Two common forms of teaching English to English-language learners are bilingual education and sheltered English immersion. While both programs claim successful second language acquisition, other effects of the programs need to be considered. This research examines one of those effects: self-efficacy, or students' perception that they will be successful or unsuccessful in doing a specific task or acquiring a specific skill. Using archival records and semi-structured interviews with open-ended questions, this qualitative study draws on the work of Bandura (1977, 1986, 1997) to explore differences in self-efficacy between students who have participated for 5 years in a two-way Spanish-English bilingual immersion (TWBE) or an immersion/sheltered English program (SEI) at the same school. Interviews with the parents of the 11 Hispanic students allowed for comparisons of parent satisfaction with the two language programs. Findings indicated that students in both programs are similar in many ways; however there were marked differences between the two groups. Although all of the student participants considered themselves bilingual, those who were in the SEI program cannot read or write the language and use it only for social situations. Furthermore, students who have been in the TWBE program reported using practice, study, and note taking as success strategies in school, while their SEI peers used doing homework and turning it in as a success strategy. Students in TWBE reported having more successes in Spanish while their SEI peers reported struggling more in school and with Spanish. A major finding in parent interviews was that although all the parents expressed the desire that their children know Spanish, only some chose to put their children in the bilingual program. What decision processes parents use to place their children in the programs is unknown. Additionally, parents whose children were in the TWBE program reported that their children had more success experiences with home, friends, and family, the language program and with both Spanish and English. The TWBE parents also indicated that their children had more extended family members who served as models for them because their children can speak and write Spanish and thus have additional contact with extended family.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Educational Leadership and Foundations



Date Submitted


Document Type





self-efficacy, bilingual education, sheltered English immersion, English-language learners, parental attitudes, elementary school, minorities, Hispanic students