Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Latino students defining an identity in an American town
by Gil, Felix R., Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2016, 162; 10133107
Abstract (Summary)

Based on indicators of educational achievement in the United States, Latinos have lagged behind most other demographic groups. This study explored Latino students’ social identity through a qualitative research design that privileged student voice as a vehicle to addressing educational disparities. The research design employed a phenomenological approach within the framework of practitioner research to explore students’ constructions of identity in reference to school in one suburban community. Research has shown that students’ experiences and sense of social identity can have significant impacts on academic performance (Aronson & Good, 2002; Moya, 2002; 2009; Steele & Aronson, 1995; Steele, Spencer, & Aronson, 2002). As a Latino school district leader who desires to improve practice by better understanding Latino students in a suburban school setting in which they have a minority presence, in this study I created a forum where students could speak to their experiences and reality in that setting. This study’s conceptual framework was grounded in the following areas of scholarship: social identity theory, critical race theory, and the concepts of student voice. Data collection included interviews, focus groups, and identity mapping with 15 high school participants. The study resulted in four main findings: Latino students feel stigmatized and isolated; they perceived and replicated racial microaggressions; there are elements of school they appreciate; and institutional practices create and support bias. This study is only a start to a fuller review and exploration of these themes at the school level. For such conversations to be productive, students’ voices must be included.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Wortham, Stanton E. F.
Commitee: Campano, H. Gerald, Hall, Kathleen D.
School: University of Pennsylvania
Department: Educational Leadership
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 77/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Latin American Studies, Higher education
Keywords: Educational leadership, Hispanic education, Practitioner research
Publication Number: 10133107
ISBN: 978-1-339-91599-9
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