Learning Experiences of Newcomer Latino Secondary English Learners in the Mainstream Classroom

dc.contributor.advisorLópez, Ruth M.
dc.contributor.committeeMemberRangel, Virginia Snodgrass
dc.contributor.committeeMemberCastilla-Earls, Anny
dc.contributor.committeeMemberPerry, Laura
dc.creatorLopez, Jose Enrique
dc.date.createdAugust 2020
dc.date.submittedAugust 2020
dc.description.abstractBackground: Thousands of Latin American secondary school-age immigrants have migrated for decades and continue to arrive to the United States amidst a complex sociopolitical national climate around immigration. Newcomer English learners (ELs) enrolled in public schools and placed in newcomer programs to facilitate their adaptation and acclimation during their first year, commonly transitioned into monolingual English content classrooms where they are expected to academically perform at similar levels of their English monolingual counterparts. This happens despite their still incipient English language skills and lack of second language literacy. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine language learning and social development experiences of recent immigrant Latino ELs enrolled in high school mainstream content courses at a large suburban public school and district in Southeast Texas. Research Questions: The research questions framed by an academic language and social development conceptual framework were: Q1: How did Latino newcomer ELs perceive the language instruction received in the core content mainstream classroom? Q2: How did Latino newcomer ELs describe their social interactions with other students at school? Q3: How do newcomer secondary Latino ELs (NSELs) believe that the COVID-19 Pandemic affected their learning? Methods: First, a descriptive analysis of Texas mandated TELPAS language proficiency and STAAR/EOC academic content assessments of the district and high school research site was conducted. Results were used to determine levels of language acquisition and content mastery. The research then focused on a qualitative inductive analysis of the learning experiences of second- and third-year Latino newcomer ELs around English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction supports and opportunities provided to socially interact with other students. This was accomplished through qualitative narrative interviews with newcomer students. The nine high school Latino newcomer ELs participants of the study were enrolled in a newcomer program during their first year of instruction in the United States. The purposive sample of students was interviewed individually. Interviews were transcribed and coded inductively by hand to be analyzed into units of themes and categories. Findings: Newcomer ELs in the study in second and third year of enrollment at a public school and placed in a mainstream content classroom lacked adequate social and academic language proficiency skills to socially interact with other students in English. State language assessment scores of TELPAS and core content EOCs, end-of-course exams, have not done justice to this secondary students’ academic potential and capacities. Local districts and schools must build on previous literacy, social and cultural assets newcomers already possess to design and implement curriculum and instruction relevant to a highly motivated group of secondary students with self-awareness of what may better work to support their individual needs, aimed at their school success. The participants reported lack of direct English as second language instruction from content teachers. They also shared not having opportunities for social interactions in English at their content classroom. Conclusion: Participants’ perceptions showed the need of direct English language instruction and social interactions supports in the mainstream content classroom. They also described the second language supports and social exchange opportunities as not facilitated by their mainstream high school core content teachers.
dc.description.departmentEducational Leadership and Policy Studies, Department of
dc.format.digitalOriginborn digital
dc.rightsThe author of this work is the copyright owner. UH Libraries and the Texas Digital Library have their permission to store and provide access to this work. Further transmission, reproduction, or presentation of this work is prohibited except with permission of the author(s).
dc.subjectNSELs: Newcomer Secondary English Learners. ELs: English Learners. TELPAS: Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment Standards. STAAR: State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness. EOCs: End-of-course exams. Mainstream Content Classroom: Classroom where ELs are taught main core content with English monolingual students.
dc.titleLearning Experiences of Newcomer Latino Secondary English Learners in the Mainstream Classroom
thesis.degree.collegeCollege of Education
thesis.degree.departmentEducational Leadership and Policy Studies, Department of
thesis.degree.disciplineProfessional Leadership, Education
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Houston
thesis.degree.nameDoctor of Education


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