Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Amy Wilson-Lopez


Steven Camicia


Sylvia Read


This study is framed in Bourdieu’s theory of capital, which asserts that the choices we make are usually designed to help us become better off economically; that economic capital is, to some degree, exchangeable with other types of capital (e.g., social and cultural); and that other types of capital can be exchanged for economic capital. The purpose of this study was to understand which forms of capital native English-speaking and native Spanish-speaking families believed they would acquire by choosing to participate in or not participate in Spanish dual language immersion.

In this study I interviewed four native Spanish-speaking students who did not participate in dual language immersion, and their parents, and four native English-speaking students who did participate in dual language immersion, and their parents. I also conducted a focus group with the teachers of both the native Spanish and native English-speaking students.

I found that the native English-speaking families perceived that they were able to use the dual language immersion program to gain many forms of capital. By contrast, the native Spanish-speaking families also perceived that they gained capital by not participating in the program, but not as much as if they had participated in dual language immersion. I suggest some ways to make participation in dual language immersion more equitable for all families.



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