Date of Award

Spring 5-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Rhonda Bishop

Second Advisor

Dr. Sherry DeVore

Third Advisor

Dr. Lance Renner


Over the years, millions of immigrants have made the trek to the United States to start a new life away from the known and the familiar (Lopez, Bialik, & Radford, 2017). English as a Second Language (ESL) centers are often the first formal introduction to the English language, and many immigrants will wait on long waiting lists for the chance to learn proper English and, therefore, ascend to a future identity sometimes years in the making (Jhangiani, Tarry, & Stangor, 2015; National Council of State Directors of Adult Education, 2016). The purpose of this study was to investigate, through a qualitative project, factors propelling immigrants to enroll in ESL courses and their expectations of such programs. Immigrants’ personal aspirations were also examined to determine if newly acquired English language and workability skills do, in fact, propel learners to pursue their initial aspirations. Interviews with adult ESL participants at a Midwest community college indicated participants in the intermediate/advanced ESL classes are driven to enroll in these advanced classes for a purpose, and their expectations of these programs often extend beyond the instructor’s scope of influence. In the analysis of data, relevant themes were identified including English Language; a primal need, Instructional expectations; supported self-fulfillment, Brewing American Dreams, and Home is where the heart is. A comprehensive and customizable approach focused on the whole individual is necessary if the ESL adult student is to learn proper English. A solid foundation in the language of the host country is a key element in integration benefiting both the individual and the economic performance of the host nation (Choi & Ziegler, 2015).


Copyright 2019