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ERIC Number: ED539017
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 312
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-2672-1649-6
Adult Latino College Students: Experiencias y la Educacion
Garza, Ana Lisa
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Texas State University - San Marcos
The study aimed to gain a better understanding of the learning experiences of adult Latino college students, as described directly in their own voices. The study was guided by two research questions: RQ1: "How do adult Latinos describe their undergraduate college learning experiences?" and RQ2: "How do culture, gender, and ethnic identity affect or influence their college learning experiences?" Ten participants (five males, five females) were selected using criteria-based purposeful sampling. Specific criteria required that participants: (a) were at least 30 years of age at the time of the study; (b) considered themselves to be current students; (c) had completed at least two prior semesters at Texas State at the time of the study; and (d) self-identified as either Mexican American or Mexican National (citizen of Mexico). Information for this qualitative case study was collected using three planned methods: (1) two informal platicas (conversations); (2) written reflective stories in response to critical incident prompts prepared by the selected participants as a follow-up to the initial conversation; and (3) meaningful personal artifacts that were relevant and valuable to the participants in their pursuit of their degrees. One additional unanticipated data source was email correspondence with the participants. The findings presented their personal stories and subsequently revealed seven overarching themes relative to RQI: overarching feelings and emotions experienced, personal challenges and struggles faced, external demands and responsibilities, personal motivations for success, academic culture of Texas State, involvement in the campus community, and utilizing available student support services. The four themes identified for RQ2 were: early influences on educational aspirations, the effects of machismo, biculturalism, and conflicting identities. Within the frameworks of Donaldson and Graham's (1999) theory of connecting classrooms, Solorzano and Delgado Bernal's (2001) transformational resistance theory, and Yosso's (2005) community cultural wealth, the research provided evidence to allow for several conclusions to be drawn from the findings. First and foremost, the participants clearly demonstrate that they have all experienced challenges and struggles that have greatly impacted their education. Also, even though they had all attempted college immediately after high school and had subsequently stopped out, they never gave up on the idea of a college degree. Through their own cultural wealth, they have consistently resisted cultural, institutional, structural, and societal norms and expectations that they were faced with in their quest for success. Second, these adult Latino students demonstrated that they have had to deal with many conflicting and competing emotions as they make their way through college. Third, the findings further indicate that the study participants continue to grapple with who they were in the past and what is expected of them based on their cultural influences, as well as who they are becoming today, and how to handle these dual expectations as they continue their educations. All of the findings relative to their culture, gender, and ethnic identities indicate that the study participants are very aware of the stereotypical perceptions regarding Latinos and that through their own forms of capital, they are consciously trying to counter them. It is because of these same experiences that they are able to consciously decide that they want more and better options in their lives for themselves, their families, and their community and it is clear that they will do whatever they need to in order to make sure that they can achieve this. The findings further suggest that there are a number of institutional actions that can be taken by faculty and administrators to create an environment that is supportive and welcoming to this ever-expanding college student group. It is also evident that there is much more to learn about adult Latinos as college students in an effort to fill an obvious gap in the scholarly research regarding this particular student group. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Texas