Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

We are who we study /somos los que estudiamos: An exploratory study of Chicana /o educator's identities and agency
by Chavez, Lorretta, Ph.D., University of Colorado at Boulder, 2007, 421; 3303817
Abstract (Summary)

This study investigated the academic identities of Chicana/o educators and how schooling experiences mediated their desire to become educators. Findings ascertained: (1) both the negative and positive experiences in school and home cultivated an academic identity. Positive experiences in school included involvement with alternative and special schooling programs and supportive relationships with school personnel. The negative school experiences included low expectations for achievement and a lack of supportive and nurturing relationships with school personnel; (2) a resilient/defiant identity also cultivated an academic identity. This identity enabled study participants to "bounce back" from school experiences that weren't positive. This identity was defiant in resisting the low achievement expectations from school personnel; (3) in choosing teaching as a profession, it was more of the negative school experiences that cultivated the participants' desire to become a educator. This desire was strongly correlated to providing a more positive classroom experience for students and; (4) the study participants' ethnicities negatively affected the school's expectation for academic achievement. This low expectation for achievement was also a catalyst in choosing teaching, as they wanted to positively affect other diverse students' schooling success.

I concluded: (1) supportive, nurturing, and caring relationships with school personnel is key in the development of a strong academic identity that makes attending college and working toward a future profession possible; (2) alternative and special school programs offered a more personal, positive and affirming experience within the larger negative schooling context; and (3) because the participants' racial diversity brought about lower expectations for school achievement, the participants did not feel a positive sense about their ethnicities.

I suggest that school environments need to be more positive and nurturing places. Training opportunities for school personnel to expand their notions regarding diverse students' abilities and their need for affective connection are needed. Curriculum where diverse students learn about their history and culture is also vital in cultivating a knowledge and pride about their culture. This cultural knowledge can become a resource that can better endure and engage in schooling endeavors. Alternative and special programs such as Upward Bound, bilingual education and the Migrant Educational Program are essential for diverse students to close the achievement gap.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Escamilla, Kathy, Urrieta, Luis
Commitee: Falcon, Priscilla, Klingner, Janette, Liston, Dan, Salinas, Cinthia, Urrieta, Luis
School: University of Colorado at Boulder
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- Colorado
Source: DAI-A 69/04, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Bilingual education, Multicultural education, Teacher education, Hispanic Americans
Keywords: Academic identity in Mexican American educators, Achievement gap, Chicana/o, Cultural identity in Mexican American educators, Educators, Ethnic identity in Mexican American educators, Hispanic educators, Identity, Mexican American educators, Mexican-American
Publication Number: 3303817
ISBN: 978-0-549-50785-7
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