Developing a Critical Consciousness with Elementary Students as A Catalyst for Academic Success

  • Marisol Diaz Stephen F. Austin State University
Keywords: critical consciousness, critical pedagogy, elementary, academic success, Hispanic students, students of Mexican background


Students of Mexican backgrounds have experienced oppressive schooling practices and classroom pedagogies that create academic achievement gaps. This article presents the work of the author, who taught for six years in a Title I elementary school near the United States and Mexico border. Based on an autoethnographic study that investigated the impact of critical pedagogy in the classroom, the author explores the extent to which the pedagogical approach mediated students’ critical consciousness development, resulting in a trajectory of academic success. The study analyzes six years of student work, self-reflection, and the daily routines of the classroom. The findings suggest that the students’ development of critical consciousness catalyzed their critical thinking skills, which they in turn applied to a wide array of academic content, including mathematics, science, and English language arts.