Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

McIntyre, Christie

Second Advisor

McIntyre, John


The purpose of this study was to understand the issue of the language of instruction to school literacy learning in rural Haiti. Using a narrative approach, 10 participants who live and work in a rural village in Northern Haiti were involved. I sought to examine their experience and perspectives on the issue as well as their level of awareness and the ways they navigate through the system to succeed in life. The dissertation also investigated their struggle to learn using a language over which they do not have much command and that they do not speak at home and in their community. This dissertation drew from critical pedagogy, as a conceptual framework that advocates for emancipation by providing quality and equitable education for all students as agents of change filled with intellectual potentiality and the ability to address oppressive patterns in society and challenge the status quo. Data from subjects were collected from focus groups, in-class observations, and semi-structured interviews. The analysis of the data was done utilizing three coding cycles and three themes were identified: 1) Students’ production based on the language in use, 2) The importance of the setting for language mastery and literacy learning, and 3) The role of language mastery in students’ success in school and in the workplace. The study suggests implications for future research, parents, and school leaders. The findings identify gaps and purpose to add to the literature given the paucity of research on the issue of the language of instruction as applied to schools in rural Haiti.Keywords: literacy learning, language of instruction, mother tongue, bilingualism, code-switching




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