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Case study of Latino/a learners' school-based learning experiences in a suburban public school district

Walker, Lakrisa Nichelle

This qualitative case study explores seven multilingual Latino/a students' experiences of school-based learning in a suburban public school. The purpose of this study is to understand their learning resources and needs as well as examine the role race plays. Data collection includes classroom observations, two semi-structured individual interviews, a focus group interview, and a writing or drawing prompt. Using hermeneutic inquiry and a Latino Critical Theory (LatCrit) framework, two readings are presented for each, individual participant, and then a cross-case analysis in the form of organized themes is presented. The first reading is interpretive and is meant to convey the participants' experiential accounts. The second reading is critical and sought embedded influences that were not readily apparent (Woodbrooks, 1991). The application of LatCrit also offers counterstories to contribute to the centrality of the experiences of Latino/a students. Interpretations of the data provide insights into the participants' lived experiences, suggesting that school was a contested space in which interplay between the contextual constraints of schooling and human agency occurred. Race served to empower participants to enact agency and at other times race plays a role by constraining participants. Their school-based learning experiences were met with a continual negotiation of identity expression.