Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Secondary Education

Major Professor

Adam Schwartz


Indigenous Educators, language teaching, Skype, Socially Mediated Network, transcendental phenomenology


Language and culture teaching has always been a complex and challenging task. For many educators, their teaching experiences are rooted in their earlier preparation, their classroom situations and their curriculum. In this study, indigenous educators recount their lived experiences with teaching their language and culture at a distance. These educators belong to either Nahua or Mayan speech communities where endangered languages are maintained. Using a transcendental phenomenological approach, my participants described and explained their perspectives and experiences with teaching, studying, and integrating technology. I focused the interviews, the reflective writing tasks and their artifact sharing on their experiences in an online environment for a predominantly US audience through distance learning platforms. In the case of the Nahuas, they taught synchronously through Skype while the Mayans taught asynchronously through a socially mediated network (i.e. a Ning powered network). The resulting phenomenological essences provided a universal description of their textural and structural experiences and I used this essence to unearth these educators' descriptions, discoveries and perspectives on teaching, languages, culture and technology. From analyzing their journey the following implications emerged. First, these educators needed to learn an additional language beyond their home language in order to be a part of a teaching experience. Second, their personal ties to their speech communities were enhanced or completely changed due to their engagement with their home institutions. Lastly, their efforts were linked to increasing the documentation and revitalization of their endangered languages.