Date of Award

Summer 8-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Dr. Whitney McIntyre Miller

Second Advisor

Dr. Kris Tunac De Pedro

Third Advisor

Dr. Dana M. Stachowiak


Aligned with informed constructivist grounded theory (Charmaz, 2014), I sought to understand elementary teachers’ collaborative engagement with gender-focused inclusive critical education (Page, 2017). Specifically, I sought to learn from seven elementary educators’ reflections upon their work the ways in which they engaged with gender-focused inclusive critical education within their school sites, especially alongside their students, other stakeholders, and their social ecosystem. Across this three-year longitudinal study, at two research sites in urban districts of California, 50 interviews were concurrently collected and analyzed in keeping with constructivist grounded theory methodology and data analysis methods (Charmaz, 2014). To understand this social phenomenon, an interpretive constructivist grounded theory and model, constructing critical change, emerged from this study, offering an understanding of teachers’ dynamic engagement with gender-focused inclusive critical education.

Constructing critical change theory suggests that the elementary teachers are ignited to engage with gender-focused inclusive critical education in part by their foundational trust in the human capacity to grow, shift, and transform. Elementary teachers engage in the work of gender-focused inclusive critical education alongside their students and others around them, actively model being critically inclusive in myriad ways, work as catalysts of critical change seeking more inclusivity and justice within their social ecosystems, and experience ongoing personal transformation and professional growth throughout their work.

Learnings gained from this inquiry are highly contextual and, therefore, are inherently offered to the educational community and other stakeholders as possibilities for action, transferable to similar social contexts in other elementary school settings. The implications of this study suggest the importance of ongoing support of teachers working together to effect change within their school ecosystems, supporting their actions toward growing their critical inclusivity within their classroom settings alongside their students as well as their actions for change within their school culture. Furthermore, this study illustrates that educators and other stakeholders seeking to create more inclusive, just, and humanizing elementary experiences for their students can privilege their engagement with gender-focused inclusive critical education to support the transformation of culture, structures, practices, relationships, and self within their social ecosystem.

Keywords: Gender-focused inclusive critical education

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Available for download on Wednesday, January 14, 2026