School of Education
Doctor of Education (EdD)
Lucinda S. Spaulding
African American Bilingual, Identity, Agency, Foreign Language Immersion, Identity, Immersion, Second Language
African American Studies | Education | Other Languages, Societies, and Cultures
Romero, Kim, "A Model of the Process African American Adolescents Use to Integrate their Bilingual Identity with their Overall Identity in a Foreign Language Immersion Environment: A Grounded Theory Study" (2018). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 1768.
The purpose of this grounded theory study was to develop a model that illustrates how African American adolescents in a foreign language immersion environment integrate their bilingual identity with their overall identity. For this study, bilingualism is defined as the ability to use two languages for academic and/or business purposes. I used multiple interviews, focus groups, questionnaires, and journals to collect data. The most important part of the identity integration process for African American adolescents in a foreign language immersion environment is choice. The loss of choice caused conflicts during the identity negotiation process. The participants perceived their bilingual identity as symbolic capital which put them ahead of their peers academically and socially. Bilingualism allowed them to feel a sense of belonging and helped them overcome feeling marginalized from their African American peers in the school community. The Choice-Driven Bilingual Identity Integration model was developed from this study. The model conveys that the process the participants used to integrate their bilingual identity with their overall identity was one of positioning. The participants used positioning to convey how retaining or losing the choice of which dimension of identity they wish to share determined whether they experienced a conflict within their personal identity and the identity integration process as a whole. During academic situations, the participants chose to share their bilingual identity and demonstrated high agency. When forced to share their bilingual identity with native speakers they used low agency to describe their experiences. However, in social situations with native speakers when the participants chose to practice their Spanish, they demonstrated high agency.