An ethnographic study of recently arrived Nicaraguan students in an urban elementary school

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Committee Member

Eugene F. Jr. Provenzo - Committee Chair


This study has as its purpose the observation of a group of six newly arrived Nicaraguan immigrant elementary school children as part of an acculturation program conducted by the Dade County Public Schools. Systematic observations were conducted in an intermediate acculturation class at an ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) Center. In addition to daily observations, interviews were conducted with the children attending the class, their parents, peers, and teachers and administrators working with them.Social and cultural forces at work in the acculturation process of the children who were included in the study emerged from the data provided by the observations and interviews. An analysis based on the data and policy recommendations closed the study.The study concludes that while administrators and teachers perceived themselves and the school as playing a major role in the assimilation of these newly arrived students, in fact the school was only one of many forces at work in the acculturation process. Forces such as television, mass consumerism, and parental aspirations were seen as being potentially more influential in the acculturation process than the schools.


Anthropology, Cultural; Education, Elementary; Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies

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