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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Spatiality of Schooling: A Quest for Equitable Classrooms and High Expectations for Low-Income Students of Color


A significant missing link in the work of school reform is understanding how students relate with learning spaces and their teachers' beliefs to harness a positive self-concept of academic achievement. This article draws from the traditions of spatiality, educational studies, and the concept of social identity contingency to generate new ways to understand how students interpret and experience their teachers' expectations for learning. Based on a multiple case studies design of two urban classrooms, the researchers discovered the spatial behaviors of students and teachers are greatly influenced by the expectations they had of each other, and by extension, the spatial arrangement of learning opportunities as manifestations of their expectations in learning contexts. In effect, this study aims to shed light on the importance of co-creating classroom spaces with students of color that take into account its multiple dimensions and the salience of teachers' expectations for learning.

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