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Purpose Statement

Much exploration has been done into the specific components of a healthy classroom in

the K-12 arena, especially in regard to student-teacher relationships and the classroom

environment. Numerous case studies have been conducted to examine how K-12 teachers

achieve, what they consider to be, optimal relationships with their students and an ideal

classroom environment. These studies also explore what role self-care and personal well-being

play in being able to foster effective student-teacher relationships and cultivate a classroom

community. Having K-12 teachers elaborate on what they consider to be optimal affective, or,

emotional conditions in the classroom can provide guidance to other teachers.

It has been shown that adult learners are greatly influenced by affective elements

throughout their language learning process (Maslow 1943, Krashen 1996). Additionally,

reducing the affective filter (Krashen, 1996), fulfilling esteem needs (Maslow 1943), and

creating a close classroom community (Schwarzer, 2009 ) have all been identified as necessary

for adult learners to succeed. While these affective elements of second language learning are

often emphasized (Krashen 1996, Maslow 1943) as crucial in the language acquisition process,

there is a lack of information from adult ESOL instructors about how they concretely define

healthy student-teacher relationships and an ideal classroom environment. An in-depth study of

what adult ESOL instructors consider to be healthy student-teacher relationships and an ideal

classroom environment will help both new and experienced ESOL teachers reflect on their own

practices and enhance ESOL teaching for adult learners. By exploring how adult ESOL

instructors develop and maintain bonds with their students to enhance in-class learning will be an

especially useful resource for beginning teachers to better understand the dynamics of adult

ESOL classrooms.
I have seen the importance of social-emotional competence in both my own and other

adult ESOL instructors work. The Prosocial Classroom Model and K-12 case studies about

care ring true to the experiences I have had along with the information that has been passed on

to me from Mentors. However, I have yet to see information including detailed descriptions from

adult ESOL instructors regarding the classroom components covered by K-12 case studies. As an

emerging TESOL educator, I would like to better understand how more experienced adult ESOL

educators specifically engage in student-teacher relationships and what they envision as a healthy

classroom climate. Further, I want to know more about how self-care influences, if at all, their

ability to implement and maintain the above classroom elements.

The intent of this qualitative case study is to learn about teacher beliefs inside of adult

ESOL classrooms and examine how they envision an effective classroom environment. In the

study, an online survey will be administered to adult instructors of ESOL. A compassion-scale

will accompany the survey, and includes a rating scale with questions regarding the instructors

levels of self-compassion along with compassion for others. The purpose of the compassion scale

is to possible further understand some root personality qualities of these instructors in relation to

their written responses on the survey. In-depth, one-on-one interviews will be conducted to

follow-up on the short-answer surveys with all participants who are willing. The reason for

including follow-up interviews is to see if the participants have any information to add, and it

will give an opportunity to probe deeper into the survey questions regarding their personal

beliefs and teaching philosophies.