Theses Doctoral

The Mind’s Eye: A Culturally Relevant Pedagogy in College English with Multilingual Populations

Thompson, Tara Aline

This dissertation study explores the relationship between Ladson-Billings’ (1992, 1994, 2006) early scholarship and work with Culturally Relevant Pedagogy (CRP) frameworks and the literacy practices of the multilingual students in my community college classroom. This qualitative, interpretive case study draws upon CRP and sociocultural frameworks to specifically investigate the visual, media, and technological literacy (multimodal) practices in a community college developmental English class for multilingual students. When visual, media, and technological literacy practices are purposefully included in a CRP framework and curriculum, it helps to reposition both teachers’ and students’ conceptual understanding of language acquisition.
Two important aims of this study are to fill an existing gap of literature around the CRP theoretical framework and strengthen it with the specific inclusion of college-level, multilingual student’s use of visual and technological literacy practices for the acquisition of English literacy. This in turn helps to legitimize the inclusion of visual and technological literacies into curriculums designed especially for multilingual students which are also adaptable for any class.
In this study, my classroom serves as the primary unit of analysis (Merriam, 2009). I present the multimodal practices of four student participants as “cases” or portraits to illustrate the study’s findings. I am interpreting/defining the multimodal productions my students create as their observable literacy events (Barton & Hamilton, 2000; Heath, 1992) and their literacy practice is the ongoing act of creating and engaging with visual, media, and other related technological literacy practices. The act of students creating multimodal productions, “visual interpretation,” is the specific visual literacy practice this study investigates triangulated with students’ interactions on a group Facebook page and digital story compositions.
Using a reflexive model (Luttrell, 2010b) of research and additional grounded theory methods (Charmaz, 2008, 2010; Corbin & Strauss, 2008) to analyze data, findings for this study reveal that a curriculum utilizing multimodal literacy practices promote Ladson-Billings’ (1992, 2006) three tenets of CRP: academic excellence, cultural competence, and sociopolitical consciousness in the following ways: First, the curriculum acknowledges students' multiple literacies and cultural backgrounds. Second, the curriculum enables students to become personally invested and more engaged in their academic participation, productions and achievement. Third, the curriculum raises students' competencies in reading/writing comprehension, deconstruction, and production of subsequent multimodal texts as it privileges students’ own literacy practices.
Therefore, visual literacy practices should be a mechanism for achieving and representing these tenets of a Culturally Relevant Pedagogy inside college classrooms with curriculums designed for multilingual students.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Arts and Humanities
Thesis Advisors
Morrell, Ernest
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
June 10, 2018