Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


School of Education


International and Multicultural Education


International & Multicultural Education EdD

First Advisor


Second Advisor

Patricia Mitchell

Third Advisor

Michael Duffy


The world is currently suffering from population displacement due to climate change, war, and economic instability which force many people to migrate in search of a better life, and many of these immigrants include school-age children. This mixed-methods research study sought to establish the association between community building, emotion, and second language acquisition by administering a survey to second language learners in the Napa Valley north of San Francisco in the spring of 2020. The participants were fourteen sixth grade students who had been enrolled in the same English and Spanish dual language immersion program since kindergarten.

The theoretical framework for this study was Lev Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory that language learning is a social activity and Merrill Swain’s output hypothesis, which proposes that students learn a second language most efficiently when they are involved in collaborative dialogue. The participants self-reported a slight improvement in their second language proficiency, mainly in their academic language and less so in their conversational language. Although the participants reported significant experience with community circles, their responses revealed that they did not value relationships with peers and some shared the experience of feeling unsafe, indicating that community building did not work. The results also reaffirmed Vygotsky and Swain’s assertion that emotion is intertwined with learning. This research is significant because it shines light on the importance of emotion for second language acquisition and the complexity of successful community building in the classroom.