Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


College of Education and Human Services


Secondary and Special Education

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Rebecca A. Goldstein

Committee Member

David Schwarzer

Committee Member

Tyson Lewis

Committee Member

Kathryn G. Herr


The mainstream classroom poses critical challenges to ELL students in the era of standardization. As English is used both as a language of instruction and assessment for all content subjects in the mainstream classroom, ELL students have to master a cognitively loaded and culturally specific curriculum while learning basic English. Through the standardization of curriculum and assessment, English exerts a normalizing power for ELL students. Given the role of language in regulating consciousness and controlling access to dialogic process, how does dialogic pedagogy theorize about the relationships between language, power and the needs of ELL students in mainstream, content-area classrooms?

Using Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of language and symbolic power as my theoretical framework, and Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) as a research method that focuses on language as an instrument that mediates power and privileges, this study explored the effects of dialogic pedagogy as a discourse on ELL students. Based on an examination of over two hundred and seventeen dialogic pedagogy texts published since NCLB (2001) was signed into effect, analysis of the data demonstrated that critical pedagogy failed to address the specificity of challenges facing ELL students in mainstream classrooms. The discourses of dialogic pedagogy normalized the notion of dialogue at the expense of addressing linguistic and cultural diversities. The findings call for a reconceptualization of dialogic pedagogy to incorporate the notion of linguistic and cultural diversity into its theorizing and literacy practices.

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