Date of Conferral







Yoly Zentella


The research problem focused on the 11 million Mexican immigrant families in the United States who speak little or no English. Their stated needs for English literacy, socioeconomic and academic success, and the increasing calls for xenophobic legislation throughout the nation indicated a need to investigate alternative pedagogies to compel positive social change through language fluency. In this case study, Mexican immigrant second-language learners and their descendants were asked how they wanted to learn English and if using native culture as a learning tool would help in achieving their literacy goals. Prior researchers had not asked those questions. Three adults from a 3-generation Mexican immigrant family living in Florida gave interviews to address this gap. The participants, 2 of whom were native Spanish speakers, were recruited via a Facebook call for participation, and interviews were conducted by telephone. Cultural theory served as a conceptual framework for understanding the relationship between culture and language, and for interpreting and respecting participants' articulations of their experiences and opinions. Analyses of interviews and language background questionnaires were completed using pattern matching and SPSS, respectively. The key finding was that participants agreed a cultural pedagogy would be helpful in learning English. A recommendation is made to implement an experimental teaching study using cultural pedagogy as its framework. Achieving positive social change begins with removing the barriers of cultural language discrimination and allowing immigrants to reach their stated goals without loss of their cultural heritage.