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Author ORCID Identifier


Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Ysaaca Axelrod

Subject Categories

Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Education


Dual language programs have been considered by many scholars as the epitome of bilingual education models as they promise bilingual competence, academic success and cultural awareness for both majority and minority language students attending the program. Research has shown that they also tend to promote equity and establish social justice among all students, and students have reported improved self-esteem and bilingual pride among other benefits. The three guiding principles or pillars of dual language education are bilingualism, biliteracy and biculturalism. Recently, critical consciousness has been proposed as the 4th pillar as an establishment of the promotion of social justice and equity within the dual language classroom. This case study explores the language ideologies of six school officials and four families directly involved with the implementation of a newly established dual language program in a town in Massachusetts. The semi-structured in-depth qualitative interviews with the school’s principal, assistant principal, ELL coordinator, superintended and two first grade teachers in the focal program and the voices of four parents whose children attend the first grade in this program, highlight the notion of critical consciousness and how it manifests in their decision-making regarding choice of schooling and school practices. The findings show that there is strong sense of social justice and equity practices both in the school setting but also in the town community that is prevalent in the participants values, beliefs and attitudes. However, the findings also revealed a conceptual mismatch regarding notions of privilege between school officials and attending families, which suggests that the inclusion of critical consciousness should become a more visible aspect of the program and eventually be considered as an integral part of the dual language curriculum.