Teaching for Empowerment and Excellence: The Transformative Potential of Teacher Expectations in an Urban Latina/o Classroom

Daniel Liou, Leticia Rojas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


The researchers conducted a study to gather information about one Chicano teacher’s disposition and perception of high expectations for his Latina/o students and their opportunities to learn. Findings of this paper demonstrate the ways in which institutional memory such as an ethnic studies college education as well as this teacher’s politicization as a Chicano male informed his social justice commitment and effectiveness as a teacher. Findings point to key elements of his expectations of students that include academic rigor, an empowering curriculum, caring relationships, and social capital vis-à-vis community cultural wealth. Additional evidence revealed this Chicano teacher’s pedagogy as caring-oriented, and one that actively counteracts the dominant test-prep narrative that tends to alienate Latina/o students from a socially just education. What emerges from this paper is the teacher’s theory of transformative expectations of students—a theory that articulates learning conditions conducive to promoting empowerment and excellence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournalUrban Review
StateAccepted/In press - May 17 2016



  • College readiness
  • Critical pedagogy
  • Ethnic studies in education
  • Latino education
  • Teacher activism
  • Teacher expectations
  • Urban education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urban Studies

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