Author ORCID Identifier


Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Middle and Secondary Education

First Advisor

Dr. Gertrude Tinker Sachs

Second Advisor

Dr. Janice Fournillier

Third Advisor

Dr. Sue Kasun

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Hakyoon Lee


Language teaching and learning can be a force for good if it serves to break down cultural barriers. However, many interdisciplinary studies have identified pedagogical, epistemological, and methodological shortcomings in conceptualizing and assessing interculturality in language education (Collins, 2018; Karabinar & Guler, 2013; Kubota & Austin, 2007). To gain a critical and contextualized understanding of interculturality and its realization in language education, this qualitative case study delved into the lived experiences of three in-service ESOL teachers from birth to the present. Drawing upon theories of interculturality (Dervin et al., 2020) and intersectionality (Collins & Bilge, 2016), the study addressed the following research questions: I) How do in-service ESOL teachers understand and experience interculturality in their life and profession? 2) What are in-service ESOL teachers’ beliefs about their interculturality in teaching? 3) What aspects of in-service ESOL teachers’ life experiences contribute to their interculturality? Various data resources, including three individual interviews, one focus group interview, artifacts, field notes, and researcher’s journal, were collected and analyzed using interpretative phenomenological analysis (Smith, 1996; Tuffour, 2017). The findings unveiled the significant impact of intercultural experiences and relationships across different times, spaces, and contexts on the teachers’ intersectional understanding and actions in support of historically marginalized ESOL students and parents. The study further identified seven interconnecting factors contributing to the teachers’ evolving critical interculturality. This research underscores the urgent need for teachers to engage in critical reflexivity concerning their privilege and marginalization and pedagogical knowledge and practice. It also magnifies the urgency for cultivating interculturality among not only language teachers and their students specifically, but also generally within schools, communities, and societies at large for a better world.


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