Date of Award

Fall October 2011

Access Restriction


Degree Name

Doctorate in Education



School or College

School of Education

First Advisor

Yvette V. Lapayese

Second Advisor

Magaly C. Lavadenz

Third Advisor

Diana M. Limon


Latinas face many challenges within public schools. They are a marginalized group that has struggled to overcome the effects of practices that have created entrenched cycles of poverty and educational failure. The development of a critical consciousness has been proposed as a means of resisting and transcending oppression. Freire (1970) defined conscientização, or critical consciousness, as “learning to perceive social, political, and economic contradictions, and to take action against oppressive elements of reality” (p.19). This study reexamined the development and nature of critical consciousness through the use of critical feminist methodologies. Standpoint theories assisted in the development of counter-stories that challenged androcentric perceptions of consciousness.

This qualitative study examined how some Latina teachers, working with Latina students, were able to transform an after-school club, lunchtime meetings, and a daylong conference into opportunities for Latina students to reexamine their role and position in their family, culture, American society, and develop a critical awareness or consciousness.

What emerged from the findings was an approach used by these particular Latina teachers that elevated the affective domain to footing equal to the intellectual. The participating teachers created a matrix of connection with students that challenged a masculine perception of consciousness. They used socially and culturally located histories and experiences to develop a gendered critical consciousness. What was observed and heard throughout the research process was the unearthing of a consciousness that was decidedly enmeshed in the private arena of the body and identity, in addition to the public domains of politics and economics.