Dissertation

Social reproduction in the community college classroom

The purpose of this qualitative study was to research how social reproduction perpetuates and replicates the status quo in the community college classroom, especially as perceived by first-generation students. The study investigated two questions: How is social reproduction enacted in the community college classroom? How do firstgeneration students perceive social reproduction in the community college classroom? These questions are important because the existent research and literature on Social Reproduction Theory, Critical Race Theory, and Critical Whiteness Studies while foundational to this study do not adequately address the impact of social reproduction on first-generation community college students. Using a qualitative, constant-comparative approach (Creswell, 2014; Plano Clark & Creswell, 2008), three student focus groups with eight individual student participants, interviews with three faculty, nine class observations, and a review of syllabi resulted in the identification of five key findings. The five key findings that emerged are: the experiences and challenges of first-generation college students; the importance of care, which was identified by students as a critical element in student success; faculty communication of values, which is framed through whiteness and meritocracy; faculty perception of students compared to student self-perception; and authority and privilege as salient elements of student-teacher interactions. Implications of the research include: the need for further research, providing intentional professional development centered on authentic care and examination of privilege; address the areas of faculty pedagogy, supporting the inclusion of culturally sustaining pedagogy and addressing social justice issues in instruction and institutions; changing hiring practices to create a more diverse faculty and staff composition; and reforming institutional structures to create collaborative, supportive, inclusive, and equitable institutions.

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