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Predictors of Mainstream Teachers' Attitudes toward ESL Students

Cheryl Stanosheck Youngs and George A. Youngs, Jr.
TESOL Quarterly
Vol. 35, No. 1 (Spring, 2001), pp. 97-120
DOI: 10.2307/3587861
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3587861
Page Count: 24
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Predictors of Mainstream Teachers' Attitudes toward ESL Students
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Abstract

Relatively little research exists on the nature of mainstream teachers' attitudes toward ESL students, nor is much known about the predictors of these attitudes. We report on a survey of 143 junior high/middle school mainstream teachers in a community of approximately 80,000 in the Great Plains region of the United States. On average, respondents had 15.5 years of teaching experience and had worked, over the previous 6 years, with 11.2 ESL students from 3.2 distinct regions of the world. Most reported a neutral to slightly positive attitude toward the prospect of teaching more ESL students in the future. The results support a multipredictor model of teachers' ESL-related attitudes. The predictors include completion of foreign language or multicultural education courses, ESL training, experience abroad, work with diverse ESL students, and gender. We suggest that these predictors collectively tap into a teacher's exposure to cultural diversity and that this exposure underlies positive ESL-related attitudes among mainstream teachers. Thus, we argue that preservice and in-service teachers should have increased opportunities for exposure to cultural diversity.

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