Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation


The experiences of Latino immigrant students in an Oregon high school : identity, language, and interethnic relationships Public Deposited

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  • For much of history, U.S. schools have employed ideologies of assimilation and nationhood - involving an exchange of immigrants' ways of life for a homogenous American identity - as frameworks for their curriculum and language education programs. However, a new ideology of multiculturalism has gained popularity in recent decades. Multicultural education encourages cultural pluralism and crosscultural communication through bilingual and dual language immersion programs. Through observations of and interviews with teachers and students, I examine the intricacies of such a multicultural approach in practice in an Oregon high school with a novel dual immersion program, and the ramifications for Latino immigrant students in particular. I explore the Latino students' constructions of ethnicity and identity within this context, as well as their language practices and relationships with students and teachers of other ethnicities. I find that everyday experiences of multiculturalism are complex: The dual language immersion program provides a space for Latino immigrant students to explore their own hybrid identities; challenges English monolingualism; and promotes interethnic solidarity. Yet it also leaves several unequal structures of power intact, by benefiting White students over others and maintaining ethnic divisions in classrooms. I ultimately argue that we cannot romanticize multicultural approaches; rather, a critical examination of their effects in practice is necessary.
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