2018 National Symposium of Student Retention Salt Lake City, UT

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Intergenerational Trauma and Student Success: Equity-Based Approaches that MatterTM

Intergenerational trauma (IT) (Lev-Weisel, 2007) negatively affects students, intensifying feelings of incompatibility/inability to succeed. Stereotype threat (Steele, 2010), invalidation (Rendón, 2009), microaggressions (Solórzano, Ceja, & Yosso, 2000), and effects of Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome (DeGruy, 2005) leave students besieged by messages of inadequacy. Equity-based approaches grounded in critical theory illuminate how IT decreases when student experiences are valued rather than abrogated. Understanding effects of IT on first generation/underrepresented students (FG/US) can generate pedagogies, policies, and practices. Invisible, damaging effects of attending colleges built on plantations, sacred grounds of indigenous peoples, or land that was once Mexico must be esteemed through interventions/interpretations of inclusive excellence. Equity-based strategies and collectivist principles including storytelling validate traumas students face through intergenerational and historical transmission, increasing self-efficacy and academic performance (Connolly, 2011; Durham & Webb, 2014; Goodman, 2013). Promoting personal narratives as positive messages supports success through highlighting overlooked abilities to persevere through the unthinkable.

keywords: intergenerational trauma, first generation, underrepresented, counternarratives, student success


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