University of Illinois at Chicago

Youth's Digital Practices, Intersectional Identities, and Studenthoods in Co-Constructed Third Spaces

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posted on 2022-08-01, 00:00 authored by Patricia M Delacruz
The historic shutdown of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic surfaced perennial questions around what it means to “do school.” Despite education research that recognizes youth as dynamic learners across digital and physical contexts, schools are still organized around hegemonic and inequitable school structures (Collins, 2019; Ladson-Billings, 2006). This study explored the co-construction of a digital Third Space (Gutiérrez, Rymes & Larson, 1995) between two youth from nondominant communities and their previous reading teacher, through Zoom, outside of instructional time. This collective case study (Creswell & Poth, 2018) used the analytic frame of Bakhtin’s (1981) chronotope (time-space) to understand students’ identities through multiple time-space configurations. Three findings developed from the data. First, students used their digital practices to co-construct a Third Space with their teacher that surfaced their lived intersectional identities and developing academic, institutional, and intellectual identities. Secondly, the Third Space chronotope fostered the visibility of our collective intersectional identities, informing the humanizing pedagogy of the teacher-researcher. Finally, this Third Space operated on the historicity and trust of the student-teacher relationships that served the youth’s studenthoods – the doing and being involved in their broader journey through the institution of school. This research has implications for teachers’ perceptions of student-teacher relationships and teacher praxis of a humanizing pedagogy. This dissertation contributes to the study of digital learning spaces, as well as the examination of the time-space organization of schools and classrooms, particularly in support of its students from nondominant backgrounds, who are not seen and heard consistently across their school journeys.



Morales, Zitlali


Morales, Zitlali


Curriculum and Instruction

Degree Grantor

University of Illinois at Chicago

Degree Level

  • Doctoral

Degree name

PhD, Doctor of Philosophy

Committee Member

Baker-Doyle, Kira Lam, Wan Shun Eva Phillips, Nathan Woodard, Rebecca

Submitted date

August 2022

Thesis type



  • en

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