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UBC Theses and Dissertations

English as a second language (ESL) student self-concept : its relation to teacher perception and academic achievement -- an exploratory study Silver, Barbara Deborah


The purpose of this exploratory study as it applies to ESL students was two-fold: To examine the relationship between ESL student self-concept and teacher perception of student self-concept and to examine the extent to which student self-concept and teacher perception of student self-concept relate to academic achievement in reading and mathematics. The Self-Description Questionnaire-1 (SDQ-1) was completed by 57 fifth- and sixth-grade students, ages 10-12 years and their teachers. The teachers’ ratings of ESL student academic achievement were gathered along with student and school background information. Results of descriptive statistics, t-test comparisons, and correlational analyses indicate that the pattern of ESL students' self-concepts were consistently lower than those for the normative sample, except in the area of math, with noted similarities in highest (parent relations) and lowest (physical appearance) self-concept areas. Teacher perception ratings appeared more similar to the ESL students' self ratings than to the normative sample. Teachers tended to rate ESL students' self-concepts higher than the students rated themselves. In contrast to previous research with the SDQ-1, the strongest agreements between ESL students and teacher perceptions were in nonacademic areas. Correlations between ESL students and academic achievements were mostly nonsignificant and negative, while correlations between teacher perceptions and academic achievement were mostly significant and positive. Sex, ethnic group affiliation, school district, and birth place differences were also noted. While conclusions remain speculative, more research is needed in the area of language proficiency, environmental factors, and cultural differences which may impact, not only the students' self-concept of themselves, but also on teacher perceptions of ESL students' self-concept and their academic achievement.

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