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Culturally and Linguistically Diverse/Exceptional Learners in Community College: Perceptions of a First Year Experience Program Open Access

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The purpose of this qualitative study is to understand and describe how culturally and linguistically diverse students who also may have exceptionalities in a Middle Atlantic community college perceive first year experience programs. This study explores the experiences of first year culturally and linguistically diverse community college students who also may have exceptionalities through a social constructivist lens (Creswell, 2007, 2013) and the theory of culturally relevant pedagogy (Ladson-billings, 1995, 2006, 2014). The methodology for this study was qualitative and the method was qualitative interviews to give voice to CLD/E learners to share from their perspectives of their experience in a formal first year experience program. Sampling was purposive (Lincoln and Guba, 1985; Maxwell, 1996; Seidman, 2006) with a focus on 10-12 CLD/E adult learners, 18+ years of age, male and females, who have completed one –two semesters of the first year experience program in a community college, and one semester of a credit bearing course. The results of the study yielded eight emergent themes. These eight themes can be examined in two groups: the first group of themes referenced learning and developing an understanding of higher education and the second group of themes revealed issues of individual growth and change.

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