Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Theory, Policy, and Practice

First Advisor

Janice Hinson

Second Advisor

Earl Cheek


The study of cultural identity has thus far been rather unidimensional, portraying a child as a member of a single cultural group that has a homogeneous culture. Over the past twenty-five years, much of the research on the relationship between culture and education has looked at children's educational processes through the lens of group membership. This study examined six children from different cultures as they constructed their own identities within the multicultural classroom environment over the period of a year. It was designed to examine how individual children take on cultural "ways" that are associated with other cultural groups and thereby expand their concepts of self. This multiple-case, qualitative research addressed the following questions: (a) How do students perceive their own identities in a multicultural setting? (b) To what extent do children identify with cultural roots distinct from their own? and (c) How do social identifications change over time as students become immersed in the classroom culture? Results indicated that cultural identity is an additive process, and the role of the teacher is central in helping a diverse group find personal voice and positive interrelationships.