Publication Date

2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Department

Counselor Education

Abstract

Although the number of students who are English Language Learners (ELL) in the United States has steadily increased since 1965, the decision as to how to best educate these students remains controversial (Nieto, 2009). Currently, several states offer Bilingual Education programs as a mechanism to teach students, while other states utilize minimal student supports. At the present time, there is a growing body of literature which provides evidence that bilingual education programs are effective in not only increasing a students? understanding of core content material, but also in advancing a students' English language proficiency (August & Shanahan,2006; Krashen 2006). Although this growing body of research demonstrates the value of bilingual education programs, there are few studies which explore the experiences of students who exit these programs and enter into English speaking classrooms. Therefore, the following survey study examined the type of services ELL students accessed when they transitioned into English speaking classrooms, and explored the extent to which students adjusted to their classroom settings. Students who were formally enrolled in a bilingual education program, and who experienced almost an entire school year in mainstream classrooms, participated in the following survey study. The research findings suggest that students were well prepared and adjusted to their mainstream classes. While a small percentage of students tapped into the available academic and social support services, students generally indicated that these were not helpful. These findings confirm the value and need for bilingual education programs, as they support students in learning English, and contribute positively to a students' school experience. However, given that there are few studies available regarding the transition experiences of students, there is a need to further explore what this experience is like for students.

Keywords: Bilingual education, transition, mainstream classroom

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