Publication Date


DOI (Digital Object Identifier)



Leadership and Higher Education


Doctor of Education (Ed.D)

Dissertation Chair

Jose W. Lalas Ph.D

Committee Members

Barbra Flores, Ph.D.

Brian Charest, Ph.D.


critical hope, hope gap, poverty, paradigm, engagement, social justice, equity


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Curriculum and Instruction | Educational Leadership | Elementary and Middle and Secondary Education Administration | Higher Education Administration | Humane Education | Junior High, Intermediate, Middle School Education and Teaching | Liberal Studies | Other Teacher Education and Professional Development | Secondary Education | Secondary Education and Teaching | Urban Education


The purpose of this dissertation was to develop pedagogy of “Critical Hope” with the aim of creating professional development experiences for educators, administrators, and policymakers who desire to infuse and adopt this pedagogy. Working in trauma-sensitive urban schools for the past 10 years steered the researcher to challenge how systemic oppression in society comfortably and continuously perpetrates the “hope gap” in low-income students, which framed the conceptual framework and the imperative work of “Critical Hope.” The findings revealed the manifestations of Critical Hope in teachers’ paradigm that influence their pedagogy and classroom practices. In this study, evidence of hope has been observed and identified in: (1) teachers’ vocabulary expressions and written directions that connect, connote, or imply valuing and trusting optimistic aspirations to succeed, (2) teachers’ written tasks and assignments that prompt critical thinking and aspirations to be caring, and (3) teachers’ lesson plans that may elicit a sense of community and humanizing practices. A qualitative methodological approach using narrative inquiry was selected to seek answers to the research questions used to study, understand, and reconstruct the lived experiences of 10 teachers in the realm of practice with hope as the forum, while delving into conceptual exploration. Critical Hope paradigm-pedagogy informs teachers, administrators, and policy makers how to work effectively with children of poverty whose voices and experiences have been traditionally and historically silenced, or disregarded in the current system of education. Subsequently, other incidental findings revealed the danger and troubling ways common teaching practices unintentionally contribute to hopelessness.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.