First Advisor

Marjorie Terdal

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages


Teaching English as a Second Language




English language -- Study and teaching -- Foreign speakers, Adult education, Soviets (People) -- United States, Religious refugees -- United States



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, ix, 147 p.)


Soviet Evangelicals (a term inclusive of Pentecostals and other Christians of evangelical persuasion from former Soviet countries) are members of one of the most recent refugee-status groups to come to the United States. Being refugees, they are guaranteed, by the U.S. government, a degree of English language instruction. As a result, since 1989, adult ESL classes in the Pacific Northwest have had a large influx of Soviet Evangelical students. Because of the scant research as yet conducted on this student population, most ESL educators have had to rely on intuition and observations to interpret Soviet Evangelicals' needs, desires and behavior in the classroom. The purpose of this study was to discover and describe the cultural and educational values of Soviet Evangelicals that affect learning and impact student participation in ESL classes. Four questions were asked: 1) What are the Soviet Evangelicals' modes of learning? 2) What have been the Soviet Evangelicals' classroom experiences in teacher/student interaction patterns? 3) How do the Soviet Evangelicals view the teacher? 4) What are the cultural values of the Soviet Evangelicals that relate to teaching methods and classroom practice? Through a qualitative case study approach, two adult ESL classes were observed for a ten week period, using participant observation methodology. Ethnographic interviews were conducted with five students from one class and four students from a second class. And a survey, designed to elicit preferred modes of learning, was conducted with the students in both classes. With the data gathered from the research, a cultural framework was developed and implications for teaching were drawn; both of which can be used by ESL educators to make cross-cultural analyses of teaching methods and classroom activities.


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