Why not ask me: Narrative accounts of the educational experiences of Mexican immigrant adolescent English language learners
There is pressing need for educational research that documents the experiences of adolescent English language learners (ELLs). The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine the narrative accounts of young people, who were Mexican immigrant adolescent ELLs, and bring their voices to current dialogues on second language acquisition for adolescent ELLs. Data sources included transcript of face-to-face interviews, reflective journals, and a research journal. Four participants shared personal accounts of their experiences as immigrant adolescent ELLs in a north Texas urban public secondary school. Emphasis was placed on understanding of their English language acquisition and literacy development experiences.
NVivo version 8 qualitative software was used to catalog and analyze data. Analysis revealed three major themes related to their experiences: struggles and challenges, advantageous assets, and adaptation. The findings of the study extend our understandings of the role of the first language in enhancing language acquisition and literacy development, and further exposes the disconnect between research and current instructional practices in secondary education that focuses predominately on the target language, English, and success in content subject. Adolescent ELLs come from various backgrounds, with varying experiences, abilities, resources, and needs that must be considered in order to provide equal access to a quality education to all students attending our schools.