Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




Applied Linguistics

Committee Chair

Teresa S. Dalle

Committee Member

Emily A. Thrush

Committee Member

Charles Hall

Committee Member

Verner D. Mitchell


There are over 5 million English language learners in the U.S. public schools, and according to the last U.S. Census, nearly one in five school-age students in the United States comes from a home where a language other than English is spoken. Consequently, the majority of American classrooms consist of students from several different racial, ethnic, cultural and linguistic backgrounds. To teach in this environment, teachers need to be culturally aware. Cultural awareness often comes from foreign language study and/or travel abroad. Unfortunately, in many urban environments, pre-service teachers are not required to study foreign language and are not afforded the opportunity to study abroad. This study examined how pre-service teachers described and perceived alternative cross-cultural experiences in an introductory class in ESL Methods and Techniques. The qualitative study, using an action research process, utilized the following pedagogical strategies: a) focused, reflective discussion board questions to explore the immigrant voice, b) field research to explore the views and perceptions of English language learners and c) selected literature, Travel as a Political Act, to introduce global perspective. Participants were pre-service teachers enrolled in an introductory course in ESL methods and techniques at an urban university. The purpose of this study was to explore ways pre-service teachers might increase cultural awareness within a one-semester course. Specifically, the researcher anticipated developing an alternative theoreticl model for promoting cultural awareness. Ultimately, if a semester course, incorporating selected non-traditional, culture-specific texts and English language learner experiential field study projects could be found to help develop culural awareness, teacher education programs may want to seriously look at encouraging more of their students to participate in such culturally-strategic programs. A theory for how the experiences generated by these assignments lead to cultural awareness for pre-service teachers was developed and an alternative model for promoting cultural awareness was derived. Findings indicate that views and perceptions among pre-service teachers changed as they became more culturally aware as a result of the alternative cross-cultural experience.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.