Investigating Accountability: Language Ideologies & Internalization at a New Mexican High School
This thesis considers the extent to which dominant language ideologies have become internalized in the attitudes of students and teachers at a New Mexican high school. Due to New Mexico’s multicultural past, its student population is linguistically and racially diverse, making it a prime location for this study. While past literature has thoroughly documented how language ideologies affect students, this study places particular emphasis on how teachers’ abilities to instigate meaningful change are compromised as a result of internalized thoughts and beliefs. Through a demographic survey and informal interviews with two students and six educators, this paper highlights the ‘standard’ English (Flores & Rosa, 2015), English-only (Piller, 2016), and bilingual ideologies (Wright, 2005; Han, 2013) present among students and teachers at the high school of study. In doing so, it considers (1) the linguistic atmosphere of the high school, (2) how aware students and teachers seem to be of any subsisting language ideologies, and (3) how these ideologies impact students’ and teachers’ daily lives. Study findings show that, despite the significant linguistic diversity at the high school, students and teachers were no less impacted by dominant language ideologies. In particular, students and teachers repeatedly described how the English-only environment of the high school created barriers for non-native English speaking students. Interestingly, members of both groups were keenly aware of the ideologies present, despite at the same time being influenced by them. Lastly, this thesis found that educational issues such as perceptions of fluency, diverse curricula, and miscommunication were exacerbated due to the language ideologies present at the school. In emphasizing the lasting impact of dominant language ideologies on students and teachers alike, this thesis attempts to ascertain where accountability for addressing language-related injustices lies: with students, teachers, school administrators, all of the above, or somewhere else entirely.
Culture and Politics Honors Theses
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