Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Education, Ed.D.



First Advisor

Randy Hetherington

LC Subjects

Spanish language--Acquisition; Second language acquisition; Language transfer (Language learning)


The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine the effects of comprehensible visual input in the form of drawing on students’ self-efficacy toward learning Spanish as a second language in a classroom setting. The study also compared student test scores in classes receiving comprehensible visual input instruction with test scores of students in classes utilizing traditional second language instruction techniques. Participants for this research included 198 students in Grade 9 and Grade 10 enrolled in second year Spanish in a Catholic college preparatory high school. A 46 items Spanish Self-Efficacy Survey (SSES) was administered which included four scales: Progress, Observation Comparison, Social Feedback, and Physiological States. Participants also completed a machine scored 46 question commercially prepared standardized test. The majority of students (69%) were in Grade 10, and 56% across both grades were male. Three female Spanish classroom teachers were involved in the study. Two of the teachers are native Spanish speakers from Spain and Argentina. The third teachers studied Spanish in Spain where she acquired native like capability. There are between 45 and 60 years old and they all have over 10 years of experience teaching various levels of the language. Two teachers taught the control group, while the teacher-researcher taught the treatment group; each group consisted of 99 students.

Literature on bilingualism revealed the benefits of speaking more than one language. However, in the United States, second language instruction is not federally mandated making learning a foreign language a low priority for students. Difficulty finding qualified and engaging foreign language teachers is a challenge for American iv schools, consequently, students who wish to learn a second language may not have the opportunity to do so in some jurisdictions.

Participant’s responses on Likert scale items on the SSES and standardized test were also analyzed using of ANCOVAs to account for the effect of the covariant, pretest scores. The analysis showed gains on some items within the four scales of the SSES, and also showed gains in achievement on the standardized test. However, the gains were not statistically significant (p < .05) for each of the four SSES scales and for the achievement test. These results may be due to limitations related to the specific context of the study and teacher effect; as other studies have found a significant difference in students’ performance when incorporating visual aids during instruction.

This study adds to the literature on bilingualism and second language learning, and highlights the need for further research. This study stresses the importance of providing students with opportunities that will position them well to compete in a globalized world, especially second language learning.


Copyright for this work is retained by the author.