“Whoa. You Speak Mexican?”: Latina/o High School Students’ Sense of Belonging in Advanced Placement and Honors Classes

“Whoa. You Speak Mexican?”: Latina/o High School Students’ Sense of Belonging in Advanced Placement and Honors Classes

Pages 109-131 | Published online: 23 Apr 2019
 
 
 

This qualitative study explored Latina/o students’ sense of belonging in majority White and Asian Advanced Placement (AP) and honors classes in a diverse suburban high school. Using self-determination theory as a framework, I focused on three aspects of sense of belonging: social belonging, teacher–student relationships, and academic belonging. Ten Latina/o tenth- and eleventh-grade students participated in classroom observations, guided journaling sessions, and interviews to capture their sense of belonging in AP and honors classes. Although all of the participants expressed a lack of sense of belonging, they reported that they leveraged their experiences to motivate themselves, increase their engagement, and build resilience.


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