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Psychology & Chicana/o Latina/o Studies '23

Vicky Isarraras

“I am putting my best foot forward”: ELL Students’ Self-Introductions on Teacher Attitudes

Mentored by: Greg Walton (Psychology)
2022-2023 Major Grant Recipient

My passion for research is fueled by my lived experiences. Accordingly, I am driven to understand and address the social inequities that impact minority communities while working towards meaningful change. The research presented here is an extension of this ongoing exploration and commitment.

In the United States, English language learners (ELLs) constitute a rapidly expanding student demographic. However, these students often face significant linguistic and cultural barriers that hinder their full integration into schools. The goal of this research was to amplify the voices and choices of ELL students within schools, in order to foster authentic relationships between students and teachers. Our findings revealed that, during self-introductions, students actively sought to challenge and correct any stereotypes that teachers may have held about them. Moreover, teachers responded positively to these efforts, viewing the students as more engaged in their education and expressing a willingness to take on various mentoring roles for ELL students. This research provides valuable insights into the frequently overlooked experiences of ELL students within the education system and sheds light on potential directions for future research with this population.