When Boys Become Men: Chicano/Latino Middle School Students and their Identities.
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This ethnographic study explores the educational experiences of Chicano/Latino Middle School Males and their emerging racial, ethnic, and gender identities. This study employed Racial/Ethnic Identity Development Theory and Critical Race Theory to examine how racial, ethnic, and gender identity intersect and shape the experiences of Chicano/Latino middle school males. Findings revealed that race, gender, and masculinity were central to the formation of social groups at school. Study participants categorized themselves into four main social groups: Soccer Players, Average Kids, Nerds, and Lost Boys. Each group developed and adopted a particular set of behavior, style of dress, and attitude towards school. Social group membership influenced student-teacher interactions and peer group dynamics. Students who had stronger identification with Chicano/Latino culture often encountered lowered academic expectations and increased disciplinary practices from teachers. Findings from this study begin to demonstrate the significance of middle school as a critical juncture that can help close the opportunity and gender gap for Chicano/Latino males. This work contributes to the college access literature by expanding it to include the middle school experience. It also adds to research on middle school that demonstrates how institutional practices can marginalize particular groups of students and explores the effects of identity formation, social groups, and masculinity on the school experience of Chicano/Latino middle school males.
- Education - Seattle