Pygmalion in the ’hood Reflecting on Enhancing Job Interview Performance at an Urban Community College

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John Socas


Self-presenting effectively at job interviews presents significant challenges for students at urban community colleges, especially those identified as low-income Black and Latinx. Current practices provide minimal support, if any, for enhancing the self-presentation of these students at job interviews. Too often, instead, students simply do not perform well, fail to achieve their job objectives, and remain marginalized by society. This article describes the experiences of urban community college students involved in an innovative effort to enhance their performance in job interviews. This innovative approach features identity work and highlights the value of role play and improvisation in a range of dramatic activities. It utilizes insights gained from research into Freirian conscientization, critical pedagogy, and critical race theories as well as participatory action research (PAR) methodology. This study highlights the eloquent voices and dramatic concerns of the students involved in two vignettes, “Acting White” and “Acting Phony,” expressing the plight of these students. Providing insights for teachers, the article reviews identity work to facilitate successful self-presentation conducted by a wide range of educators dealing with similar challenges involving racial and ethnic minorities. Concluding observations are presented and future debate and research is encouraged.  


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Socas, J. (2021). Pygmalion in the ’hood: Reflecting on Enhancing Job Interview Performance at an Urban Community College. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 21(3).
Reflective Essay