Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Modern Languages


Modern Languages

First Advisor

Larisa Warhol

Second Advisor

Christopher Sapp

Third Advisor

Donald Dyer

Relational Format



The Amish community at Ethridge in Lawrence County, Tennessee is one of a handful in Tennessee, and, with a population of 1,500 and more than ten church districts, is the largest in the South and one of the top 20 in the nation. This particular Amish community was colonized when three families led by Dan Yoder, Joe Yoder, and Joseph Gingerich moved to the area from Ohio in the mid-1940s due to problems with the establishment of their own schools. Swartzentruber Amish are a subgroup within Old Order Amish society and occupy a distinct place on the conservative end of the Amish spectrum. Amish Education—much like it’s nineteenth-century counterpart—is conducted in a traditional one-room schoolhouse with around 30 students and one teacher. Because of limited space in the schoolhouse itself, it is not uncomfor one Amish community to have several different schoolhouses, and therefore, several different teachers. Current research has shown that, while Amish scholars only attend school from grades one through eight and do not learn or speak English until around age six, these scholars are just as successful when completing standardized tests as public school children of the same age range with English as their native language. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to research the existing ESL teaching methods and their effectiveness in traditional Amish schools in Lawrence County, Tennessee. Through my research, I discovered the cultural conditions, teaching methods used by Amish teachers, and other factors that may play a role in English Language Learning in a traditional one-room schoolhouse environment without the use of technology.


Emphasis: Linguistics



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