relating to Hispanic students, English language learners, and long-term English language learners addresses the poor academic achievement of these students by focusing on isolated factors and is replete with quantitative studies. This study adds to the body of research through the application of generic qualitative inquiry methods. During the course of a single one-on-one in-depth interview with the researcher, participants revealed a world of reflections, thoughts, feelings, and beliefs about the outward experience of schooling from their perspective as a long-term English language learner. A self-selecting sample of eight participants originated from a population of native U.S. born, second-generation, male, long-term English language learners within the research site. Participants ranged in age from 18-22 years and had been enrolled in the English language development program between 6.5 and 12 years. Data were analyzed through the application of theoretical thematic analysis within- and across-educational contexts. Findings were presented as five overarching themes representative of the school experience of participants: denunciation of the identity/label of English language learner; the ascendancy of relationships; racial/ethnic and linguistic social stratification; ELD as the 21st century “Mexican” school, and school characteristics. Through the analysis and discussion of participants’ experiences in school, there appears to be an opportunity for psychological and educational practitioners to apply these research findings to improve the educational experiences of Hispanic long-term English language learners as well as all English language learners at all proficiency levels within the public school system.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Weber, Barbara
Commitee: Heller, Karen, Secrest, Wayland
School: Capella University
Department: Harold Abel School of Social and Behavioral Sciences
School Location: United States -- Minnesota
Source: DAI-A 78/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: English as a Second Language, Educational psychology, Psychology
Keywords: English language learner, Hispanic, Long-term, Public school system, Qualitative, Second-generation
Publication Number: 10242869
ISBN: 978-1-369-40657-3
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