The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

English: Teaching English as a Second Language: M.A.




College of Liberal Arts

First Advisor

James Robinson

Second Advisor

Isolde Mueller

Third Advisor

Judy Dorn

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

ESL, Myths



As U.S. public school classrooms become hubs for an array of linguistically diverse students, mainstream teachers are faced with the challenge of meeting not only the academic needs of these students but also their linguistic needs. Although schools are forced to hire more and more ELL instructors, these students still spend the majority of their day in mainstream classrooms where the teachers may not be well equipped to handle their linguistic needs. Therefore, it has become critical that teachers be well versed in ELL instruction. In order to improve the instructional quality of the teachers, their knowledge of ELL instruction must be examined. This study examined ten high school teachers who taught in a district with a significant ELL population. Of these ten teachers, five were tenured teachers with ten or more years of teaching experience, and the other five were non-tenured teachers with three or less years of teaching experience. The main focus of the study was to examine whether mainstream teachers still believed in certain myths about English language learners as well as whether the beliefs between the two test groups differ or are the same. The results of the survey showed that the participants in both groups did not believe the common myths about ESL. The responses indicated that participants, whether by experience or observation, had some knowledge of ESL. The data gleaned from the interview showed that there was no real difference between the tenured and non-tenured group. The two main themes that emerged from the research was first, that both groups believed that motivation on the part of the student played a major role in determining how fast the he or she would learn the target language. Second, that was the student’s prior education was key factor in there ability to acquire the target language.