Date of Graduation

2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

Department/Program

Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Ellen A. Herda

Second Advisor

Christopher N. Thomas

Third Advisor

Emma H. Fuentes

Abstract

Research Topic

This study uses the narratives of conversation participants to gain a new understanding of the issues faced by Mexican born students at Prospect High School, in the heart of Silicon Valley.

Research Theory and Protocol

Through critical hermeneutic theory formulated by Paul Ricoeur (1992) and the inquiry protocol developed by Ellen Herda (1999), I applied the interpretive categories of narrative identity, imagination and communicative action to this study.

Research Categories

The narratives describe the stories of the participants' experiences of coming to a new country and the difficulties and successes of assimilating into a new culture while still trying to maintain their own identity. The stories that the participants tell are full of plots that shape their narrative identities while affecting their imaginations about their own futures and the futures of current and future Mexican born students. The conversations also show how the process of communicative action can help the participants feel a greater connection to their new surroundings.

Findings

This study revealed the following four findings: participants had different levels of support from parents and other adults in their lives; their narrative identities were influenced by the plots that took place in their lives; imagination plays an active role in the planned futures of the participants; and parents and students often feel excluded from the conversation regarding education.

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