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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Culturally responsive literacy instruction: a case study of a Fe y Alegria school in Bolivia Gates, Tracy


This study addresses the problem of a lack of culturally responsive literacy instruction in poorand marginalized communities, in developing countries. Relatedly, the study addresses factors that affect the implementation of this instruction, specifically the training of teachers to provide culturally responsive literacy instruction. This research provides a grounded description of how teachers in a Bolivian Fe y Alegria school use culturally responsive literacy instruction in the classroom and what factors affect their ability to do so. This case study was based on qualitative data collected from participant interviews, classroom and community observations and analysis of school and government documents. This study concludes that in this setting, despite the Fe y Alegria school's philosophy that reflects the aspects of culturally responsive instruction, few instances of this type of pedagogy in practice were observed. The data revealed rich and varied literacy practices within the community context. However, the data also suggested gaps between the home literacy practices and the literacy practices students were exposed to at school. As well, during the course of teacher interviews regarding formal and informal training, the data supports previous findings in other research that teacher training programs in the developing world were theory laden and for the most part impractical. This study contributes to a small but, hopefully, growing base of research on culturally responsive schools, give educators much needed information on how to consider and utilize the communities' cultural contexts when planning and teaching their students and highlight some of the factors, such as teacher training, that hinder or help the implementation of this type of instruction.

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