Date of Award


Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Education, PhD


School of Educational Studies

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Gilda Ochoa

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Antonia Darder

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

William Perez

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2020 Jorge López


Critical Literacy, Ethnic Studies, High School Teaching Curriculum, Humanizing Pedagogy, Latinx Chicanx, Testimonio

Subject Categories

Ethnic Studies | Secondary Education


In this dissertation, I draw on the experiential knowledge of students in a high school ethnic studies classroom at Eastside High School in Los Angeles to distill concrete lessons for educators to bring humanizing teaching approaches the classroom, teacher-student relationships, and their students’ lives. Using a methodological approach grounded in testimonios , pláticas , and encuentros , and drawing on my seventeen years of ethnic studies-informed classroom teaching experience, I argue that the humanizing pedagogical project is an ongoing process—one that is at times contested and contradictory and one that is fundamentally grounded in reciprocity, relationality, and vulnerability. Building on the narrative and experiential data and theorizations of my former students, I conceptualize humanizing pedagogy in an ethnic studies classroom as a project that sits on three critical pillars: trust, dialogue, and literacy. By building and maintaining trust, engaging in meaningful dialogue, and pushing students to be critical readers of the world around them, teachers can obliterate the confines of the classroom and build an intimate learning space made up of students, their lives, their families, and the worlds that matter most to them.