Who am I and Who Do I Think Others Say I Am?: A Phenomenological Study of Early Adolescents' Self-Perceptions and Stereotype Consciousness
Date of Award
Doctor of Education in Secondary Education
Nita Paris, Ph.D.
First Committee Member
Megan Adams, Ph.D.
Second Committee Member
Nichole Guillory, Ph.D.
Despite a significant amount of research on stereotype threat, there are few studies that examine middle school students' stereotype awareness, which is a key variable in stereotype threat. In the current study, the researcher provides a literature review of the research on stereotype consciousness and stereotype threat, as well as an explanation of the theoretical frameworks of critical race theory and intersectionality theory. She conducted an interpretive phenomenological study that uses a Who Am I graphic organizer, student narratives, and interviews to examine her sixth-grade students' perceptions of themselves and how they perceive others’ perceptions of them to see their awareness of stereotypes and if those stereotypes might reflect Steele's conception of stereotype threat. Results of the study reveal that these sixth-grade students have a positive self-image and close ties with their families, cultures, and peers. They demonstrated a belief that their parents think well of them, but their peers have a more negative view. They used overwhelmingly positive terms to describe how their teachers and others in the world see them. While they did not explicitly mention stereotypes, they implied an awareness that others viewed them through gendered and raced lenses. As a result, their stereotype awareness could be a mitigating factor in Steele’s conception of stereotype threat for these sixth-graders.
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