Document Type


Publication Date



The population in the United States has become more diverse, but the number of teachers in public schools who are fluent in another language is limited. Furthermore, statistics attest that few teachers have adequate training to work with English language learners (ELLs). Teachers who lack training and have not struggled to learn another language may not realize the complexity faced daily by ELLs. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to apply instructional methods, which mirror experiences faced by real children in real classrooms, in order to allow pre-service and/or in-service teachers to be subjected to the mixed emotions experienced by English language learners in their class. In six different classes, the researchers immersed a total number of 155 undergraduate and graduate students in a 15-minute oral presentation in Dutch. Data from a post-survey indicated that teacher candidates developed empathy and extrapolated the message that ELL students in classrooms in the United States face serious but surmountable challenges that take time to overcome. As a result of the findings, we recommend teacher preparation programs include language requirements and interactions between teacher candidates and language learners.

Citation/Publisher Attribution

Zhang, J., & Pelttari, C. (2013). Exploring the emotions and needs of English Language Learners: Facilitating pre-service and in-service teachers’ recognition of the tasks facing language learners. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 34(7), 1-16. DOI:10.1080/01434632.2013.822505.

Publisher Statement

This is the author's accepted version of the article that appears here: