Honors Theses

Date of Award

12-2019

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Department

Modern Languages

First Advisor

Felice Coles

Relational Format

Thesis/Dissertation

Abstract

As the immigrant population increases in the United States, there is a growing need for adult English as a Second Language (ESL) programs. Not only must these programs be available, they must also be accessible to potential students based on individual needs. This study investigates whether adult ESL programs in northern Mississippi are satisfactorily meeting those needs. Literature in the areas of second language acquisition, pedagogy, and adult ESL classroom research is reviewed, along with statistical background information relevant to the investigated geographic region. A qualitative methodological approach is employed, utilizing online, anonymous surveys to measure program characteristics and student satisfaction. Discrepancies in program coordinator versus student perception of program shortcomings are also investigated. Results from six program coordinators and seven students of adult ESL programs in the cities of Oxford and Tupelo, Mississippi indicate that transportation is not a significant barrier to attendance for these students. Furthermore, although the majority of students were females in their 20’s and 30’s, availability of childcare options during classes is, likewise, not a significant barrier to attendance. Adult ESL programs in this area are sufficiently improving students’ English listening and speaking skills but are perceived to be failing to provide adequate instruction to improve students’ English reading and writing skills.

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