Fischler College of Education: Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2018

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Abraham S. Fischler College of Education

Advisor

Gina Peyton

Committee Member

Gloria Kieley

Abstract

In the United States, there is an increasing need for educators to acknowledge and utilize culturally-relevant pedagogy within their classrooms. Many MEP educators in public schools, particularly those working in secondary education, find it challenging to ensure this disadvantaged and, often invisible, population is served in a consistent and productive manner. In fact, one indication highlighted in the literature is the lack of research on the perspective of educators in the secondary MEP classroom setting. Consequently, a study was conducted with this group of teachers to gain insight regarding their view of teaching Hispanic migrant students in a large rural high school.

The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the role of perceptions and personal experiences of Migrant Education Program teachers in a large rural high school located in the southeastern United States. The study was guided by two central research questions. After obtaining approval from the Institutional Review Board (IRB), data was collected from seven MEP educators who had at least three years of experience in a participative leadership position. Data was collected through semistructured teacher interviews. All participants were interviewed individually one time within the same semester for 60 minutes. The researcher recorded the interviews with each participant’s permission. After the interviews were completed, the researcher allowed participant teachers to review the transcript of the interview for accuracy. During this process, the researcher analyzed the perspectives of culturally-relevant pedagogy according to the MEP educators.

The findings of the study revealed most migrant teachers working in the MEP believe the MEP is efficient in meeting the needs of migrant youth in the classroom. However, the study uncovered despite the MEP teachers’ efforts of supporting students academically and often producing successful outcomes towards graduation, MEP teachers felt limited in their ability to resolve many of the population’s socioeconomic and social mobility issues. This study also presented the challenges and benefits MEP teachers experience in a rural secondary school setting. Due to the lack of knowledge, awareness, and value on the role of the MEP, teachers in the MEP are often misunderstood, undervalued, and underappreciated for their efforts and placement in the academic setting. Nevertheless, the study indicated the immense responsibility and undeniable impact MEP teachers successfully cultivate in their school’s culture, through MEP students and families and the surrounding community. As a result, the role and experiences of the MEP teachers are challenging, multifaceted, and holistic in nature. The recommendations provided in this study called for (a) more equity and inclusion of the MEP teacher in the secondary school setting, (b) a stronger presence, acknowledgement, and acceptance of cultural pedagogy in the MEP, as well as (c) an enhanced role and presence of MEP teachers in leadership roles to further advance and reinforce the vision, mission, and purpose of the MEP.

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