Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education, Teaching and Learning Sciences, Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Maria Salazar, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Mohammad Matin

Third Advisor

Richard Kitchen

Fourth Advisor

Nicholas Cutforth


Pedagogy, University intensive English program


This qualitative case study explored the English as a second language (ESL) teachers' perceptions and implementation of the culturally relevant pedagogy (CRP) in an Intensive English Program (IEP) in Mountain University (pseudonym). IEPs are university-based language learning institutes for the pre-admission of English language learners (ELLs). The monolingual approach to ESL teaching does not fit the diverse language and cultural backgrounds of ELLs. It brings challenges for both ESL teachers and ELLs in IEPs. CRP encourages teachers to incorporate students' home cultures and first languages in their teaching and to bridge the gap between school culture and students' home culture, in order to improve students' academic achievement, nurture and support students' cultural competence, and develop students' sociopolitical or critical consciousness (Ladson-Billings, 1995b). Four full-time ESL teachers in an IEP participated in this study. The data was collected through classroom observations, face-to-face interviews, and documents review.

The ESL teachers perceive ELLs' L1 and home culture as an asset, and a facilitator for improving the ELLs' academic achievement, cultural competence, and critical thinking. The ESL teachers perceive ELLs' L1 as either a facilitator or a hindrance for ELLs' second language (L2) learning. The ESL teachers create an inclusive learning environment by connecting ELLs' cultures and educational experience to the U.S. educational culture academic experience. The ESL teachers are not familiar with CRP. They emphasize the importance of critical thinking skills for ELLs instead of critical consciousness. It sheds light on the importance of incorporating CRP in IEP curricula and teacher education programs with ESL endorsement. The ESL teachers improve ELLs' academic achievement through such pedagogical practices as a focus on learning strategies, providing students with structure, clear directions, and support, enriching the curriculum, and encouraging cooperative learning. The ESL teachers cultivate ELLs' cultural competence through building on students' cultural experiences, creating an inclusive environment, and encouraging relationships between schools and communities. The ESL teachers develop ELLs' critical consciousness through critical literacy strategies, engaging students in social justice work, and sharing power in the classroom.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Arongna Borjigin


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

249 p.


English as a Second Language, Curriculum Development