Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Philosophy (Ph.D)


Education Specialties

First Advisor

Lisa Bajor

Second Advisor

Kristin Anderson

Third Advisor

Kyle Cook


This study explored three English Language Arts educators’ experiences with and perspectives about using multicultural and popular culture texts with culturally diverse learners in a South Texas high school. Concurrent with projections for an increase in the enrollment of Hispanic students within the nation’s public schools, educational organizations at the national level have highlighted issues related to diversity and equity, as well as access to varied textual experiences that capitalize on and expand student perspectives, lived experiences, and 21st century literacy skills. These issues become particularly salient as extended understandings of culture and diversity reframe discussions about approaches for facilitating equitable, asset-based learning opportunities for all students, even as viewpoints about the positioning of diverse texts in schools remains a divisive topic among various stakeholders. Amid this climate of educational discourse, multicultural and popular culture texts emerge as relevant to the conversation, thereby pointing to questions about how educators use and position these broadly defined texts within today’s classrooms. In particular, since adolescence remains an important time for identity formation and engagement with various literacy practices, the population for this inquiry included three practicing educators serving adolescent learners enrolled in grades nine through 12. Through using a narrative inquiry approach and qualitative methods, this study revealed the presence of four main themes in the data. Key findings included commentary related to the following: the presence of state, district, and school-level demands, challenges, requirements, and supports; issues of access, belongingness, and appropriateness in text usage and the challenging, cautionary, and beneficial aspects associated with incorporating a diversity of textual materials; the dynamic relationships, influences, and connections that occur within and are cultivated between the world, its diversity of cultures, individuals, and texts; and how the text functions to broaden students’ access to global perspectives, diverse ways of knowing, and literacy-based skills, while also validating students’ identities and preparing them for a world beyond the classroom. Through learning about educators’ experiences and perspectives, this study strived to lend further understanding to the topic and uncover insights about the possibilities, challenges, and limitations of inviting multicultural and popular culture texts into the classroom.