Tag Archive: HispanicAmericanStudies

Common Characteristics of Effective Educators of Hispanic and Latino Students (Education Papers posted on May 14th, 2014 )

Hispanic and Latino students are regarded as one of the most uneducated and educationally at-risk and disadvantaged groups in the United States, yet few studies have focused on teaching and learning in classrooms where they are making significant academic gains due to high quality teachers. Current research in this area lacks strong theoretical foundations and has produced little empirical data. As such, it was the goal of this study to identify common characteristics of effective educators of Hispanic and Latino students via theoretical elucidation through the lens of cultural competency and proficiency and culturally relevant instruction. Research questions included: (1) What do effective teachers of Hispanic and Latino students need to know about teaching, learning, and Hispanic and Latino students?; (2) What skills and abilities do they possess?; and (3) What are their dispositions? Given the study’s purpose, the research approach was that of a qualitative study employing a case study design that utilized interview as a data collection method and constant comparative analysis. Interviews from eight effective educators in a southeastern Wisconsin public, urban high school with a 98.8% Hispanic student demographic corroborated that a diverse set of knowledge, skills, and dispositions were shared amongst these educators and were consistent with findings generated by the literature review, with some additional characteristics, such as college knowledge, being brought forth, and others not being substantiated, such as analysis of instructional materials and resources. Implications of this study suggest that there is a set of principal behavioral patterns and teacher qualities that auspiciously influence student achievement and that applying these principals and replicating them in diverse contexts will help meet the needs of Hispanic and Latino students. The study’s findings also provide implications for a pre-service Education and professional development framework that adequately prepares responsive educators and assists them in meeting the needs of a student population that has traditionally been underserved. In addition, findings also implicate that educators can take measures to address the challenges they face in educating Hispanic and Latino students, as well as amend the educational disparities in these students’ performance.

Early identification of Hispanic English language learners for gifted and talented programs (Education Papers posted on March 26th, 2013 )

The exponential growth of the Hispanic student population and the controversial educational issue surrounding the assessment of English language learners are the two fundamental topics of this study. Due to the uncertainty and ambiguity surrounding the assessment of the escalating Hispanic student population, the underrepresentation of Hispanics in gifted and talented GT) programs has developed into a critical educational concern Bernal, 2002; Irby & Lara-Alecio, 1996; Ortiz & Gonzalez, 1998). The research questions that guided this study focused on finding validated assessments for early identification of the gifted Hispanic English language learners ELLS) in kindergarten. The first research question aimed to determine the concurrent validity of the Hispanic Bilingual Gifted Screening Instrument HBGSI) using the Naglieri Nonverbal Abilities Test NNAT) and Wookcock Language Proficient Battery-Revised WLPB-R) selected three subtests, administered in English and Spanish. This study found a positive statistically significant correlation between the HBGSI, the NNAT, and WLPB-R subtests. The second question focused on the correlation between language proficiency as measured by the WLPB-R subtests and nonverbal intelligence measured using the NNAT. This analysis found that there was a statistically significant correlation between the NNAT and the WLPB-R subtests. The third question concentrated on the difference in performance on the NNAT and WLPB-R subtests by two student groups, those identified and those not identified GT using the HBGSI. The study determined that the students identified GT performed statistically significantly different on the NNAT than those not identified GT. The fourth question centered on the difference in performance on the HBGSI of students enrolled in a transitional bilingual Education TBE) and those enrolled in an English as a second language ESL) classroom. The results of my study showed that students in a TBE classroom performed statistically significantly different on five HBGSI clusters Social & Academic Language, Familial, Collaboration, Imagery, and Creative Performance) than students in ESL classroom. The studys results were analyzed, interpreted and discussed in this dissertation.

The relationship among child resilient attributes, acculturation, bilingualism, and social competence of Hispanic American preschool children (Education Papers posted on March 25th, 2013 )

Hispanic Americans are one of the fastest growing populations in the United States who are faced with many adversities such as poverty, discrimination, acculturative stress, and academic failure. This is the first study to examine resilience among economically-disadvantaged Hispanic American preschool children. This study combines cognitive i.e., intelligence), psychosocial i.e., inhibition, activity level, negative emotionality, emotion regulation, autonomy), and cultural-linguistic i.e., level of acculturation and bilingualism) factors to determine resilience among economically-disadvantaged Hispanic American preschool children as gauged by Social competence during peer play. Participants comprised of 207 4- to 5-year-old Hispanic American children from 50 classrooms in 2 early childhood centers at an urban public school district. Individual assessments, parent ratings, and teacher behavior ratings were collected for each participant. Findings from variable-oriented analyses indicated that cognitive ability, language skills English and Spanish), temperament factors, emotion regulation, and autonomy were related to Social competence during play. Level of acculturation was not significantly related to Social competence. Person-oriented analysis yielded 6 distinct profiles, 2 profiles of which were well-adjusted and socially competent and a profile of vulnerability. The remaining 3 profiles fell within the continuum of the two extremes. A multivariate analysis of variance revealed that profiles differentially related to social competence. Results of this study revealed within group differences in resilience among economically-disadvantaged Hispanic American preschool children and the significant role of bilingualism in social development.

Ethnic identity and academic achievement: A study of 5th grade Spanish-English bilingual Latinos (Education Papers posted on March 25th, 2013 )

In the United States, Latino students have the highest high school dropout rate of any minority group and rank lowest in academic achievement measures beginning as early as elementary school August & Hakuta, 1997; Gandara, 1995; Garcia, 2001; Goldenberg, 1996; NAEP, 2000). Latinos also comprise the fastest growing group of students in the public school system Rittenhouse, 1998; U.S. Department of Education, 2001). Many educational scholars report that identity formation, specifically ethnic identity formation, plays an important role in the educational achievement of minority and language minority youth. However, in this body of research the inquiry around ethnic identity has focused mainly on adolescents and young adults Pegg & Plybon, 2005). This study investigated how pre-adolescent bilingual Latino students in Boston and Chicago expressed aspects of their ethnic identity, namely ethnic identification, sense of belonging and attitudes toward their ethnic group. The role of context and heritage language use in the development of ethnic identity for these pre-adolescent bilinguals was examined.Finally, this study examined the relationship between ethnic identity and academic outcomes for these students. When asked about aspects of their lives related to their ethnicity, student responses reflected the context of their everyday experiences. They spoke most often about their families. Similarly, Spanish language use functioned as an important ethnic symbol and as an activity that connected these students to their families. Findings from this study point to heritage language use as an internal psychological dimension of ethnicity—one that may be related to an internal affective aspect of ethnic identity. The Social and linguistic contexts in which students lived and went to school influenced expressions of ethnic identity. Students in the larger, more ethnically heterogeneous neighborhood in Boston expressed more awareness of their ethnicity than did students in the smaller, Mexican-enclave community in Chicago. Further, though studies with older students suggest a relationship between ethnic identity and academic achievement, there were no differences in the academic achievement measure related to expressions of ethnic identity for students in this study.

Embracing the faces at the window: Visual and textual representation of Latino subcultures in the Americas and Pura Belpre award-winning picturebooks (Education Papers posted on March 25th, 2013 )

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Latinos are the largest and fastest growing ethnic minority in America. The Census Bureau also indicates that nearly 7.5 million Latino children are enrolled in U.S. nursery schools, kindergartens, or elementary schools. These children represent a heterogeneous group of people celebrating diverse perspectives, origins, and cultures. Research indicates that it is important for Latino children as well as non-Latino children and educators to encounter accurate and positive representations of the Latino subcultures in childrens literature. Positive and accurate representations of the Latino culture in this literature improve the self-esteem and ethnic identity of Latino children while assisting non-Latino children and educators in developing an appreciation and understanding of the diverse Latino culture. The Americas and Pura Belpre awards are presented to childrens books that exemplify literary quality and authentic portrayal of the Latino culture. Latino and non-Latino children and educators frequently encounter the visual and textual messages embedded in these award-winning picturebooks. An analysis of these picturebooks is necessary to determine the Social and cultural messages they transmit about the Latino subcultures. To discern the Social messages of the picturebooks, this investigation is framed within the quantitative inquiry of visual and textual content analyses, as well as a qualitative inquiry of semiotic analysis. Through a research design based upon visual reader response theories and analyses of past Latino representation in childrens books, these methods of inquiry focus on exposing the overt and subtle messages of Latino representation in the Americas and Pura Belpre picturebooks. Based upon the results of this study, picturebooks winning the Americas and Pura Belpre awards do not represent the Social and cultural mosaic of the Latino people. While some subcultures are overrepresented, such as the Mexican subcultures, others, such as the Cuban and South American subcultures, receive little recognition. Latino characters with physical or mental disabilities and Latino children of mixed race are tremendously underrepresented, while gay and lesbian Latinos are nonexistent in these picturebooks. Future research is needed to discern how Latino children respond to alternative representations of their specific Latino subculture in the Americas and Pura Belpre picturebooks.

Contending with legacy: Stereotype threat, racial identity, and school culture (Education Papers posted on March 23rd, 2013 )

African American and Latino high school students were administered a survey assessing their stereotype threat perceptions concerns of ones academic achievement being stereotypically judged and reflecting poorly on ones race), racial identity Sellers MIBI), school culture perceptions performance versus mastery orientations), intelligence beliefs entity versus malleable), and achievement goals mastery, ability performance, and ego avoidance goals). Relationships among these study variables were assessed to test for mediational and moderational stereotype threat effects and possible solutions for or buffers against those effects. A number of significant findings interrelated these diverse bodies of research around the unified concept of stereotype threat. Results indicate that the nature of the school environment, students goals and intelligence beliefs, and components of their racial identity protect against stereotype threat perceptions. Heightened evaluation and its connection to race emerged as a possible explanation of the complex inter-relationshis found. Implications for stereotype threat research and the academic performance of students of color are discussed.

Constructing a dual language policy in a new immigrant community: Conflicts, contexts, and kids (Education Papers posted on March 23rd, 2013 )

We are currently experiencing the second greatest “wave” of immigration in U.S. history: almost 25% of U.S. students have at least one immigrant parent. This dissertation analyzes the development of educational policy designed for these “new immigrants,” especially how they themselves make sense of bilingual policies and their implementation. This work is a longitudinal case study of the construction of a bilingual, two-way immersion TWI) policy in one suburban/urban school district. Methods included four years of participant observation with immigrant families from Mexico, interviews with policymakers, and analyses of TWI-focused public meetings and reports. Using an interdisciplinary framework from political science, Social psychology, and the study of childhoods, I have extended theories of policy implementation in the interpretive/sense-making tradition. I detail three central findings. In an analysis of the public debate, I found that immigrant voices were mostly absent, but English-dominant parents used their ideas of “what Hispanics want” to persuade policymakers to implement TWI outside of their “community.” In an analysis focused on immigrants sense-making, I found that elder children directly and indirectly shaped families decisions to enroll younger children in TWI. In my final analysis, I demonstrate that parents views of the developing TWI policy reflected the broad goals of such programs bilingualism), while childrens views reflected their school experiences privileging English). I have extended our understanding of the policy implementation process with these foci on the public and developmental nature of such processes. That is, I have explored how policy implementation “develops” a policy; and how “development” within the family shapes how clients understand and, in turn, shape policy. In sum, in each chapter, respectively, I argue that 1) policy implementation is a value-laden, longitudinal process in which public arguments may re-shape the definition of the policy itself; 2) families developmental stages matter for how they approach educational policy; and 3) for parents and children, educational policy is a set of variable, personal meanings derived from their differing development and experiences. I conclude this dissertation with new directions for theories of policy implementation and ideas for improving the realization of novel bilingual policies in particular.

UTEP women kick butt! Development, implementation, and evaluation of a Web-based smoking cessation intervention targeted to Hispanic female college students (Education Papers posted on March 21st, 2013 )

The present research examined the potential of a web-based smoking cessation intervention targeted toward Hispanic female college students to help college age women to quit smoking. Study 1 involved the gathering of focus group data to determine the content and tone of the intervention materials. Study 2 involved a controlled experiment to determine the efficacy of a web-based smoking cessation intervention on the UTEP campus, using measures from the Transtheoretical Model (TTM) to assess outcome. Study 3 involved the qualitative evaluation of the website by examining online survey results, the amount of time spent on each component of the website, and in-depth personal interviews. Women at UTEP did not quit smoking as a result of this intervention, nor were there significant findings regarding the TTM measures. However, the intervention may have helped women in precontemplation progress to the stage of contemplation. The women enjoyed the website and offered comments and criticisms that are discussed in study 3. In all, the intervention group did not read the material, resulting in only minor differences between the experimental and control groups. Future research should discover methods to entice participants to read the intervention material more closely, and perhaps should focus on women who are ready to quit smoking.

Evaluation of the culture-language matrix: A validation study of test performance in monolingual English speaking and bilingual English/Spanish speaking populations (Education Papers posted on March 21st, 2013 )

The overrepresentation of culturally and linguistically diverse students in special Education programs, particularly Hispanics, suggests serious inadequacies in assessment procedures and test interpretation. Hispanics represent, in general, the largest minority group in special Education (National Research Council, 2002). Thus, this increasing problem requires the implementation of alternative procedures to reduce bias and ensure more equitable educational opportunities for Spanish-speaking students. It has been well documented that language and culture play a pivotal role in test performance of bilingual students. However, empirical studies in this domain are limited. In this study, three models were suggested in order to assess the influence of culture and language on test scores. Implications are discussed regarding how the three suggested models show different effects on test performance for the Bilingual English/Spanish (BES) Speaking group and the Monolingual English Speaking (MES) group. Findings support the validity of the Culture and Language Matrix. This researcher also examined the current culture-language classifications against the means obtained from this sample in an attempt to determine the best fit model for the Bilingual English Speaking group (BES). Based on this sample means, an Alternate Model was created suggesting possible modifications for the current classifications of three WISC-III subtests. Implications for school psychologists and recommendations for future research are discussed.

Taming high-stakes anxiety among English language learners: The test anxiety of middle school Hispanic ESL students and understanding the consequences (Education Papers posted on March 20th, 2013 )

This study investigated test anxiety experienced by middle school English as a second language Hispanic learners while taking high-stakes standardized tests. High-stakes standardized assessments usually take place at least once or twice during a school year and are used for making major decisions regarding student Education performance, placement, and school accountability. This study also was designed to determine reoccurring themes in regards to high-stakes testing and test anxiety concerns gathered from teacher and student questionnaires, interviews, and focus groups. Specific attention and consideration was given to the linguistic transfer of both Social and academic second language learning in relationship to the competencies and strategies necessary for the development and practice of successful test-taking skills.