Date of Award

5-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership

Department

Educational Leadership and Curriculum

First Reader/Committee Chair

Murillo, Enrique G. Jr.

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to highlight the importance of having academic mentors of similar heritage to facilitate higher academic attainment of first generation Mexican immigrants. The researcher assures to demonstrate how constructs such as mentorship, self-efficacy, self-regulated learning, social and cultural capital, and similar heritage due to cultural values can positively influence and contribute to the success of English Language learners in academia.

Through the mentorship relationship, students, particularly minority groups, can tap into social and cultural capital that would otherwise be limited due to their immigration to a foreign country. Immigration typically limits individuals’ ability to communicate in the predominant language, which in turn limits their ability to culturally relate or access social capital. Mentors, particularly those of similar heritage, through their shared stories can become role models as they exemplify self-efficacy and self-regulatory strategies.

Family, especially for Mexican-immigrants, is one of their strongest values. Students, given their cultural values, seek opportunities to create a sense of family. Having left their country, their friends and family; it is only natural for immigrants to find comfort in relationships that resemble those with padrinos (godparents). In this case, the relationship is not through a spiritual connection, but through a mutual understanding of hardships, background, and heritage.

For these reasons, mentors of similar heritage have the greatest positive impact when facilitate higher academic attainment of Mexican immigrants.