Electronic Theses and Dissertations


Muna Alosaimi



Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Committee Chair

Evelyn Wright

Committee Member

Teresa Dalle

Committee Member

Emily Thrush

Committee Member

Sage Graham


This ethnographic study examined the role of ESL students expectations on their academic and social trajectories by focusing on how students expectations about the teaching of and learning English in the U.S. intersected with their L2 academic socialization experiences. The participants were five ESL students who were enrolled in an intensive English program in the U.S. Four ESL teachers who taught the focal participants had also participated in the study. This study was conducted as a multiple case study in which data collected over the course of one academic semester and triangulated from multiple sources (i.e., participants interviews, weekly observations and reflective interviews, and teachers interviews). The data collected in this study were transcribed, selected, coded, and grouped together to establish a possible theoretical explanation of the research phenomena, based on the grounded theory approach. This study revealed that the five ESL students held different and unique expectations about the teaching of and learning English in the U.S. either in their types (e.g., about teaching practices, the classroom context, the content of the program) or their nature (e.g., realistic, unrealistic, low, or huge). In spite of the differences in the five participants expectations, these expectations had similarly intersected with their socialization processes into the interactions and the practices of their ESL classroom communities. In particular, the satisfaction of the five participants expectations had allowed them to exercise their agency through active participation, which, in turn, facilitated their gradual movement toward fuller membership and legitimacy in the ESL classroom community. Nevertheless, the dissatisfaction of these expectations had led the same participants to enact resistance agency through nonparticipation, silence, and disengagement, which apparently denied them access to the social interactions and learning opportunities in their ESL classroom. However, variations among the cases were noted in the types and intentions of resistance agency they developed. Essentially, four resistance types were identified in the current study: resistance as a coping strategy, resistance as a face-saving strategy, resistance as a gender performance, and resistance as a repositioning. By focusing on the relationship of expectations, agency, and socialization processes, this study indicated expectations as a valuable resource for understanding ESL students uniqueness and diversity, as well as a mediating factor influencing their agency, entailing unique and unpredictable routes in their L2 academic socialization trajectories.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest