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ERIC Number: ED590790
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2018
Pages: 210
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: 978-0-4383-9591-6
Navigating Borders: Immigration Teaching and Learning in K-12 Classrooms
Owenby, Thomas Clinton
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, The University of Wisconsin - Madison
I set out to understand the teaching and learning of immigration in social studies classrooms through a comparative case study of four veteran public school teachers and their students in a single district located in a post-industrial city in the upper Midwest. I hoped to better to understand the content that teachers addressed, the pedagogy and materials they chose to employ, and the ideas about immigration, citizenship, civic responsibility, and nationhood that were both implied in the enacted curricula and learned by students. I utilized a qualitative approach of comparative case study in order to foreground the contextual nature of this research and provide a nuanced understanding of the teaching and learning of immigration. I chose to work with 4th, eighth, and tenth grade classes in order to provide a snapshot of immigration instruction in the elementary, middle, and upper grades. I conducted interviews with teachers and focal students, observed immigration-focused lessons and units, and collected instructional materials and student work. I analyzed my data through cyclical coding of fieldnotes and interview transcripts in order to identify thematic patterns. Each case was analyzed individually, in reference to each of the other cases, and finally as part of an imagined whole of the four cases as part of a hypothetical trajectory of immigration learning. My conceptual framework draws from multicultural democracy (Maari, 2003) and democratic citizenship (Westheimer & Kahne, 2004). The four findings that emerged from this study include: (1) The teaching of immigration lends itself to the maintenance of white supremacy; (2) Teachers' political views condition how they teach about immigration; (3) How and what gets taught about immigration represents the ways students are positioned to participate in a democracy; and (4) Adhering to state-based curricular guidelines and district course materials limited the scope and focus of teaching and learning about immigration to within the United States borders. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; Grade 4; Intermediate Grades; Elementary Education; Grade 8; Junior High Schools; Middle Schools; Secondary Education; Grade 10; High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A