Examining issues of identity and school success among Latina/o high school students in a mariachi band
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This qualitative study explores the experiences of Latina/o students in a high school mariachi and how they affect success in school during the course of a year and a half. The main research question is “how does mariachi membership influences ethnic cultural identity perception and schooling experiences for a group of Latina/o high school students?” The study is based on a qualitative research design, incorporating methods from ethnography and case study research and will rely on a sociocultural perspective on identity (Vygotsky, 1978, Holland et. al, 1998, Holland & Lachicotte, 2005) and Chicana feminist theory (Delgado Bernal, 1998) to illuminate the voices of the students and their experiences of mestizaje (Anzaldúa, 1987), or navigating between two cultures. Observations, field notes and ethnographic interviews containing descriptive and structural questions were conducted to understand how mariachi membership influences ethnic cultural identity perception and schooling experiences for a group of eleven Latina/o high school students. The interviews included students from age fourteen to seventeen, the mariachi director and assistant director, and the principal of the high school. Six of the eleven students interviewed participated in follow-up interviews and a focus group, and their experiences will be highlighted in this study.