Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Dissertation


English language--Study and teaching--Foreign speakers; Students, Foreign--Attitudes; Student-centered learning--Public opinion;


This study was undertaken to determine undergraduate ESL students’ beliefs about learner-centered teaching (LCT) practices in English classes and to understand to what extent their learner-centered learning experiences influenced their beliefs about the quality of LCT practices. The study involved explanatory sequential mixed-methods. The Learner-centered Battery Student Survey and focus group interviews were used to collect data. One hundred and twelve undergraduate ESL students at a Midwestern university took part in the survey, 17 of whom, predominantly Asians, subsequently took part in multiple mini focus groups that lasted approximately 50-70 minutes each. Quantitative data analysis included descriptive statistics, t-Tests, and one-way ANOVAs. Results from the quantitative strand indicated that aside from ethnicity, demographic variables such as age, gender, and college status had no relationship with student perceptions of teaching practices. The results also suggested that the participants perceived teaching practices to be highly transitioning towards learner-centeredness.

For qualitative data analysis, the constant-comparative framework was used. Three themes emerged from the focus groups — that LCT practices are characteristically learner-focused and learning-focused, set challenges to learning environment, and lead to academic and non-academic outcomes. The participants broadly measured the quality of LCT practices in two ways: evaluating via past learning experiences and identifying learner-centered and non-learner-centered teaching practices. The qualitative results also indicated that students require facilitative mechanisms in their learning activities, more support in coping with stress and cognitive challenges, and help adjusting with current learning experiences. Findings from this mixed-method study have pedagogical implications for LCT practices in English classes with ESL undergraduate students. This research can serve as a framework for implementing professional development focused specifically on non-learner-centered practices that impact, for example, culturally relevant pedagogy, facilitative mechanisms, interpersonal relationship, and student knowledge, and thus enhance opportunities for transitioning to learner-centeredness.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Department of Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Benjamin Forsyth, Committee Chair

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (xi, 341 pages)



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