Date of Award

8-2010

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Major

Anthropology

Major Professor

Gregory V. Button

Committee Members

Michael H. Logan, De Ann Pendry

Abstract

In recent years the Midway School System in Midway, Tennessee (pseudonyms are used for the town, the school, and the participants in this research), has experienced a significant demographic change that has had both social and academic impacts. An influx of Hispanic students, primarily from Mexico, has brought students who are culturally different and for whom English is not the first language into a school that has traditionally been comprised of almost all white English speaking students. In the era of No Child Left Behind and other large scale educational reforms, this demographic change presents many new challenges to educators in this environment and although standardized test scores are available to track student achievement across certain population groups, rarely do reports or studies focus on the perspectives of teachers. This ethnographic study of teachers at Midway High School focused on teacher perspectives on the population change, how it has impacted their work as educators, and the positive and negative effects of educational reforms in multicultural classroom settings. This study involved observations and interviews of teachers in various content areas and of the school principal. The results highlight many social and academic concerns that are in many ways disregarded by No Child Left Behind and by state-imposed reform efforts implemented in recent years.

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