Degree Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education



First Advisor

Dr. Jana Hennen-Burr

Second Advisor

Dr. Sally Baas

Third Advisor

Dr. Kasya Willhite


In this dissertation, I examined Hmong parents' perspectives on the effectiveness of Hmong language and culture (HLC) programs in helping their children maintain the Hmong language and cultural practices. It was guided by three research questions that sought to uncover Hmong parents' experiences with heritage language shifts (HLS), their perceptions of their children's experiences, their perceived effectiveness of Hmong language and culture programs, and the roles they believe home and school play in the language and culture maintenance process. Drawing from a phenomenological research approach, narratives from semi-structured interviews with nine Hmong parents from two Hmong charter schools brought forward themes that highlighted the HLS experiences of Hmong parents and their children, the perceived effectiveness of HLC programs, and recommendations for current HLC programs. The salient themes that emerged from the data revealed: 1) family structure plays a major role in the heritage language and cultural maintenance process, 2) Hmong children can understand Hmong but not speak it, 3) parents are doing all they can to help maintain the language and cultural practices in the home to no avail, and 4) HLC programs were "effective" in helping Hmong students develop a broader Hmong vocabulary, literacy skills in Hmong, and increased interest in cultural practices. Although HLC programs were perceived by parents as being "effective," they also provided recommendations for improvement to current programs.