Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version

Spring 2012


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: Teaching, Learning & Teacher Education, Under the Supervision of Professor Jenelle Reeves. Lincoln, Nebraska: April 2012

Copyright (c) 2012 Lucilei A. Brigido


In this paper, I, as an educator and a language learner, examine the stories of immigrants and their immersion into a second language and a new culture as they maintain and\or create identities, while considering the society in which they are immersed, the United States, which receives people from all corners of the world. The theoretical framework I draw from is life-based narrative research, as well as literature exploring the role of identities and membership in society. Life-based narratives give real faces to the stories, helping school holders and lay people to develop awareness in regard to the complexities and challenges involved in learning an additional language. I collected data by interviewing and recording five participants, collecting their journals and observing them in social interaction. As a result of this study, the experiences of Ana, Sula, Olivia, Sofia and Peter reveal an intersection of influences altering or reinforcing the newcomers’ multiple identities and their relationship with their first language.