Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Kathy Escamilla

Second Advisor

Arturo Aldama

Third Advisor

Lorenso Aragon

Abstract

The United States has been experiencing an ever-growing increase in the last few decades of English Language Learner students (ELLs) whose primary language is Spanish and who are of Mexican descent. At the same time, the teaching force in the country remains strongly homogeneously White, English-speaking, and female. This creates an inequitable situation for teachers and students where teachers may not be qualified to understand and reach their students. To alleviate this situation, it is imperative that teachers understand the populations of students they serve, especially those that do not share the cultural and linguistic background the teachers share. Transnational teaching programs have been proven to provide participants with knowledge and experiences that can help them connect with and understand their populations of Mexican Spanish-speaking ELL students. In particular, transnational experiences have been known to help participants learn about other cultures, gain an awareness of global issues, become more open-minded, engage in critical self-reflection, resist stereotyping, gain empathy, become better communicators, understand better the situation and needs of migrant students in the U.S., perceive and value cultural diversity, challenge old and consider new perspectives, and learn from other cultural and pedagogical practices. The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of the 2008 Study in Mexico Program on participants' development of cultural critical consciousness and the findings from this study reinforce the findings from previous research, especially in the areas of instructional practices and cultural awareness. This study also aimed at pointing out which components of the program were found and perceived by participants as most effective components and the findings revealed that those components related to instructional practices and cultural awareness were the ones identified by participants as most effective. A discussion and suggestions for future program implementations are also included.

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