Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

You are here


SergioDiaz's picture

I have been wrestling with questions of identity and the role it has in education. I am particularly interested in the development of identity in children as they maneuver their way through the education system. In my placement in a pre-school with a majority of Latin@ students, many of whom come into the pre-school only knowing Spanish, I find something problematic in the fact that the school district demands students to learn English only and asks parents to speak only English at home. Volunteering at another school with a similar demographic but an older age group, I have seen that in only 3 years identity becomes problematized among students. The anti-Spanish sentiment within the education system becomes internalized and instead of celebrating this identity, students seem to be reluctant to accept it. I would like to research ways in which this conflicting identity could be avoided without compromising effective education. There are many ways to approach this problem, but I hope that through exploring different educational theories and the experiences of students in these situations I can offer an insight into an effective education practice.


jccohen's picture


This is a very important topic, obviously, and also quite large.  Do you have a sense about where you might want to focus?  For example, you could look closely at younger or older kids, or at the role of language in this school-and-identity question...  And will you pursue this through both library/internet and interview research?  Sonia Nieto has done some classic work in this field and is worth having a look at, and then there's quite a bit out there that's more recent; you could start with a few key journals like Harvard Ed Review and Anthropology in Education Quarterly, and see what catches you and what particular focus you might want to pursue...  And in terms of interviews, you could talk with educators and/or you could talk with children and/or older students (including college age) about their experiences of this issue.