The Perception of the Impact of Mispronouncing Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CLD) Names: A Collaborative Autoethnographic Study
MetadataShow full item record
Authorities point to significant conceptual contributions that explain culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) student underachievement (Echevarría & Graves, 2011; Genesee, Lindholm-Leary, Saunders, & Christian, 2006). The “social de-capitalization” of CLD individuals upon arriving in the U.S. becomes apparent within a span of two generations or sooner, according to Bourdieu (1991). This elimination of cultural strengths, known as “cultural capital,” such as a student's name, is needed for academic achievement but may become lessened as CLD adults, as students, are socialized in schools (Bourdieu, 1991; Cummins, 1996). Freire (1970) argues that these “oppressive social circumstances are not conducive to academic or intellectual success” and only a “pedagogy of empowerment” can fulfill the goals of education (Freire, 1970; Cummins, 1996). Crusan (2010) has argued that teachers, whether consciously or unconsciously, “hold biases about virtually every aspect of the workings of their classrooms” (p. 89). Mispronouncing, altering or changing CLD adults’ names to Americanized names occurs when educators are unfamiliar with students’ native languages (Kohli & Solórzano, 2012). The practice continues in most secondary classrooms based on various factors regarding teacher/student interactions, which may negatively affect achievement (Tyler, 2006) The purpose of this autoethnographic study was to 1) give voice to the lived experiences of adults who have names which were interpreted by others as being difficult to pronounce and/or changed, (2) to examine CLD adults' perceptions of positive and negative experiences that may have occurred during their formal education, due to their name being perceived by others as difficult to pronounce and therefore altered or changed, and (3) to examine participants’ perceptions of the impact of this phenomenon on their academic achievement. Data was collected through interviews where the researcher was the primary source of data. Four additional adults were included in the data collection who self-identified as having the experience of their names mispronounced and/or changed by others. The goal was to gain insight into their positive and/or negative experiences due to the mispronunciation/changing of their names by others. The data showed that our collective experiences led to perceptions of discriminatory actions on the part of some of our Anglo teachers. The final report shows that our families and friends were a powerful influence in the resilience following perceived negative actions. While schooling and acclimation to Anglo ideas were the result of what we found to diminish our cultural heritage, we were resilient, but not resistant. Often our families and friends accepted the direction of “outside others” so that we could make our way in a dominant society. The result of this study gave voice to the participants who were resilient in spite of the dominant culture’s influence and were willing to make the best of opportunities, our surroundings, and our career choices. We continue to strive to do our very best, to serve our families, communities and professions.