This Project MALES research brief focuses on acknowledging the unique experiences of Chicano/Latino boys and examining the formulation of their post-secondary aspirations. This study uses four interrelated theoretical perspectives to guide the understanding of how Chicano/Latino middle school boys may formulate their post-secondary aspirations: Bandura’s (1977 social cognitive theory, Bourdieu’s (1983) social and cultural capital theory, and Yosso’s (2005) community cultural wealth model. Taken together, these theoretical perspectives describe the multi-faceted nature of Chicano/Latino middle school boy’s post-secondary aspirations development. The qualitative study referenced in this brief takes place at Dolores Middle School (DMS, pseudonym), located in a historically white community with a recent influx of Latino immigrants in the Pacific Northwest. The study examined the aspirational development of 11 Chicano/Latino boys derived from a representative sample of DMS 8th grade Chicano/Latino students who participated in a larger year and a half ethnographic study regarding their socialization. The following research questions are what guided this study: 1) How do Latino middle school students formulate their college and career aspirations? What obstacles or resources, if any, do they perceive as potentially limiting or supporting their success? 2) What individuals and experiences influence their early aspirations? How do these individuals shape students’ aspirations?
Findings from this paper highlight the need to focus on how students formulate their career plans in earlier stages of the pipeline and the significance that having sources of information can have on the development of future aspirations. In examining these early career decisions and factors that relate to choice can provide insight for school counselors who seek to promote the academic and career development of all students (Akos, Lambie, Milsom & Gilbert, 2007). As practitioners continue to search for ways to keep students engaged through different segments, exposing students to college culture and providing them with information can make the path to college and careers more clear and allow them to remain hopeful about their futures. Providing students with information about college and different careers early, can allow students to see the feasibility of pursuing certain careers and allow them to maintain high aspirations for the future.
For Dr. Martinez’s full research brief click here
For the rest of our brief series click here