This study investigates the relationship between the English as a Second Language (ESL) classroom and the academic/personal lives of its students. ESL students experience education in a different way than students with English as a first language. Academic life as an ESL student can be more challenging, which is important for schools to take into account and address. The presence of multiculturalism, a student-centered teaching style, and a dual-language ESL program were predicted to be associated with lower anxiety and stress levels while also being related to higher self-esteem, academic confidence, language achievement, and academic performance levels. This study consisted of an online survey taken by 16 ESL students and 18 non-ESL students in college. The survey contained measures pertaining to anxiety, stress, self-esteem, academic confidence, English language achievement, academic performance, and multiculturalism in the classroom, teaching style, ESL program type, and socioeconomic status. A bivariate correlation revealed a student-centered teaching style related to higher levels of academic confidence in ESL students. Also, a dual language ESL program type was related to higher levels of self-esteem and English language achievement. In a comparison of the ESL group versus the non-ESL group, an independent samples T-test revealed the non-ESL group reported higher academic confidence than the ESL group. In addition, the non-ESL group reported experiencing a more student-centered teaching style while the ESL group reported experiencing a more passive or hands off teaching style. These findings support the importance of teaching ESL students in ways that effectively foster their academic and personal growth because their experience and impression of school can differ from that of their non-ESL peers.


Wilhelms, Evan



Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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