Department

School of Education

Degree

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Chair

Sandra Battige

Primary Subject Area

Education, General; Education, Elementary; Education, Bilingual and Multicultural; Education, Educational Psychology; Education, Sociology of; Language, Linguistics; Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies

Keywords

English language learners, hermeneutic phenomenology, Louisiana French, rapid English immersion

Disciplines

Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Psychology | First and Second Language Acquisition | Linguistics | Race and Ethnicity | Sociology

Abstract

The purpose of this hermeneutic phenomenological study was to investigate the lived experiences of native Louisiana French speakers entering English-only elementary schools in lower Bayou Lafourche, Louisiana. Native Louisiana French speakers entering English-only elementary school was defined as those whose home language was Louisiana French prior to entering elementary school. While language attrition for non-English speakers and Louisiana French culture had been explored, the in depth, lived experiences of native Louisiana French speakers entering English elementary schools were unexplored (Blyth, 1997; Ryon, 2002; Sexton, 2000). Understanding how entering English-only schools affects student perceptions and identity was important in determining school policy as it relates to minority populations (DeJong, 2006; Halic, Greenberg, & Paulus, 2009; Wang, 2009). The eight persons participating in the study were native Louisiana French speakers who entered English-only elementary schools in lower Bayou Lafourche, LA, utilizing purposeful sampling and snowball method. The data collection methods included interview, questionnaire, focus groups, and audio journal. Data analysis was carried out according to hermeneutic phenomenological approach guidelines and processes. Thematic analysis revealed four themes: confusion and fear the first days of school, physical punishment for speaking French in school, humble early lives and reflective wish for bi-literacy and language transmission.

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