A National Comparative Study on Teaching Latinx Social Studies Topics
Maribel Santiago

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



Michigan State University

Primary Discipline

Social Studies
Latinx students comprise a quarter of the children in the U.S., making them the largest ethnic group in K-12 schools. This presents educators with two urgent needs. The first is preparing educators to teach Latinx students about their contributions to the U.S. to validate their racial/ethnic and cultural identities. The second is ensuring that all students have a greater understanding of the differing experiences within the Latinx diaspora. For example, curricular materials often omit the Indigenous and African roots that account for Latinx racial diversity. This gives the impression that Latinxs are a monolith, ignoring how some have benefited from being designated White, while others are discriminated for their Indigenous and African ancestry. In an effort to present a more nuanced understanding of Latinidad, this study focuses on 12 teachers who, through previous surveys and interviews, were identified as integrating Latinx social studies into their classrooms. Comparing teacher observations in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Orange County (Florida), this project analyzes how these educators integrate Latinx topics into their social studies classrooms. These school districts represent the three largest Latinx-origin groups in the U.S.: Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and Cubans, allowing for comparisons on how educators address regional and Latinx intra-group differences. This study is the first large-scale comparative study on Latinx social studies with an aim to inform practice at a national level. This work will establish a foundation for understanding the content and strategies social studies educators� should employ in teaching the complex racial/ethnic realities of Latinxs.
About Maribel Santiago
Dr. Maribel Santiago is currently an Assistant Professor in the College of Education at the University of Washington. She specializes in the teaching and learning of race/ethnicity in K-12 history classrooms, specifically how people in the U.S. collectively remember the expereinces of communities of color, and the consequences of such depictions. Her current work centers on the production and consumption of Latinx social studies: what students, policy makers, and educators learn about Latinx communities, and how they engage in mediated actions to conceptualize Latinx experiences. Dr. Santiago leads the History TALLER (pronounced tah-y?r) research group dedicated to exploring the Teaching And Learning of Language, Ethnicity, and Race (TALLER). Dr. Santiago earned a Ph.D. in History/Social Studies Education and an M.A. in History, both from Stanford University. She also received a M.Ed. and B.A.s in History and Chicana/o Studies from UCLA. Dr. Santiago was the 2016 recipient of the National Council of the Social Studies Larry Metcalf Exemplary Dissertation Award. Her work has been published in Theory & Research in Social Education, Cognition and Instruction, and other venues. Dr. Santiago will join the College of Education at the University of Washington, Seattle in January 2020.

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