Assisting Hispanic Students to Enter US Schools

Erik Halvorson wrote:

Education Connections

For new and returning EL students alike, entering a school environment can be like walking into another world filled with new people, a different culture, and a new set of rules and expectations. This can be incredibly intimidating when students are simultaneously working on developing their English language skills.  Some research has highlighted the fact that EL students, upon entering the school environment and culture, often feel as if they are “caught between two worlds,” (Igoa, 1995, p. 85) and frequently report feeling mentally and emotionally exhausted (Watts-Taffe & Truscott, 2000). Working to provide a classroom and school environment where students feel supported socially and emotionally is essential for helping students continue their academic growth.

For a look at recent research addressing the social and emotional challenges faced by young Latino students, check out this study from the Pew Research Center.

For an examination of the social and emotional needs of students with detained or deported parents, try this article.

Or, finally, for some great resources (including anti-bullying tips) and further discussion about how to make your classroom and school a safe space—one where your EL students feel supported and welcomed—explore this resource page from Colorín Colorado.


Igoa, C. (1995). The inner world of the immigrant child. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Watts-Taffe, S., & Truscott, D.M. (2000). Focus on Research: Using what we know about language and literacy development for ESL students in the mainstream classroom. Language Arts77(3), 258-265.


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