Term of Award

Spring 2007

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

William Reynolds

Committee Member 1

David Alley

Committee Member 2

Grigory Dmitriyev

Committee Member 3

Ming Fang He

Abstract

This inquiry is a qualitative study of the multicultural experience of Limited English Proficient (LEP) students who are learning a second language in an inner-city high school in southeastern Georgia. The LEP students are enrolled or have been enrolled in the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program. Using three strands of inquiry, critical phenomenological, narrative, and anthropological, I addressed three major issues. One, I examined the struggle of LEP students to learn English at a proficiency level to pass the state-mandated test for graduation and receive a high-school diploma. Not only must the LEP students learn a new language to meet the same requirements as mainstream students but also face the added adolescent pressure of a multicultural melting pot with a student population comprised 94% of African American students and the larger culture of a southern urban city in America. Two, I examined the meaning of multiculturalism in the school environment and its effect on the culture, curriculum, and the psycho-sociological wellbeing of the LEP students. Three, I examined my role and impact on these LEP students as a White upper-middle class foreign-language teacher. My data collection methods included a history and a general portrait of the school, informal conversations and formal interviews, individual and group discussions, and reflective journals, both mine and the participants. The ESOL teacher, Magda, and the paraprofessional aide, Lan, are adult participants. Hector, Hiral, Juliana, Hai, Celine, Emiliano, and Seynabou are student participants. The major contributions of my research to the field of education are: 1) identifying the struggles of LEP students to meet high-school standards; 2) giving LEP adolescents an opportunity to voice concerns about fitting in; 3) exploring the implications of LEP students assimilation into this microcosm of Americas multicultural society; 4) allowing the ESOL teacher and teacher aide to verbalize the state of the ESOL program and its status within the school environment; 5) allowing me to share my personal experience in foreign language and culture acquisition; and 6) opening the lines of communication among the stakeholders in the educational setting (parents, educators, students and support personnel)about the ESOL program.

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