An article about our Spanish students

“Yo pertenezco aquí”:

Academic Identities, Formal Spanish, and Feelings of Belonging

Dr. Denise Minor published a study that examines the impact that membership in a Spanish language theater and poetry troupe had upon a group of Mexican and Chicano university students in terms of the development of academic identities, feelings of belonging, connections with friends and family, and other factors that correlate with academic perseverance. Also examined was the degree to which students believed that participation in the troupe’s events had improved their ability to employ formal Spanish. Analysis was based upon the results of a two-part written survey taken by ten members and video-taped interviews conducted with five members. Respondents to the written survey reported that membership had positively impacted all of the factors listed above. Data gathered in the interviews supported the findings of the survey. Additionally, the interviewees stated that participation in the troupe’s meetings and presentations had influenced their decisions about their professional goals and their confidence in their ability to reach those goals. The five interviewees were contacted four years after the study to determine educational outcomes. All five had graduated from college and were either high school Spanish teachers or working towards doctorate degrees in Spanish.