English as a Second Language (ESL) learning communities: An approach to retaining ESL students in a community college

2009 2009

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Abstract (summary)

This study explores an English as a Second Language (ESL) Introduction to Psychology Learning Community (ESL-IPLC) as an approach to retaining ESL students in a community college. Retention is a problem in all higher education settings, but is especially important for community colleges because of their "open door" policy. Community colleges enroll the highest proportion of new immigrants. Most come from low-income families, and more than half, are employed full-time (Boswell, 2004), creating very challenging odds for retention. There is little research on retention of ESL students who participate in community college learning communities, but some of the literature on retention presents learning communities as an intervention. Combining the theories of Tinto and Astin, social and academic integration appear to be not just an integral part of learning communities but a stimulus for retention. The findings of this study indicate that there was evidence of social integration in the ESL-IPLC in the form of membership, influence, integration and fulfillment of needs, and shared emotional connection. The factors that contributed to this social integration were the learning community's format, content, pedagogy, and tone. There was also evidence of academic integration in the form of membership in an academic community, faculty relationships, peer group relationships, and commitment to academic goals. The factors that contributed to academic integration in the ESL-IPLC were the academic activities, pedagogy, and academic environment. Finally, descriptive statistics showed that the ESL-IPLC students had retention rates that were equal to or higher than those of ESL students in comparable level classes.

Indexing (details)

Bilingual education;
English as a Second Language;
Adult education;
Educational psychology;
Community colleges
0282: Bilingual education
0441: English as a Second Language
0516: Adult education
0525: Educational psychology
Identifier / keyword
Education; Academic integration; Community college; ESL; English as a second language; Learning communities; Social integration
English as a Second Language (ESL) learning communities: An approach to retaining ESL students in a community college
Booth, Nancy B.
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 71/09, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
Belzer, Alisa
Rutgers The State University of New Jersey - New Brunswick
University location
United States -- New Jersey
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
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