Author ORCID Identifier

Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Middle and Secondary Education

First Advisor

Gail Sue Kasun

Second Advisor

Tonia Durden

Third Advisor

Elizabeth Wurzburg


With a rising number of English Language Learners (ELL) in schools today, educators struggle with excellent ways of providing equitable learning opportunities that value and include the diverse backgrounds, languages, and experiences that students bring into the classroom. In multicultural classrooms, the schooling experiences of ELLs often reflect assimilationist and subtractive schooling practices that support the dominant discourses of schools in the United States. Although classroom morning meetings are used in elementary schools to build community and develop positive relationships among young students, there is limited research using Culturally Relevant Pedagogy (Ladson-Billings, 1995) during classroom morning meetings. The purpose of this qualitative action research study is to explore and capture the agentic experiences of Latinx ELL students as participants of culturally relevant morning meetings. This study examined how one fifth grade classroom used morning meetings to foster student agency, "the capacity, independence, and authority to assert their own voice, ideals, perspectives, and truths" (Muhammad, 2014, p. 450) among Latinx ELL students.

This action research study is grounded in Latinx Critical Theory (Valdes, 1998; Solórzano and Delgado Bernal, 2000) to understand the experiences of Latinx students. The findings suggest that by implementing culturally relevant morning meetings, Latinx ELLs students formed a stronger classroom community, created a safe space for sharing personal stories that revealed personal and societal challenges, and experienced a stronger sense of agency to take action. Additionally, included are discussions and implications for teachers of all grade levels, teacher education programs, and future researchers. By centering the voices and experiences of Latinx students during morning meetings, this study offers insight to help transform the current educational practices of educating Latinx ELL students. By building a classroom culture that provides an intentional space and time for students to form a connection to others and their learning, students have the agency to use their voices to share their perspectives, experiences, and ideas.

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