Doctoral Dissertation Abstract
Dance as a vehicle for prejudice reduction and second language acquisition.
To examine dance as a vehicle for prejudice reduction and second language acquisition in multicultural learning contexts, a dance program was created each spring for four years as a cultural component of the Spanish class for 6th and 8th graders at a southeastern middle school in the U.S. The goal was to facilitate interactions among students of different backgrounds and positively influence the students’ attitudes toward Spanish language and culture, ultimately reducing prejudice. Constructionism and interpretivism were the lenses for the research questions: To what extent does Latin dance a) foster interaction, friendship, and cooperation among participants from different socioeconomic, cultural, and achievement levels backgrounds and b) influence student attitudes toward Spanish language and culture? The methodologies that informed my study were Case Study, Experimental Design, as well as Formative and Design Experiment. I included an inductive analysis of surveys, interviews, journals, videotapes, narrative analysis, and alternative representation. My findings reveal that dance as text and context can be a powerful tool for attitude change toward the Other: the other language, the other classmate.
Fuad won the Diversity Engagement Award in 2010 as a result of this research. This is awarded annually by the Graduate school to just two students a year. This is a university-wide award.
Research Project Compilation Video
Cultural portion of the Spanish class at a middle school in Athens Clarke County during the Spring Semester of 2009.
End of Semester Celebration
Four different video clips of end of semester Cinco de Mayo performance. This is the culmination of all the dance classes provided to the students during the research project.