Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Leadership (Ed.D.)

Type of Paper/Work



Sarah J. Noonan

Second Advisor

Thomas L. Fish

Third Advisor

Aura Wharton-Beck


Using narrative inquiry within the qualitative research tradition, a study of eight students with limited or interrupted education (SLIFE) women and eight teachers was conducted to examine how traumatic experiences and cultural shock affected the educational access, achievement and future goals of SLIFE women. The study revealed SLIFE women experienced various forms of trauma, including violence and extreme poverty. Trauma affected their mental health, efforts to settle in the U.S., their educational achievement, and future goals. Grief and loss accompanied them on their journey. Entry and settlement in the United States also posed new challenges due to language differences and cultural shock. Another large concern involved the substantial differences in the SLIFE women’s educational background as compared to their U.S. peers. The teachers of SLIFE women recognized the educational system was unprepared to meet SLIFE women’s needs. Kim (2001) identified a three-step process with regard to cultural shock, including stress, adaptation, and renewal. All eight participants experienced challenges due to language barriers and a lack of meaningful opportunities for integration and intercultural change. Freire’s (1984, 2000) humanizing pedagogy was used to analyze how to support the needs of SLIFE women in a participatory and organized way. This included developing the whole person, while using dialogue and problem-based learning to discuss perspectives and uncover oppression. Recommendations included the development of mental health services, mentorships, improvements in teaching preparation programs, and changes in educational programming for SLIFE women.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

This file may be slow to open due to its size. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."

Included in

Education Commons