Race-reimaged self-determination theory: Elucidating how ethnic studies promotes student identity and learning outcomes using mixed-methods

Francesca López, Norma González, Rosario Hutchings, Giselle Delcid, Crystal Raygoza, Lorenzo López

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Latinx students often experience a lifetime of deficit-based pedagogy. These deficit views are perpetuated in instruction that ignores the depth of their insight and intellect, essentially pushing them out of school. In contrast to assimilationist approaches to instruction that omit and disparage minoritized students through the formal and informal curriculum, ethnic studies is a pedagogical approach centered on affirming students’ identities and nurturing critical consciousness. Recent large scale empirical analyses across various contexts demonstrate important educational benefits of ethnic studies courses for students but have not included the examination of identity, the very mechanism that underlies the theorized effectiveness of ethnic studies. By applying a race-reimaged Self-Determination Theory using a qualitative-dominant sequential explanatory mixed methods design, we elucidate the ways ethnic studies informs learning via students’ motivation and identity. Quantitative findings confirm prior research on SDT, but the qualitative findings extend a race-reimaging of SDT. Students expressed the ways rigorous courses focused on developing an understanding of systems of oppression through critical dialogic engagement with teachers and peers (and materials) can promote critical curiosity, affirm relatedness that considers race/ethnicity explicitly, as well as competence and autonomy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102119
JournalContemporary Educational Psychology
Volume71
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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