Spring 2017



Degree Name


Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Rachel Endo

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Brett Grant

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

Julia Fung


The capstone explores the question: “How can first-grade teachers integrate cultural studies into the Social Studies curriculum in a Chinese immersion classroom?” The author frames her study by first sharing her personal experience learning English as a foreign language. Until her American ESL teacher gave her the encouragement and passion to learn a new language in authentic and engaging ways, the author did not enjoy learning the English language. In chapter two, the author draws on research to explain how learning a new language and associated culture helps second-language students grow as learners, as well as increases their overall academic achievement. In chapter three, she discusses how the study of culture can be integrated into the first-grade social studies curriculum in the Chinese immersion setting. She introduces the model for creating her curriculum, which is Understanding by Design (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005). In chapter four, she discusses the key findings and rationale for this project, which includes detailed strategies and reflections with recommendation for helping other immersion teachers design similar curriculum with the second language learner in mind. This capstone includes two integrated units that are inclusive of seven lesson plans in the areas of civics and economics, as well as three surveys geared toward teachers who teach in immersion settings.

Research Methodology

Curriculum Development