Graduation Year


Document Type

Master's Thesis


Master of Science



Program Director

Jennifer Lucko, PhD

First Reader

Katherine Lewis, PhD

Second Reader

Rosemarie Michaels, EdD


This qualitative study explores teachers' understanding of English Language Learners and newcomer students' need for a sense of belonging and safe spaces in a bilingual/dual immersion classroom. The goal was to identify some best practices for teachers to create an inclusive classroom for multilingual students. This research uses the lens of two frameworks, Acompañamiento (Sepúlveda III, 2011) and Culturally Responsive Pedagogy. According to Sepúlveda III (2018), Acompañamiento is a response to globalization where there is a need to understand a student's humanity and the need to be part of a community. Acompañamiento is about engagement with one another without goals and objectives. This framework provides a foundation for educational projects (Sepúlveda III, 2011). Culturally Responsive teaching is an approach where teachers seek to understand how students' backgrounds can be used to enhance their learning (Chung, Shih, & Cheng, 2020).

This study seeks to address the gap in the literature surrounding creating these inclusive spaces for English Language Learners and Newcomer students in the bilingual/dual immersion setting. The literature documented centers around creating community and spaces in high schools. This study addresses community building and safe spaces in bilingual/dual immersion classrooms, where research is limited.

Data was collected through 45-60 minute individual interviews with bilingual/dual immersion teachers. All the participants interviewed are from Golden Valley TK-8 School and teach within various grades. The data was analyzed using an open coding process. Findings show effective strategies of creating community and safe spaces for ELL students in Bilingual/Dual immersion settings are the importance of creating a second home in the classroom, adapting the practice of “mirrors and windows” in the classroom and developing relationships with families. The findings have important practice implications for elementary teachers.

IRB Number