Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education and School of Criminal Justice


Linda Gaughan

Committee Member

Judith B. Galician


mandates, English language learner, L1, L2, reading, challenges with reading, peers, support, resources, teachers, high-stakes testing, dropout


A student’s motivation to learn English can impact the ability to speak and read English. How native English speakers are viewed, how teacher’s view the language, and the usefulness of the language will determine the student’s motivation to learn English. Interactions between English language learners (ELL) and native-speaking peers, in and out of the classroom, can further promote learning English, coupled with the provisions of proper resources and support.

The aim of this qualitative study was to explore the challenges that ELLs faced. The participants included former ELLs, who, for this study, were defined as students whose first language was one other than English and who were no longer attending school. The researcher wanted to understand ELLs (a) motivation to learn English, (b) interaction with teachers, (c) interaction with native English peers, and (d) high-stakes testing experience.

Six former English language learners were interviewed. The researcher analyzed the data to explore patterns and themes. Some participants reported a positive effect on being motivated to learn English, and interactions with their teachers. A majority of participants reported negative effects in being comfortable interacting with native English-speaking peers and high-stakes testing.

Future research should focus on research expansion to include more cultures along with a larger number of participants. This will help to identify more specific issues for the group and provide a greater understanding and solutions that will benefit English language learners who are presently attending school.

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