"Es que nadie me quiere ayudar," affective factors in the schooling experience of recent immigrants and dual language instruction

Maria Del Rosario Talamantes, University of Texas at El Paso


This dissertation is a critical ethnography of the schooling experiences of recent immigrants in dual language immersion classes in US schools where the separation of languages is a policy (Adelman Reyes, 2007; Collier & Thomas, 2004; Cummins, 2005; Lee et al., 2008). Under this program, language is said to be used as a resource to motivate learning among students working in cooperative groups (Gomez, Freeman & Freeman, 2005; Kagan, 1995; Ruiz, 1984). However, this study revealed that language was also used as a tool for oppression among recent immigrant students (Bakhtin, 1981; Giltrow, 2003; Heller, 1995). Focusing on recent immigrant students’ voices through their testimonios, informed by LatCrit (Delgado, R. 1989; Ladson-Billings and Tate, 2006), recent immigrants uncovered their feelings and shared their counterstories; the point of view of people of color (Delgado, R. 1989; Matsuda, 1987). Testimonios, along with participant observation and interviews revealed that language was used by various actors as an oppressive tool within the dual language immersion classroom. Teachers implemented the separation of languages policy differently (rigidly or flexibly), which impacted recent immigrants in various ways. Teachers who separated languages in a flexible manner adopted translanguaging practices to embrace multilingualism (Canagarajah, 2005, 2012; Creese & Blackledge, 2010; García & Sylvan, 2011; Joseph & Ramani, 2012; Kubota, 2008) were more successful. From students’ testimonios, participant observation, and interviews with students and teachers, I found that recent immigrants who attended classes where the teacher strictly separated languages experienced academic and personal struggles in their adaptation to the new academic environment. Finally, recent immigrants encountered a more welcoming learning environment in their adaptation to the new schooling experience when attending classes where the teacher practiced a flexible approach of separation of languages (translanguaging).

Subject Area

Bilingual education

Recommended Citation

Talamantes, Maria Del Rosario, ""Es que nadie me quiere ayudar," affective factors in the schooling experience of recent immigrants and dual language instruction" (2015). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10000773.