THE MAKING AND UNMAKING OF LATINO PRE-SERVICE TEACHERS:
SOCIAL AND ACADEMIC EXPERIENCES AND SITES OF TENSION IN A
BILINGUAL TEACHER PREPARATION PROGRAM
Christina Bemal Sati
B.A., Metropolitan State College of Denver, 1980
M. A., University of Colorado, Denver, 1984
Ed. S., University of Colorado, Denver, 1999
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
Educational Leadership and Innovation
2005 by Christina Bemal Sati
All rights reserved
This thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy
Christina Bernal Sati
Has been approved
Bernal Sati, Christina (Ph.D., Educational Leadership and Innovation)
The Making and Unmaking of Latino Pre-Service Teachers: Social and Academic
Experiences and Sites of Tension in a Bilingual Teacher Preparation Program
Thesis directed by Associate Professor, Sally Nathenson-Mejia and Full Professor,
This qualitative study examined the experiences of six Latino pre-
service teachers and described the sites of academic and social tension
they negotiated as they progressed through a bilingual elementary
teacher preparation program. Woven into these experiences were sites
that contributed towards making or unmaking the participants
ideologies of what it means to be a bilingual teacher by investigating
the social and academic sites that promoted, supported, or inhibited
their ethnic, cultural, and linguistic ideologies about bilingual
teaching. The use of reproduction and border crossing theories
provided the lens for examining and describing their experiences in
these sites. Participants were the first in their families to graduate from
college and were paraprofessionals in local school districts. Five
sources of data were used in this study: a demographic survey, two
focus groups, six individual interviews, visual representations, and
institutional documents. The findings revealed that participants
negotiated social and academic tensions in six sites that challenged or
affirmed their identities as future bilingual teachers. The findings
provided glimpses into ways that Latino pre-service teachers
integrated their college, work, and individual experiences and
converted these experiences into social and academic capital for
themselves and their families. Key themes that influenced their
ideologies as pre-service teachers were: their schooling experiences,
minority membership, role as paraprofessionals, experiences in the
teacher preparation program, presence of caring individuals, and their
ideologies regarding bilingual teachers. This study added to the
literature as it relates to Latino pre-service teacher preparation and
echoed the complexity of preparing culturally responsive teachers in
culturally non-responsive settings. The information from this study
may enable policy makers, colleges, and universities to be more aware
of the social, cultural, and academic challenges that non-traditional
students, specifically Latinos, face when they enter the teaching field
through alternative pathways.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis. I recommend
Christina Bernal Sati
I dedicate this thesis to my family and relatives. To my mother, Eliza, Mom,
thank you for being my first teacher and having faith in me. This gave me the ability
to educate myself. To my Father, Richard, who taught me to question and resist
mistreatment, yet you encouraged my ambitions. Daddy I miss you.
To my brothers and sisters: Lionel, Gloria, Alma, and Alan who kept me
grounded and connected to who I am and what I should be doing by reminding me
and showing interest in my dang long homework assignment.
To my daughter, Celeste, you are my friend, confidante, and source of
comfort. You helped me through writers block and challenged me. I love you.
To my Padrinos, Aunt Virginia, and Uncle Abe: You have been my guardians
and mentors who modeled the virtues of our rich cultural heritage. Auntie Virgie, you
are the matriarch of our family and inspire deep respect. To my Uncle Abe, who
modeled equity, integrity, and respect through our conversations. God Bless You.
My life would not be the same without my Aunt Anita and Uncles Reuben and
Dave. All of you are so generous and I am proud to share the same last name with
such incredible role models and with my cousins. I am proud of my cousins and their
families because they are great parents and have high expectations for their kids and
grandkids because they value education and the cultural values.
To my nieces and nephews, Josephine, Tiffany, Carla, Antonio, and Lorita: I
pray that every one of you reach your goals and that perhaps my story helps you see
the value of education and the ways it can improve your lives.
With Gods help and the wisdom of Grandpa Perfecto and Grandma Dora, we
have been a strong, extended family. Our humble roots, strong ambitions, Hispanic
temperaments, and Bemal sense of humor are their legacy. These gifts accompanied
me through this doctoral process.
POCO A POCO SI DIOS QUIERE
My deepest gratitude to my advisors and co-chairs, Kathy Escamilla and Sally
Nathenson-Mejia, I am extremely thankful for your patience, guidance, critical
conversations, and high expectations. Both of you made this journey an example of
culturally responsive teaching and learning.
Kathy, from the beginning, you modeled cultural respect, scholarly thinking,
and made me believe I could complete this. I deeply admire your abilities and hope to
emulate the courage and conviction you possess.
Sally, your acknowledgement of my abilities as a bilingual educator and as a
doctoral student was a tremendous influence. Your gentle ability to help me organize
and focus my thinking made this dissertation a reality.
Both of you have served as role models in my personal and professional lives,
making bilingual education more than social justice but a humane and respectful tool
for educating students.
Honorine, I am thankful for your encouragement. Your affirmation of my
ideas and abilities encouraged the importance of my study at a difficult time of my
life. While I was in the crossroads, your gentle nudging determined my future.
Lorenso, your friendship and advocacy as a peer and mentor has been a
constant in my life. Your positive attitude and willingness to serve others has been a
prime example of what can be accomplished when others believe in you.
Chuck, you saw potential in me that I did not see in myself and introduced me
to the college setting. Your confidence in my abilities to share my knowledge and
skills about bilingual education to pre-service teachers led me to believe I could
succeed in a university setting.
To the individuals in this study, all six of you and the others in the CBETT
project, I admire the courage and tenacity you displayed while balancing multiple
responsibilities in order to reach your goals. You have taught me the value of faith
and encouragement. I hope I gave as much to all of you as you have given me.
Silvana, my dissertation partner, who shared numerous nights and weekends
with me, writing, talking, discussing, crying about the scary, and at times, exciting
process that we chose to embark upon. Your ability to delve, focus, and persist are
incredible gifts. No words describe the support and admiration I have for you. Our
friendship is invaluable.
Helen, Diane, and Maria Uribe who were a part of my circle of caring friends
and who shared the fear of writing a dissertation and being a doctoral student. Your
help, concern, and motivation were integral to my ability to persist through this
My dear friend Bobbi, thank you for your support and willingness to listen to
me. Your wisdom, insight, and dedication to Latino and non-traditional students made
My deepest gratitude to the staff of Literacy and Language Support Services
with the Boulder Valley Public Schools: Jorge Garcia, Alejandra, Marta, Maria, Tiaa,
Jennifer, Karen, Patricia, Marilyn, Ema, Ivy, Catalina, liana, Mim, and my colleagues
in the equity leadership team. Your constant understanding, concern, and support
served to lessen the stress, making the process more manageable.
Osama, my husband, you gave me the time, space and understanding to work
on this project so that we could continue on our dreams for each other.
Evolution of Bilingual Education............................4
Issues Affecting Teacher Preparation........................6
Legislation Influencing Teacher Preparation............7
Role of Colleges and Universities.....................12
Racism And The Need For Culturally Responsive Teacher
Recruitment of Minorities Into Teacher Education......15
Teacher Shortages and Issues in Colorado..............16
Teacher Preparation in Colorado.......................17
Career Ladder Teacher Training Projects...............18
Purpose of the Study.........................................21
Significance of the Study....................................22
Theoretical and Conceptual Frameworks........................22
Social and Cultural Reproduction and
Making and Unmaking....................................32
Sites of Tension.......................................36
2. LITERATURE REVIEW.............................................43
Part I: Related Studies in Cultural Production and Reproduction.... 44
Mass Schooling in France and the United States.........47
Part II: Related Studies on Latinos in College...............48
Part III: What Teachers Need To Know and Do..................50
Teacher Preparation................................... 50
Structure of Teacher Education Courses.................53
Culturally Responsive Teacher Preparation..............54
Part IV: What Bilingual Teachers Need to Know and Have........59
Bilingual Teacher Preparation...........................60
Standards for Bilingual/Multicultural Teachers..........62
Bilingual Teacher Preparation Programs: Sites of
Alternative /Emergency Licensure........................68
Alternative Projects: Foreign Trained Teachers..........70
Part V: Models of Teacher Preparation For Bilingual/ESL
Summary and Conclusion........................................77
Approach and Rationale........................................80
Overview of the Methodology...................................82
Description of the Participants...............................85
Career Ladder Programs........................................86
Course of Study-Associates Degree.....................89
Course of Study- Bachelors Degree.....................91
Data Management and Collection..............................94
Focus Group Interviews................................98
Focus Group and Individual Interviews Analysis.......105
Visual Representations Analysis......................108
4. GENERAL FINDINGS............................................110
Description of Participants................................Ill
5. FINDINGS: RESEARCH QUESTION 1............................135
Social and Academic Tensions...........................135
Sites of Tension..................................136
Social Tensions: Family, Individual, and Project..136
6. FINDINGS: RESEARCH QUESTION 2............................149
7. FINDINGS: RESEARCH QUESTION 3............................158
Lack of Role Models...............................161
Understanding Mexican Identity.........................167
Understanding Chicano Identity.........................168
Affirmation of Female Latina...........................169
Role As Paraprofessional.....................................172
Experiences and Individuals in the Workplace...........173
Teacher Preparation Program..................................179
Cohort as Caring Individuals...........................187
Caring Individuals In Other Sites Of Tension...........189
Bilingual Ideology About Teachers and Teaching...............195
Characteristics of Bilingual Teachers as Unmaking......195
Characteristics of Bilingual Teachers As Making........197
Discussion by Sites of Tension.........................207
Discussion by Research Questions.......................210
Where They Are Now.............................223
A. INVITATION TO PARTICIPANTS...................233
B. ASSOCIATES DEGREE COURSE PATH................235
C. BACHELORS DEGREE COLLEGE COURSE PATH.........237
D. DEMOGRAPHIC SURVEY...........................242
E. FOCUS GROUP INTERVIEW PROTOCOL...............245
F. INDIVIDUAL INTERVIEW PROTOCOL................249
G. INFORMED CONSENT FORM........................252
4.1 Paloma- Chart 1......................................................120
4.2 Paloma-Chart 2......................................................121
4.3 Paloma-Excerpt From Chart 2........................................121
4.4 Marta- Chart 1......................................................123
4.5 Marta-Chart 2.......................................................123
4.6 Lupita- Chart 1.....................................................125
4.7 Lupita- Chart 2.....................................................125
4.8 Lupe- Chart 1.......................................................127
4.9 Lupe- Chart 2.......................................................127
4.10 Danette- Chart 1...................................................129
4.11 Danette- Chart 2...................................................130
4.12 Danette- Chart 3...................................................130
4.13 Queta- Chart 1.....................................................132
4.14 Queta-Chart 2......................................................133
3.1 Associates Degree Course Path........................................90
3.2 Course Requirements For Bilingual Pre-service Teachers..............93
3.3 Excerpt From The Demographic Survey.................................98
4.1 Self Reported Demographic Data For Participants......................113
4.2 Academic Course Path Completed By Participants......................115
4.3 Academic Summary.....................................................118
5.1 Social And Academic Tensions.........................................148
This chapter provides a brief historical overview of early schooling in the
United States and discusses how the process of schooling has promoted and
reproduced social inequities that affected minority groups, specifically Latinos. The
chapter continues with a brief discussion of bilingual education before setting the
backdrop of the complex issues that affect the preparation of bilingual pre-service
Research has described ways in which schools reproduce inequalities in the
larger society and have served as mirrors of society (Althusser, 1971; Bowles &
Gintis, 1976). Research has further described how schools became sites of cultural
reproduction because they reproduced inequities in the larger society (Bourdieu &
Passeron, 1990; Giroux, 1983). Examples of how society has mirrored and
reproduced inequities are exemplified by the role of secondary schooling in the
United States and of schooling in the Southwestern United States. The selective
schooling of individuals in the United States during 1870s offered a classical, liberal
education to a small number of White Anglo Protestant middle and upper class boys
(Trow, 1961). These same boys often continued on to college. Principals and head
masters who were products of the elite colleges ran the elite academies. However, the
ending of the Civil War in 1865, triggered the need for a change of the occupational
structures of the agrarian society to that of bureaucratic organizations, requiring
white-collar employees to possess more than an elementary education. The process of
educating only the males of the elite class was required to change in order to meet the
needs of public schooling for the masses.
Meanwhile, when taking a more focused and historical perspective in the
Southwest, Anglo domination treated the Mexicanos living in the Southwest as a
conquered, inferior race (San Miguel & Valencia, 1998). Although the purpose of
schooling intended to assimilate and socialize immigrant children, this was not the
case for Mexican children already living in the Southwest. As early as 1892, Mexican
children were denied entrance into public schools (Acuna, 2004). The religious
concept of Manifest Destiny further influenced the conflict between Mexican
Americans and European Americans in the 1820s and 1830s promoting inequalities in
the Southwest (Ingersoll, 1996). Article IX of The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo,
signed on February 2,1848, guaranteed Mexicans the enjoyment of all the rights of
citizens (Acuna, 2004, p. 57), yet created a new U.S. minority: American citizens of
Mexican descent (Anzaldua, 1999). Segregation through inferior education reflected
and maintained the social inferiority of Mexicans (Acuna, 2004, p. 176).
Similarly, Smith and Foley (1975) in their historical study of the process of
schooling in operation from 1930-1969 in Texas found that it was controlled by
Whites and dedicated to Americanizing the Mexicans. This educational model
fostered cultural assimilation and the use of Spanish was forbidden. Schools assumed
the task of transforming the cultural identities of these perceived foreigners (San
Miguel & Valencia, 2998). Efforts to replace the Spanish language, culture, and
traditions of the individuals originally living there, were the prime goals of the
government and education. As a result, schools prompted by segregation, national
policy, and hegemonic class structures utilized subtractive approaches to situate
language, culture, and socio-economic status through Americanization1 2 classes, thus
reproducing the inequalities and class structures in society (Acuna, 2004; San Miguel
& Valencia, 1998). Therefore, reproduction of inequities in education for Latinos ,
has been to prepare them to work and return to the same social and economic forces
of oppression that they were bom into (Althusser, 1971; Bowles & Gintis, 1976;
1 After The Treaty of Guadalupe, Americanization classes were sponsored by the church and government in
the Southwest to convert Mexicans (Latinos) who were already living there to become civilized Americans.
2 Although the government uses the term Hispanic, many prefer the term Latino since Hispanic refers to
those whose origins may have been from Spain. Due to the diversity of Spanish speaking populations and
origins, this study will use the term Latino.
Evolution of Bilingual Education
The early notion of Americanization has not worked (Garcia, 2001). Yet,
the use of other languages and cultures in addition to English has been and continues
to be of major controversy in the continuous debate regarding the education of
Spanish speaking children. Specifically, bilingual education in other countries and in
the United States has and continues to be a controversial and misunderstood field
(Freeman, 1998). Freeman declares, it is important to investigate the social and
historical locations that influence how and why bilingual programs exist and function
the way they do. Additionally, Garcia (2001) stresses that educators should
understand and act responsively to the diversity that Latino children possess.
Historically, national policies such as The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and The
Bilingual Education Act of 1968 were landmark policies, which intended to improve
educational access and equity for students while ending segregation, especially in the
Southwestern United States (Trujillo, 1993). Early government legislation served as
an impetus for the development of university programs to prepare teachers who were
representative of the language and culture of students and who could serve as role
models as one measure of improving educational access (Trujillo, 1993). At the same
time, bilingual programs in school districts recruited bilingual, qualified teachers into
bilingual teaching positions. These bilingual teachers3 provided native language
instruction and developed English language proficiency, while promoting cultural
pride and self-esteem because they tended to be of the same language and culture as
the Spanish-speaking students they served. Recruitment programs such as the Career
Opportunities Program in the early 1970s provided educational opportunities for
Chicanas and Chicanos to obtain B.A. degrees and teaching licenses (Lizcano,
Melendez, & Solis, 1974). The Bilingual Education Act of 1968, served to promote
educational equity via the preparation of bilingual/multicultural teachers. When the
Bilingual Education Act was repealed in Colorado, substitute policies such as the
English Language Proficiency Act in 1981 served to mirror the interests of
mainstream white society. Programs such as transitional bilingual programs were
implemented to focus on the acquisition of English while devaluing the cultural and
linguistic needs of Spanish-speaking children (Shannon & Escamilla, 1999). The
changing political and social nature of bilingual programs historically and currently
affects the quality of bilingual teacher preparation programs (August & Hakuta, 1997;
Once again, history repeats itself. The social and political factors influencing
the promotion of Manifest Destiny and the political controversy aimed at devaluing
3 Bilingual teachers possess credentials and specialized skills to deliver instruction to ensure learning of
academic content to Spanish speaking students in both Spanish and English while developing both
languages and being culturally responsive to Latino students. They may possess varying degrees of
proficiency in either language.
the Spanish language and culture of individuals parallels the current social and
political climate. The pressure and influence of political and social factors continues
to determine educational policy serving as evidence of the changing political climate.
The conservative educational politics of the Bush administration, homeland security,
war on terrorism, and the multi-state push by Ron Unz (2002) to use English as the
only language of instruction is the current backdrop for the changing climate
surrounding bilingual education. The name change of the U.S. Department of
Education, Office of Bilingual Education and Minority Language Affairs (OBEMLA)
to the Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) serves as evidence of the
focus on the acquisition of English versus bilingualism at the national, state, and local
levels (U.S. Department of Education, 2002). The newly named OELA excludes the
connection between language and culture and focuses on assimilation-a subtractive
process and act of symbolic violence (Shannon, 1995), reminiscent of the
philosophical underpinnings of Manifest Destiny in the early history of the United
States and its goal of Americanization of Latinos in the Southwest.
Issues Affecting Teacher Preparation
Legislation, the roles of colleges and universities, racism, culturally
responsive education, and recruitment of minorities, specifically Latinos are a fraction
of the most pressing issues influencing the complexity of bilingual teacher
preparation. The remainder of this chapter will present these issues in more detail.
Legislation Influencing Teacher Preparation
The federal government has begun to take a more active role in education in
an effort to define higher standards for teachers and affect the achievement of
students who are not succeeding (U.S. Department of Ed., 1998, 2000,2002). Past
and current legislation pressures institutions of higher education to prepare teachers
who can comply with educational reforms that are shaped by federal legislation and
U.S. Department of Education guidelines (1964,1968, 2002,2003).
President Clinton (1996) stated, That every child needs-and deserves-
dedicated, outstanding teachers, who know their subject matter, are effectively
trained, and know how to teach to high standards and to make learning come alive for
students (p. viii). During his administration, a report from the U. S. Department of
Education (1998) stated that teacher education has long been considered weak among
higher education degree programs. Teacher education programs were seen as lacking
in high standards and contact with the field of practicing teachers. Under his
commission, improvement in teacher education programs included, revision of
challenging standards for accreditation, growth of professional development schools,
emphasis on a deeper knowledge base, and demonstration of competence (p.17).
Current Legislation: NCLB Highly Qualified. This landmark education
reform act, signed by President George W. Bush on January 8,2002, is designed to
improve student achievement and change the culture of schools. No Child Left
Behind (NCLB) demands that highly qualified teachers be in every classroom by the
2005-06 school year.
Four pillars serve as the foundation for NCLB: accountability for results, an
emphasis on doing what works based on scientific research, expanded parental
options, and expanded local control and flexibility (U.S. Department of Education,
2003). The accountability for results outlines minimum qualifications for teachers and
paraprofessionals who work on classroom instruction. A highly qualified teacher
must have a bachelors degree, full state certification, teacher licensure, and
demonstrate competency in core academic subjects they teach. New elementary
teachers must demonstrate competency by passing a rigorous state test on subject
knowledge and teaching skills in reading or language arts, writing, mathematics and
other basic curriculum. Practicing teachers and schools must document that teachers
are teaching in their specialty areas and that they have met the standard for content
expertise. Teachers of English language learners must meet the highly qualified
requirements and, if they are funded under Title III, English Language Acquisition,
they must be fluent in English and any other language in which they provide
instruction. However, there is no reference to teaching in bilingual settings and
bilingual endorsements have not been counted as content expertise.
However, according to a fact sheet published by The National Education
Association (NEA) in 2003, federal requirements such as No Child Left Behind
(NCLB) have further complicated teacher recruitment for local school districts.
NCLB requires a highly qualified teacher to demonstrate competency in the subject
area in which they teach by possessing at least 24 credits in the subject area, and /or
pass a state developed test in the subject area. These competency tests are in addition
to the initial licensing tests to enter the teaching field. Although the NEA (2003)
reports that between 2.4 million and 2.7 million teachers will be needed in the next
eleven years, the high stakes competency-testing component of NCLB has limited the
numbers of Latinos who meet the requirements to enter the teaching field. Under
current interpretations by the U.S. Department of Education, bilingual education
teachers must be fully certified in their field and are also required to meet separate
subject matter requirements for core academic subjects they teach (American
Federation of Teachers (AFT), 2004).
For example, in Colorado, prospective elementary teachers seeking to enter
the general field of teaching need to pass the professional knowledge test (PLACE or
PRAXIS tests) for elementary education to receive state licensure and meet the
requirements for NCLB in addition to the requirements for a major and minor to
complete the BA degree. Thus, the BA degree and licensure test are the two
components needed for licensure to teach in general education classrooms.
In contrast, elementary teachers obtaining bilingual certification and teacher
licensure take additional tests. Not only do these teachers demonstrate proficiency in
linguistic skills as core subject content, they must also have an ability to teach in
cross-cultural settings (AFT, 2004). Thus, pre-service bilingual teachers may be
required to take up to three licensing tests before entering the field of teaching. Pre-
service bilingual teachers take tests demonstrating (a) Spanish proficiency, (b)
bilingual certification for Colorado state endorsement that incorporates completion of
a specialized course of study in language acquisition, culture, and pedagogy specific
to the instructional needs of linguistically and culturally diverse students
(Linguistically Diverse) and, (c) for teacher licensure. Once pre-service bilingual
participants pass these three tests, they are considered qualified to teach in bilingual,
Spanish speaking settings at the elementary level.
Researchers have indicated a high incidence of failure rate on state licensing
tests for teachers among prospective minority teachers who desire to enter the field as
bilingual teachers (Savage & Briggs, 1993; Valencia & Aburto, 1991; Valencia &
Guardarrama, 1995). Research has identified minority and low-income teacher
candidates as casualties of high stakes testing (College Board, 2001; Tanner, 2001).
Wakefield (2003) cites reasons for the casualties. PRAXIS I, a nationally used
teacher-licensing test, does not differentiate between inept candidates and
disadvantaged populations....or race and income inequalities (p. 4). Wakefield
further suggests testing biases and uncontrolled socio-economic variables such as
family background, income, schools, and individual ability as issues that affect
minority students in teacher preparation programs. Minority students are not getting
the same education as those from historically affluent districts. Minorities can expect
to see fewer teachers of their own race teaching their children (p. 5). These are some
of the barriers confronting the recruitment and retention of prospective bilingual
teachers, high stakes testing continues to be an issue (Valencia & Aburto). According
to the American Federation of Teachers, this interpretation of highly qualified
through the sole use of licensing tests that are federally legislated is unworkable.
In studies regarding the limiting effect of high stakes testing on the number of
Latinos passing initial licensure tests, Bustos-Flores & Riojas-Clark (1997) presented
the need for strong support structures and proposed that competency testing not rely
solely on standardized tests. They recommended alternative testing formats that do
not rely on multiple choice tests and written essays, as one way to increase the
passing rate of Latinos. Three reasons for alternative testing of Latino pre-service
teachers are that their potential may go undiscovered because the tests bar them from
teaching. Secondly, Latino pre-service teachers are indirectly penalized and must pay
the increased costs of remediation, retaking the tests, and loss of potential earnings
due to increased coursework for remediation. Thirdly, a correlation has not been
established between the PLACE/ PRAXIS licensing tests and teacher performance.
NCLB has also set educational standards for paraprofessionals in Title I
schools. Paraprofessionals must now seek a minimum of two years of college or pass
an equivalency test in order to remain employed in school districts. A promise of this
legislation is the possibility of increasing the numbers of paraprofessionals who are
minorities and non-traditional students entering the college setting in order to meet
the requirements of remaining employed in school districts. This implies that good
paraprofessionals should become teachers. However, paraprofessionals face the same
issues with testing as teachers. Those unable to pass the test are not able to work in
schools and this may reduce the likelihood of increasing the numbers of potential
home grown teachers who are familiar with societal and educational issues in
schools (Villegas & Lucas, 2002).
Role of Colleges and Universities
Recent perspectives also suggest that an important role of colleges and
universities is to help prepare teachers to challenge the inequities that are deeply
embedded in systems of schooling and society (Cochran-Smith, 2001). The ways
colleges and universities shape and educate our future teachers for Latinos and
Spanish-speaking children is of consequence, positive or negative, to how we shape
our future. In the same vein, the way we shape and educate our Latino children will
be of analogous consequence, positive or negative, to how we shape our future
society. Jorgenson (2000) writes:
If we accept the notion that teachers shape the future of our country,
then it follows that the needs of an increasingly diverse democratic
society will best be met by a teaching force that is proportionately, or
at least representatively diverse (p.l).
Teacher preparation programs must prepare effective bilingual teachers who
understand the social, cultural, and academic inequities that Spanish-speaking
students experience in school and in society (Garcia, 2001; Lemberger, 1997). This
requires that a goal in the preparation of bilingual, multicultural teachers be the ability
to identify and challenge subtractive cultural functions of schools while promoting
additive philosophies that are culturally responsive (Banks, 1988,2003). Effective
preparation of bilingual teachers of English language learners (ELLs) who are Latino
and Spanish speaking is even more complex due to the linguistic and culturally
specific knowledge they must possess in order to work in two languages academically
(Guerrero, 1997; Lemberger).
Racism And The Need For Culturally Responsive Teacher Preparation
In 1998 over 37% of the K-12 student population in the U.S was culturally,
linguistically, and ethnically different from the dominant U.S. culture (Chavez-
Chavez, 1995; Office of Education Research and Improvement, 2000). The fact that
87% of the U.S. teaching force is White and more than 70% is female implies that
minority status students, specifically Latino students, are being taught by teachers
who may be linguistically and culturally different from them and thus may be
insensitive to their psycho-social needs (Nieto, 2004).
Meyer Weinberg, (1990) a well-known historian, researched school
desegregation and racism as a system of privilege and penalty. He wrote,
Racism consists centrally of two facets: First, a belief in the inherent
superiority of some people and the inherent inferiority of others; and
second, the acceptance of distributing goods and services (cultural and
social capital)-let alone respect in accordance with such judgments of
unequal worth...Racism is always collective. Prejudiced individuals
may join the large movement, but they do not cause it... .The silence of
institutional racism and the ruckus of individual racism is mutually
supportive. What is crucial is an understanding that the doctrine of
White supremacy is at the root of racism. As institutions, schools
respond and reflect the larger society (p. xii-xii).
Becerra & Weissglass (2004) have defined racism as the systematic
mistreatment of certain groups of people because of skin color or other real
characteristics. Mistreatment is carried out by societal institutions or by people who
have been conditioned by the society to act in harmful ways (p. 153). Racism includes
the targeted mistreatment of people of color, who have relatively less power in
society, by the dominant culture, which has more power in society. The dominant
culture uses their power to oppress, subordinate, and keep minorities powerless
(Adams, Bell & Griffin, 1999).
Institutional racism is found in the network of institutional structures, policies
and practices, that overtly or covertly control the allocation of resources to individual
and social groups, and that set and influence cultural norms and values. These
networks of institutional structures are those that create advantages and benefits for
Whites, and discrimination, oppression, and disadvantages for people from targeted
racial groups. The advantages created for Whites are often invisible to them, or are
considered rights, available to everyone as opposed to privileges awarded to only
some individuals and groups (Adams et al., 1997). Therefore, it is not surprising that
racism finds its way into colleges and universities in much the same way it is found in
housing, employment, and criminal justice systems (Nieto, 2004). The manifestations
of racism and discrimination are found in numerous school practices and policies
Consequently, according to Nieto (2000) the preparation of teachers who are
culturally responsive must address two problems. First, everyone entering the
teaching profession must be prepared to teach a racially, ethnically, economically,
and linguistically diverse population. Second, teacher education programs must find
ways to increase the number of minority teachers. Teacher preparation programs can
help pre-service teachers develop cultural responsiveness through reflection on their
own personal experiences and on social justice issues (Nieto). Reflection can help
them understand and address inequities, leading to meaningful relationships with then-
students and affecting student success especially for students in poverty and of color
Recruitment of Minorities Into Teacher Education
Banks (2001), Sleeter (2001), and Ladson-Billings (1994) have stated that teacher
education programs must address diversity and equity in teacher training. One way is
to recruit students of color (Villegas & Clewell, 1998). The recruitment of minority
teachers is one approach to alleviating the academic achievement gap that Latino and
Spanish-speaking students experience. Recruiting minority teachers also serves to
mirror the student population (Trujillo, 1993; Sleeter, 2001; Villegas & Clewell).
Sleeter states that students of color bring richer experiences and perspective to
multicultural teaching than do most White students. Pre-service students of color are
more committed to multicultural teaching, social justice, and providing children of
color with an academically challenging curriculum (Ladson-Billings, 1991; Rios &
Montecinos, 1999; Su, 1997). In spite of years of legislative impetus to prepare and
hire more teachers from minority populations, only 13% of the present teaching force
is ethnic minority (Office of Education Research and Improvement, 2001).
Teacher Shortages and Issues in Colorado
The national trends of increasing numbers of Latinos who are also English
language learners; and the shortage of bilingual Spanish-speaking teachers
compounds the issue of the critical need for teachers who are prepared to work with
linguistically and culturally diverse students (Villegas & Lucas, 2002). The National
Center for Education Statistics reports, currently one in six children are Hispanic and
by 2020 it is projected that more than one in five under the age of 18 will be of
Hispanic origin (p. 8, NCES, 2003). According to the 1999 U.S. Census Bureau
report, 71 percent of Hispanic children ages 5-17 spoke another language at home
In 1994, a report from the General Accounting Office (GAO) indicated a
shortage of 100,000 to 200,000 bilingual teachers in critical shortage fields such as
bilingual and special education, mathematics, computer science, and English as a
second language. The American Association for Employment in Education (2003)
conducted its 26th annual survey of the supply and demand for educators. From 1, 267
colleges and institutions they concluded that a considerable shortage of teachers
exists in bilingual education, English as a second language, Spanish, mathematics and
special education in region three, which includes the states of Montana, Wyoming,
Colorado and New Mexico. These issues are mirrored at the state level in Colorado.
In a survey of educational programs and services for the 2000-2001 school
year, Kindler (2002) cited the LEP enrollment in Colorado as fifty-nine thousand,
eighteen (59,018). The same report cited seven hundred and six (706) certified ESL
teachers and nine hundred and ninety (990) certified bilingual teachers (p. 28). In fall
2003, the pupil membership of English language learners in Colorado was ninety-one
thousand, seven hundred fifty-one (91,751) representing a 250.2% increase from
1993-94 school year (Colorado Department of Education, 2005).
These numbers demonstrate that there is less than one qualified bilingual or
ESL endorsed teacher for every 1,000 LEP students in the state of Colorado. Thus,
emphasizing the critical shortage of qualified teachers of English Language Learners
(ELL) who are currently the fastest growing K-12 population (NCES, 2003).
Teacher Preparation in Colorado
The most recent information about education available from the Colorado
State Department of Education is a report entitled Colorado Education Facts for 2003,
published in 2005. The report stated that there were forty-one thousand, three hundred
twenty seven (41,327) teachers employed in Colorado. Of that number, 53.2 % taught
limited English proficient (LEP) students. Yet, only 13.2% of these teachers had eight
or more credit hours of training on how to teach LEP students. The Colorado State
Department of Education, Teacher Accreditation unit also reported that for the 2003-
2004 academic year there were 1,844 licensed bilingual/ESL teachers at all grade
levels (email communication, Educator. Licensing,cde. state, co. us. 3/28/2005). The
Colorado Department of Education was not able to provide a breakdown of
certification in bilingual or ESL certified teachers in the state. In addition, the number
of Latino teachers who possess bilingual or ESL endorsements was not available.
Career Ladder Teacher Training Projects
Bilingual/bicultural paraprofessionals already working in school districts
constitute a pool of potential teachers who diversify the work force and improve the
quality of instruction for English language learners (Reyes, 2006). Para-educator -to
teacher programs, also referred to as career ladder projects make higher education
more accessible to para-educators (Recruiting New Teachers, 2000). Career ladder
projects typically offer social, financial, and academic components that address the
social, financial, and academic needs of paraprofessionals who may be the first in
their families to enter college.
Although the recruitment of pre-service Latino teachers4 into career ladder
programs helps to address the teacher shortage and increases the number of Latinos
who enter the teaching field (Genzuk & Baca, 1998; Villegas & Clewall, 1998;
4 Pre-service Latino teachers are individuals in this study who work as paraprofessionals in local school
districts and are in college to obtain teacher licensure as bilingual, Spanish, and English speaking teachers.
Villegas & Lucas, 2002), an underlying social inequity contributes to the remaining
problem. How is their potential for cultural responsiveness developed? Latino
paraprofessionals who enter the teaching force through career ladder projects possess
the potential to meet the need for bilingual teachers who are culturally responsive.
Responsive teachers help students learn to value their own language and
culture. Latino Spanish speaking paraprofessionals, who may have experienced the
linguistic and cultural mismatch in their own education, may better understand the
social inequities facing culturally diverse students in schooling (Nieto, 2003).
Moreover, recruitment of paraprofessionals, especially those of color, is viable
because they tend to live in the community, and share the language and culture of the
students, further contributing to their understanding of the academic challenges facing
culturally diverse students (Haselkom & Fideler, 1996; Villegas & Lucas, 2002).
However, the challenge they face is the tension between the social and academic
ideologies formed by their lived cultural experiences and their academic experiences
in college. Socio-political, curricular, and academic tensions exist between and
among academic coursework that serves to challenge and contradict the academic,
linguistic and cultural preparation of bilingual teachers (Gomez, 1998). It is in and
among these social and academic sites of tension and throughout their college
experience where participants must negotiate their personal ideologies about
becoming a bilingual teacher (Trujillo, 1993). Because hidden institutional inequities
in colleges are based in maintaining societal interests (Cochran-Smith, 2001; Ladson-
Billings, 1994), Latino pre-service teachers must negotiate these tensions.
Although career ladder teacher training projects possess the potential for
solving the issues surrounding teacher shortages in bilingual education and increasing
the number of Latinos entering the teaching field, additional challenges remain in the
preparation of Latinos in pre-service bilingual teacher training career ladder projects.
How do we prepare teachers to promote equitable practices when institutions
of higher education are mirrors of an inequitable society (Gay, 2000; Nieto, 1999;
Sleeter, 2001; Villegas & Lucas, 2002)? How do reproductive practices manifest
themselves in the complexities of socio-economic and socio-political issues, linguistic
and cultural diversity, and continuing social and academic inequities? In addition to
the historical and current socio-economic and cultural issues, several other challenges
exist. The growing number of Spanish speaking, English language learners, the
shortage of teachers, lack of quality teacher preparation in working with English
language learners, and school reform efforts prompted by legislation, all contribute to
the intricacies of preparing teachers to work in todays schools (Garcia, 2001;
Villegas & Lucas).
The complexities of bilingual teacher preparation are compounded by the
perpetuation of societal inequities in colleges and universities. Is it possible for
colleges and universities to prepare Latino teachers to work with Latino students
when institutions whose historical purpose has been to promote the interests of the
middle and upper classes in society have oppressed their cultural histories? The
question remains, how is this accomplished when inequities in education continue to
exist at all levels: elementary, secondary, and in institutions that prepare teachers to
work in the field of education?
Social and academic inequities such as racism and discrimination also
challenge the teachers ability to provide effective instruction for children of color,
including Latinos (Gay, 2000; Nieto, 1999; Villegas & Lucas, 2002). Within the
personal, academic and professional settings of inequities that have been reproduced
by society and educational institutions, the academic bilingual teacher preparation
course path proposes to prepare bilingual teachers who can provide educational
access and equity to Latino students. Bilingual career ladder programs have emerged
as one way of preparing bilingual teachers with the potential to meet the social,
cultural, and academic needs of Latino, Spanish-speaking children.
Purpose of the Study
This qualitative study examines the experiences of six Latino pre-service
teachers and describes the sites of academic and social tension they negotiated as they
progressed through a bilingual elementary teacher preparation program in Colorado.
Woven into these experiences were sites of tension that contributed towards making
or unmaking students ideologies regarding what it means to be a bilingual teacher.
The use of reproduction and border crossing theories provided the lens for examining
and describing their experiences in these sites.
Significance of the Study
This study is significant in many ways. First, this study adds to the theoretical
foundations of reproduction theory as it relates to Latino pre-service teacher
preparation by investigating the social and academic sites of tension that promoted
and supported or inhibited ethnic, cultural, and linguistic ideologies about bilingual
teaching that the participants in the study held. Second, this study contributes to the
literature on Latino pre-service teacher preparation, course path alignment, the
influence of career ladders on the teaching ideologies of participants, and Latino
experiences in college. The phenomenon of attending college is not well documented
for non-traditional students, specifically Latinos, who are participants in career ladder
projects. This study echoed the need for culturally responsive teachers and role
modeling by professors in colleges and universities. Lastly, this study enables policy
makers, colleges, and universities to be more aware of the social, cultural, and
academic challenges that non-traditional students, specifically Latinos, face when
they enter the teaching field through alternative pathways.
Theoretical and Conceptual Frameworks
This descriptive study explored the reproduction and production of Latino pre-
service teachers at an urban institution of higher education by investigating and
examining the social and academic experiences of participants and possible sites of
tension that served to simultaneously challenge, promote, or transform their identities,
as they became bilingual teachers while attending college. This study draws heavily
on the anthropological theory of reproduction as espoused by Pierre Bourdieu (1977)
and colleagues (Bowles & Gintis, 1976; Willis, 1988).
Reproduction theory provided a foundation to explore the sites of tension that
contributed to the production, reproduction, and transformation of Latino pre-service
teachers by explaining how schooling replicates inequities in society and serves as a
sorting tool. The concepts of hegemony and border crossing (Anzaldua, 1999,
Gramsci, 1971) were used to examine sites of tensions that existed for non-traditional
students and how they negotiated hegemonic tensions in these sites in order to
succeed in a teacher preparation program. More recent work situated in critical race
theory such as LatCrit was used to further examine racism and discrimination from
the point of view of Latino participants in this study by using their stories (Delgado &
Stefanic, 2001; Solorzano & Yosso, 2002).
The following pages, I elaborate on reproduction theory followed by an
explanation of the notion of making and unmaking. I continue by identifying sites of
ideological formation and explaining how these ideologies about bilingual teaching
may simultaneously form, or challenge the ideologies that Latino pre-service
bilingual teachers possessed about becoming a bilingual teacher.
Social and Cultural Reproduction and Production: Introduction
The development of critical educational studies has evolved from theories of
social reproduction to cultural reproduction to cultural production. In the early 1970s,
social theoreticians began to argue that schools reproduced the social relations of
power. They emphasized that schools were capable of concealing their social function
of legitimizing class differences behind their technical function of producing
qualifications (Althusser, 1971; Bourdieu & Passeron, p. 164, 1977). For over twenty
years, scholars from the United States and Europe have heatedly discussed the
relationship between education, culture, and economy (Weis, 1996, p. ix). Early work
in social reproduction from scholars such as Marx (1972) and Bourdieu and Passeron
(1977) focused on class inequality characterized by enduring class structures in a
capitalist economy. This work served as a springboard for more recent work in
cultural reproductive theory (Weis, 1996) causing educational scholars to elaborate
on a radical critique of the social effects of schooling (Althusser, 1971; Apple 1979,
1982; Baudelot & Establet, 1975; Bernstein, 1973; Bourdieu & Passeron, 1977;
Bowles & Gintis, 1976; Giroux, 1983; Sharp & Green, 1975; Young, 1971). These
scholars argued that schools were not innocent sites of cultural transmission, or places
for the inculcation of consensual values. Rather, schools served to exacerbate or
perpetuate social inequalities and were places that responded to the requirements of
discipline and conformity. Althusser (1971) referred to schools as ideological state
apparatuses where students were ideologically positioned to assume their role in
society. Thus, cultural reproduction theory emerged to explain how schools served to
reproduce cultural components rather than transform existing structural inequalities.
Social Reproduction. Structuralist proponents of reproduction theory, such as
Althusser (1971) and Bowles and Gintis (1976), stressed ways in which institutions
reproduced the structural inequalities found in society. According to Bowles and
Gintis, schools promoted the interest of the upper classes by unobtrusively
reproducing the non-rebellious working class that is trained and willing to take a
subordinate position. In the theory of social reproduction, institutions are linked with
power, knowledge and the moral bases of cultural production and acquisition. Social
reproduction is concerned with how groups in power remain in power and how the
power and privilege of the upper class exploits those from the working and lower
class. Schools were viewed as instrumental in the reproduction of the class structure
because they sort people by selectively transmitting skills and attitudes according to
class. Moreover, schools sort through credentials into class related social positions
and those schools actually served to exacerbate or perpetuate social inequalities, thus
reproducing, rather than transforming structural inequalities.
Cultural Reproduction. In an effort to extend the concept of enduring class
structures of privilege, Bourdieu and Saint Martin (1974) and colleagues extended
Marxs (1972) social reproduction theory to explain cultural reproduction (Bourdieu
& Passeron, 1990). Bourdieu added to the notion of social reproduction of privilege
by studying the reproduction of the cultural bases of privilege. He argued that the
skewed valuation of cultural styles and competencies buttressed an unequal social
order. Bourdieu (1977,2004) first developed his notion of modes of domination (p.
183) from his comparative ethnographic work on French peasants of Algeria and his
study on French schools. In the Kabyle society of Algeria, Bourdieu promoted the
idea that these peasants reproduced their unequal social standings through face-to-
face encounters that drew on discourses of shame and honor. Prominent men in the
Kabyle society developed stocks of symbolic capital through this discourse that was
vital to their control over labor forces. This discourse was the key to the reproduction
of domination of one man over another. It reproduced unequal social and economic
positions, but added to the value of honor, symbolic capital, itself.
Comparatively in France, Bourdieu suggested that schools performed the
complex work of validating and distributing symbolic capital, which enabled
dominant groups to maintain the advantage. Bourdieu then developed his notion of
cultural capital, which is symbolic credit that one acquires through learning to
embody and enact signs of social standing consisting of a series of competencies and
traits. Because of this credit, or cultural capital, the actions of people with higher
social standing automatically achieve greater currency and legitimacy while those of
lower standing do not. Schools perform the complex work of validating and
distributing symbolic capital that enables dominant groups to maintain economic
advantage (Bourdieu & Passeron, 1977). Bowles and Gintis (1976) argue that
inequality in years of schooling is symptomatic of broader inequalities in the
educational system. Not only do less well off children go to school for fewer years,
they are treated with less attention (p. 33). They concluded that U.S. education was
highly unequal and the chances of attaining much or little schooling was substantially
dependent on ones race and parents economic level (p. 35).Therefore, those with
more money, and more experience with education, may have more access to the skills
and knowledge to succeed in school.
Cultural reproduction theory focused on the cultural bases of privilege that
supports an unequal social order by examining modes of domination and how the
uses of symbolic capital are key to the reproduction of domination (Bourdieu, 1977).
Cultural reproductionists focus on culture as it is produced in ongoing interactions
and in relation to class, gender and race antagonisms in the larger society (Weis,
1996, p. xi.). French schools allowed the elite to maintain power by recognizing their
intelligence through the cultural capital they produced. Exams, rewards and other
disciplinary procedures promoted this intelligence. For those of the lower social
standing, their background served to give them away. In this manner, the French
schools reproduced the value and content of the cultural capital of the elite, and
imposed a symbolic violence (Bourdieu, 2000; Bourdieu & Passeron, 1977) on the
non-elite students. Bourdieus notion of symbolic violence is that the ideologies that
exist benefit the status quo. For those of lower standing, their ideologies may be
difficult to develop and access because they maintain an ideology that is different
from the dominant class. They may develop a sense of devaluation of their cultural
and linguistic resources leading to a sense of their social limits. These become a
persons habitus as individuals learn to self-censor and self-silence in the company of
those with greater social standing (Bourdieu & Passeron).
Latino teacher candidates from the lower class may experience a sense of their
social limits through encounters with individuals from the dominant class in the
college or university setting. The implications for Latino pre-service teacher
candidates are that they may question their identity and lose who they are within the
educated culture. They may feel degraded for their culture, language, and community.
This sense of cultural and linguistic degradation may cause them to lose the very
reasons that brought them into college. If they continue, they may become reproduced
and absorbed into the status quo.
Cultural Production Theory. As the concept of reproduction was developed
and critiqued, American and European sociologists, anthropologists, political
scientists, and philosophers directed their attention to ethnic differences, not just
social class (Levinson, Foley & Holland, 1996). Landmark work by Willis (1977)
suggested that individuals known as the lads, through their own culture, helped to
reproduce the conditions of capitalist society. Williss view of cultures focused on its
production as it was produced by working class culture and the ways in which the
lads helped to reproduce their own existence gave rise to a culturalist tradition
within reproduction theory (Levinson et al.).
Cultural productions such as foods, clothing, and other necessities are
products of social class and are symbols of that class which are produced and
consequently reproduced, thus maintaining the status quo by those possessing the
power and privilege of their class. Williss lads created symbols, a way of talking
and reacting to school policies that they felt were oppressive to them as members of
the working class. However, their own cultural productions, aimed at resisting the
middle class structure of school, only served to retain them in the working class, thus
perpetuating and reproducing them back into the social class of their birth.
Cultural production theory probes into the manner in which groups construct
their own identities in specific sites (Levinson, et al., 1996). School is one of the sites
or spaces in which racial, ethnic, class, gender groupings take place, and where
students use their symbols of cultural production in ways that may end up serving to
reproduce the conditions of their own existence (Willis, 1977). Levinson et al. refers
to cultural production as a continual process of creating meaning in social and
material contexts. This process admits that power and privilege are granted to some
groups and not others, but it also looks at the reactions of students to school practices
and school officials (Willis). Schools are sites that serve to produce, develop, or
According to Levinson et al. (1996), schools are sites of identity formation
because they have the potential to form our thoughts, ideas, and personal opinions
about who we are or who we will become. Schools are sites of cultural production
because they are also sites of identity production and have the potential to reproduce
these cultural products: thoughts, ideas, and personal opinions for and about groups or
classes of people. Therefore, the cultural production of the educated person occurs in
competing sites and includes the relationship between school and the community. It
includes the struggle over the values of knowledge and skills obtained in school
versus knowledge and skills obtained from other sites of learning (Willis, 1977;
Levinson et al.).
Hegemony is an important concept first articulated by Gramsci (1971). Artz
and Ortega-Murphy (2000) build upon Gramcis concept and define it as a system of
power that has the support of the subordinates, those that are not in power. The
concept of hegemony addresses how social practices, relationships, and structures are
negotiated among diverse social classes. Hegemony is about hierarchical relations
and vested interest, and exists only when dominant social forces represent and
incorporate real material interest of subordinate groups into social relationships. It
serves as a template for understanding how subordinate groups or ethnic minorities
willingly participate in practices that are not necessarily in their best interests because
they perceive some tangible benefit. The most important question is, who is
dominant and for what purpose? And who is subordinate and what do they gain or
lose (Artz & Ortega-Murphy, p. 4)?
Hegemony is a concept in production theory that suggests a potential for
change that can happen from one generation to the next. The change is dependant on
how students react to and exercise their own behaviors (cultural forms and agency)
within school practices and with school officials. Transformation may occur by
countering hegemonic relations. The tensions in sites of cultural production/
reproduction, coupled with the knowledge of social and cultural capital can enable
participants to transform their experiences (Artz & Ortega-Murphy, 2000). By
reacting and negotiating tension, they produce cultural forms that may transform
education for the next generation.
Anzaldua (1999) a feminist, discusses border crossing as a way in which
individuals (Latinas) resist hegemony or the status quo. Border crossing refers to
having to cross borders of ones own particular racial and cultural group and arriving
in a new mental, emotional, and political place. In order to border cross, one has to
examine assumptions and challenge the fundamentalist and integrationist orientations.
Border crossing is a concept that examines the multiple identities that Latinas
in general manipulate socially, academically, spiritually, and personally. Latinas must
use their cultural and linguistic capital to successfully manipulate the spaces or sites
of tension in order to keep their racial, cultural, social, academic, and spiritual
identities intact (Gonzalez, Stoner, & Jovel, 2003). Border crossing involves using the
language of the margins and borderlands, it can describe the emergent transformation
of identity, and helps move one beyond a marginalized self-perception. The
borderlands are psychological, spiritual, and sexual. They are physically present
wherever two or more cultures edge each other, where people of different races
occupy the same territory, where lower, middle, and upper classes touch (Anzaldua).
Anzaldua grew up straddling the Anglo and Mexican cultures on the Texas
border. Living on the borders and in margins, she tried to keep intact her shifting and
multiple identities. Anzalduas (1999) work is a socio-political elaboration of feminist
Chicana epistemology and offers a radical reconstruction of space in the Americas
where political struggles and alliances are forced only after risking conflicts,
appropriations, and contradictions in the face of power and domination (Saldivar-
Making and Unmaking
Bernal, the researcher in this study, has coined the terms making and
unmaking. This researcher proposed that the same sites of tension that make
(produce) bilingual teachers are also sites that may unmake their ideologies about
becoming a bilingual teacher, thus maintaining (reproducing) the status quo of the
dominant class. The goal is to make bilingual, culturally responsive teachers, yet we
place them in an institutional course path that along with other sites, may actually
serve to unmake them because the institution may not value or have the course path in
place to actualize the goal of preparing bilingual and culturally responsive teachers.
Therefore, participants must negotiate these sites of tension (Willis, 1977; Anzaldua,
1999). Shuaib Meacham (2002) refers to this as learning to play the game or lose your
identity. So playing the game, means they become border crossers (Anzaldua) as a
way of negotiating hegemonic tensions in these sites that serve to make and unmake.
This researcher proposed that lived experiences from family, community, and
the work place caused tension between and among the acquired experiences in higher
education, government legislation such as No Child Left Behind (NCLB) or criteria
for highly qualified teachers, and perhaps even the career ladder project. Each of
these sites contributed and created tension for participants regarding their beliefs,
values, and identity as fixture bilingual teachers.
Ideologies About Teaching. Latino pre-service teachers possess beliefs,
attitudes, and ideas about teaching, thus forming their ideology regarding why and
how teaching should be done. Teaching ideology involves the task of education and a
set of prescriptions for performing it. Ideologies about teaching are also embedded in
a broad network of social and political worldviews. This is especially true in the field
of bilingual/ESL education due to its political and philosophical underpinnings that
are constantly swayed by socio-political trends (Trujillo, 1993; Cummins, 1981,
Sharp and Green (1975) define the concept of teaching ideology to be:
...a connected set of systematically related beliefs and ideas about
what are felt to be the essential features of teaching ... [includingjboth
cognitive and evaluative aspects.. .general ideas and assumptions about
the nature of knowledge and of human nature-the latter entailing beliefs
about motivation, learning, and educability...some characterization of
society and the role and functions of education in the wider social
context... of the tasks teachers have to perform, the specific skills and
techniques required together with ideas about how these might be
acquired and developed..[and] criteria to assess adequate performance,
both on the material on whom teachers work, i.e. pupils, and for self-
evaluation or the evaluation of others involved in educating (p. 68).
Therefore, according to the definition offered by Sharp and Green (1975)
ideologies must take into account three elements: 1. Image of teaching formed by
teachers while they were students, 2. The ideological orientation they received in their
professional training and 3. The network of experiences they have encountered in the
day-to-day practical tasks of teaching.
Trujillo (1993) applied Sharps and Greens (1975) definition of ideologies in
explaining the Chicano movement in Texas, including the background information on
early bilingual education programs. Trujillo asserted that bilingual teachers have both
personal and practical ideologies that are formed at home, in the community, their
own schooling experiences, and with the programs and teachers, they work with.
Sometimes these sites matched and reinforced each other ideologically, and other
times they challenged and caused tension among and between each other.
Government regulation, colleges, and universities also define these ideologies. Early
legislation such as the Bilingual Education Act of 1968 defined the parameters of
bilingual education, thus influencing the development of bilingual/ESL coursework
offered by colleges and universities.
Trujillo (1993) elaborated on these concepts in a discussion on Chicano
worldview, through education, within a cultural reproduction framework. He
reinforced that the institution of schooling is recognized for the role it plays in the
processes of socialization, cultural and linguistic maintenance, and social change. The
cultural production inherent in the implementation of bilingual education programs
emerged because of government legislation. Trujillo applied Raymond Williams
(1973) definition of emergent culture to the cultural production of the educated
Chicano, Latino. Williams referred to emergent culture as the process of continuous
creation of new meanings and values, new practices, new significance and
The educated Latino emerged because of the creation of new bilingual
programs. The educated Latino emerged because of new bilingual programs
implemented in schools, new bilingual programs of study developed in colleges and
universities to prepare bilingual teachers to work in these schools, and contributed to
the development of legislation, programs, and policies to guide implementation of
educational practices and policies in the newly developed programs. All of these new
productions emerged because of a new culture embodied in the concept of bilingual
Using this frame of reference, the ideologies of Latino pre-service participants
are formed at home, within the communities where they live or work, in the schools
they work in, with the teachers they work with, and in institutions of higher
education. This researcher proposed that tensions exist within the sites that caused the
participants to question their value as cultural and linguistic representatives. This self-
questioning is crucial to the personal and professional ideologies about teaching. This
tension and self-questioning happened in all sites, perhaps simultaneously.
Sites of Tension
Latino pre-service teachers may possess varying ideas, images, and beliefs
about teaching and teachers that were formed when they were students depending on
where they received their schooling (Trujillo, 1993). These ideologies are situated in
potential sites of tension that include the Individual, their Families, the Community in
which they live, the Workplace, Project and College. Individual refers to sites that
Latino pre-service teachers occupy as individuals. Family refers to their immediate
and extended families. Community refers to the space that Latino Pre-service teachers
occupy in their communities and the larger society. Workplace embodies the public
school, classrooms, and other teachers in the school. It is the site in which pre-service
teachers work as paraprofessionals. College is the site which promotes government
legislation through the academic course path, intended to prepare future teachers, and
Project refers to the funded program offering social, financial, and academic supports
for paraprofessionals who aspire to attend college to become bilingual teachers. Sites
of tension are spaces that challenge the value of the linguistic and cultural strengths of
Latino pre-service teachers in overt and covert ways.
In accordance with the notion of ideologies by Sharp and Green (1975), the
first image of teaching that influences Latino pre-service teachers begins at home in
the site of Family. Within the home setting, Spanish may be the primary language.
Spanish is the language of nurturing, concept development, support, and socialization.
The Spanish language is a cultural production that serves as cultural capital.
Individuals who received their schooling in Spanish speaking settings by Spanish
speaking teachers may view Spanish as a valid academic tool. Those who were
schooled in the United States may believe that Spanish is less valuable than the
English language and therefore, not a valid form of capital because Spanish is not
valued in this country as it is in other Spanish speaking countries (Shannon &
Escamilla, 1999; Shannon, 1995).
In a Community setting, the Spanish language may connect the use of cultural
forms, traditions, and social practices shared by individuals in the community (Moll,
Amanti, Neff, & Gonzales, 1992). For Latino pre-service teachers it is a cultural form
of social capital, a resource they bring with them and as such, is additive instead of
subtractive to their identities.
The networks of experiences Latino pre-service teachers encounter in the day-
to day practical settings greatly influence their ideologies. School districts hire
paraprofessionals for their linguistic and cultural resources (cultural capital) they
draw from home and their communities. They are expected to use these resources in
programs for English language learners such as bilingual/ESL program models. These
skills have a purpose and value that make a difference for Spanish speaking, ELL
children. They are valued for their linguistic, cultural, and instructional strengths,
especially when they are of a different language and culture than their supervising
teachers (Chopra, Sandoval-Lucero, Bemal, Aragon, Berg, & Carroll, 2004; Wenger,
Lubbes, Lazo, Azcarraga, Sharp, & Emst-Slavit, 2004).
Latino pre-service teachers who start as paraprofessionals typically work
alongside bilingual (Spanish-English) teachers or in classrooms assisting monolingual
English speaking teachers. In this Workplace setting, they may be seen as the expert
or apprentice (Lave & Wenger, 1999) even though they have no training or receive
minimal supervision (Pickett & Gerlach, 1997). Pre-service teachers may use the
same strategies for instruction, discipline, and interaction as the teachers they mirror.
They tend to mimic their practice because they work along side certified teachers
(Lave & Wenger). However, in situations where tensions exist between the pre-
service teacher and the classroom teacher, the pre-service teacher will rely on his/her
own notions of what is culturally and linguistically appropriate for students. Many
devise their own methods of instruction as well (Rueda & Monzo, 2000).
For example, Spanish-speaking pre-service teachers are hired for their ability
to speak Spanish but may be asked to teach English to the Spanish-speaking
students they work with (Rueda & Monzo, 2000). Alternatively, they may be
instructed not to speak so much Spanish in the classroom. Other teachers in the
school may challenge these ideologies by referring to themselves as bilingual
teachers even in cases where they are not able to teach core academics in Spanish.
Therefore, bilingual pre-service teachers may form the impression that Spanish is not
needed or valued for academics and is useful only for informal, non-academic
experiences in school (Escamilla, 1994; Lemberger, 1997; Shannon & Escamilla,
College experiences may challenge their ideologies in several ways. Schools,
including institutions of higher education, are sites of cultural production where the
values of middle class are promoted, which is incongruent with the participants who
are from the working class. For example, the concept of Family (familia) or
cooperation in order to help others is a form of community knowledge (Moll &
Greenberg, 1990; Valdez, 1996) used to solve problems or address new situations in
college. This group approach to problem solving runs against middle class values of
individualism, and in the college setting may be misunderstood as cheating.
Furthermore, the ideological orientation they received in their professional training
may not represent their historical heritage. History courses may omit the contributions
or the historical mistreatment of Hispanics in the Southwest. Literature courses may
omit the contributions of Latino authors (De Baca, 1998). The omission of content
may challenge the additive perception of the language they speak and their cultural
heritage (San Miguel & Valencia, 1998).
As they near student teaching, they must pass the state licensing tests.
Although successful in their coursework, many fail to pass the licensing tests, even
after numerous attempts, and are prevented from entering the teaching field (Bustos-
Flores & Riojas-Clark, 1997). Therefore, they may feel confused and may think, /
was recruited into teaching because I was needed for my language and cultural
strengths, but I cant be a teacher, because I cant pass the test to be a teacher. This
test does not reflect the practical knowledge I have about teaching that I acquired as
a paraprofessional. The traits that served as cultural capital, the very traits for which
they were recruited, may appear not to serve as a valued form of cultural capital in
their college coursework.
Therefore, as Individuals, pre-service teachers must rely on their practical and
personal ideologies about teaching, gained from the Community, Family, Workplace,
career ladder Project, and College, and then inference the knowledge gained from
their coursework in the bilingual settings where they will work instead of having
explicit bilingual teaching experiences within master teacher settings. They must
inference what they are taught in college methodology courses for general, English-
speaking classrooms and rely on the bilingual minor subject matter for specific
application to their own classrooms. They must student teach in English speaking
classrooms while having limited practicum experiences in bilingual settings. They are
recruited to address the shortage of a culturally diverse and responsive teaching force
yet they must resist the status quo: institutional racism that has been reproduced into
society and perpetuated by colleges and universities.
For this study, this researcher chose the following questions.
1. What are the social and academic tensions experienced by Latinos in
a pre-service teacher preparation program?
2. Did they experience institutional racism? In what ways and contexts?
3. How did the experience of negotiating sites of tension influence the
social and academic development of Latino pre-service teachers?
Some of the participants for this study were originally participants in two
other bilingual pre-service career ladder projects in Colorado before becoming
participants in the CBETT project (French, 1999). The participants from other
projects were absorbed into the project in this study when the original funding
expired. Other career ladder projects may not have the same course path or the same
pre-service focus. Another limitation is based on number of participants. Future
studies should include a larger sample in order to provide generalizability. The
geographic location of this career ladder may also influence the perceptions of the
participants. Because the study was located further from the Mexican border than
other Southwest states, linguistic isolation, or cultural influence may not be the same
for participants who are closer to the border and who may have classes taught in
Spanish when they were in school.
Institutional limitations include professors lack of familiarity with the
purpose of career ladder grants and non-traditional students. There is also high
variability within college coursework and teacher preparation programs (Gomez,
1998). The college changed the requirements for acceptable majors and minors during
the time students were enrolled. Students were asked to substitute the Spanish major
and bilingual minors with other majors and minors until consensus was reached with
the Colorado Commission on Higher Education regarding acceptable majors and
minors for elementary teachers. For one year, Spanish was not an approved major
forcing some students to change their majors in progress to other accepted majors.
Therefore, this study represents the course path in place for students when
they entered the four-year college in Summer 2000. Moreover, the researcher taught
many classes in the minor. The researcher possessed an emic perspective both
culturally and professionally, having been trained as a bilingual teacher. The
researcher shared the language, culture, and professional training similar to the
participants in this study. This may have emphasized the personal philosophy of the
researcher and bilingual courses. Being as insider, participants may have added more
depth of experience with the researcher in contrast to a researcher who did not share
the linguistic, culturally or professional similarities.
1. What are the social and academic tensions experienced by Latinos in a pre-
service teacher preparation program?
2. Did they experience institutional racism? In what ways and contexts?
3. How did the experience of negotiating sites of tension influence the social
and academic development of Latino pre-service teachers?
Part I: Related Studies in Cultural Production and Reproduction
This section will begin with an overview of education related studies in
cultural reproduction and production. In the early 1960s, scholars from the
sociological tradition began to document and analyze the reproductive function of
schools by identifying ways schools served to reproduce basic features of the social
order (Karabel & Halsey, 1977).
Cultural reproduction in education reproduces the skills, knowledge, and
behaviors needed in society (Levinson, Foley, & Holland, 1996). Teachers transmit
these skills, knowledge, and behaviors through teaching, thus reproducing them.
Teachers are culturally produced in teacher preparation programs, and may be taught
to reproduce the skills, knowledge, and behaviors valued in mainstream society,
including societal inequities. The traditional model for teacher preparation from the
1940s focused on the effective and systematic transmission of knowledge and skills
needed to function in society from the teacher to the student (Darling-Hammond,
1996; Lucas, 1993; Novick, 1996). In this model, teachers were viewed as technicians
who work in a factory setting utilizing a set curriculum. This transmission model fit
in the industrial era when workers were needed to support the economic needs of
society and for the reproduction and socialization of entrance into the working class
rather than upward mobility (Dalton & Moir, 1992).
Conscious attempts to transform the reproduction of these inequities in teacher
education must be made to avoid the pitfall of teaching the way we were taught
(Floden, 1991; Feiman-Nemser & Melnick, 1992; Korthagen & Kessels, 1999;
Howey, 1996; Tom, 1997). These researchers point to the need for educational reform
focusing on teachers and classrooms in order to break this cycle.
Due to the limited number of studies on teacher preparation through the lens
of reproduction theory, related studies on the interconnectedness of reproduction and
cultural production in education are included. The following ethnographic studies,
although not specific to teacher preparation, serve to promote the notion that formal
education reproduces ideologies, identities, and inequalities that are in the interest of
the dominant culture rather than the individuals language and culture.
In the literature on science or engineering education and work, cultural
production has been used to capture the process by which identities are given
meaning in context (Eisenhart, 1994). The use of this concept captures how local
structures such as a curriculum, degree program, or organizational setting, create the
condition for some identities to be made central or hegemonic while others are
marginalized. Eisenhart used the concept of cultural production to describe the
process by which identities are given meaning in context. In her study, she described
how the identities of biologists were developed in educational institutions and their
workplace. She compared the ways that the knowledge associated with them, in either
context, served to produce different kinds of biologists. The identities were formed
against and within the hegemony of the hard sciences and schooling. A biologist who
works for the forest service and a biologist who works at Stanford University evoke
different images of their identities.
Downey, Hegg, & Lucena (1993) point out that some programs with a weed
out philosophy, such as engineering, physics, and biology, dont just produce a
single identity, they also produce students who have been weeded out and therefore
are not considered real engineers. Downey et al. illustrate that women and minorities
are produced as categories of people who cannot succeed in rigorous programs like
Nespor (1990) also conducted a study of a physics degree program at a large
university. He demonstrated how the meaning of being a physicist was constituted by
the physics curriculum, therefore, producing physicists. Both Nespor and Eisenhart
reinforce the notion that professional identity is influenced by courses and training,
just as bilingual teachers are produced by specialty courses.
Laura Rival (1992) described formal schooling in non-Westem contexts.
Implied in her study on the Amazon is the destructive role of education and teachers
when they are used to modernize ethnic groups. She found the institutional effects
of formal schooling hindered the reproduction of Huaorani cultural practices and
created conditions of dominant identities to undermine the continuity of minority
identities. In an attempt to modernize the citizens, Huaorani, they were schooled to
de-skill in the practices they used to survive in the Amazon. In the effort to modernize
the children, they were schooled in ways that undermined the identity of
Rival looked at practices of modernizing the unschooled, through cultural
productions, practices that were thought to be socially constructive. She found that
conversely, these actions resulted in destruction of cultural behaviors that could not
be regained. This served to reproduce the ideologies of the dominant society while
destroying the identity of the Huaorani.
Mass Schooling in France and the United States
Kathryn Anderson-Levitt (1987) heard teachers refer to students in terms of
age and maturity. She used ethnographic evidence collected in France and from the
United States to assert that,
These are cultural constructions that grew out of the factory -like
nature of schools and out of the schools need to sort children. She
promotes the notion of obsession with age and maturity depends on the
ways that Western Europe and the United States have organized mass
schooling. The institutional arrangements of mass schooling such as
graded instruction, compulsory school-entry age, and batch rather than
individual instruction permitted the development of an ideology that
rationalizes the re-segregation of advanced children from the masses
Her study examined teachers talk about students, and the relationship of that
talk to the institutional arrangements of schooling. The symbolic messages were built
right into the institutional arrangements emphasized hegemonic messages about
maturity, delay, and stupidity. She states that schools over time operate to make
children look stupid rather than immature and stupidity is a school-constructed
The previous ethnographic studies, although not specific to teacher
preparation, discussed the ways in which formal education reproduces ideologies,
identities, and inequalities that are in the interest of the dominant culture rather than
the individuals language and culture.
Part II: Related Studies on Latinos in College
Skulley (2004) conducted a study regarding the perceptions of five first
generation Latina college students experiences through the lens of constructivism.
Skulley, a White college administrator, was interested in learning more about Latinas
due to the increase in her awareness of the presence of Latinas in college. These
Latinas majored in academic areas other than teacher preparation for education. The
patterns from focus group and in-depth interviews revealed several themes: academic,
social, heritage support, breaking away, first generation status, and gender identity.
The social, academic, heritage support, first generation status and gender identity
themes from the study by Skulley parallel the larger findings in this study. The
similarity might infer the generalizability of themes that first generation Latinos in
college experience, however a major difference between these two studies is this
researcher shares the cultural background of the participants, whereas Skulley does
not share the cultural background of the participants in her study.
Gandara (1995) conducted a mixed methods study utilizing a semi-structured
interview protocol to examine the reasons for high academic achievement of Latinos
from homes with little formal education. She focused on factors that created academic
success such as cultural stories created by parents and their faith in the future thus
creating a culture of possibility that reinforced in their children a feeling of self-
belief. Another contributing factor is the structured opportunity offered by special
recruitment programs. These two findings are themes echoed in this study.
Gonzales, Stoner, & Jovel (2003) found similar themes as they explored the
role of social capital in access to college for Latinas. Through life history methods,
participants in the study were able to produce deeper understandings of how family
members and school personnel limit or expand post secondary school experiences of
Latinas. The study focused on Latinas from working-class families and how their
experiences limited or expanded their opportunities to pursue postsecondary
education. The study suggests that exposure to, or accumulation of high or low
volumes of social capital, or institutional neglect and abuse limited or expanded the
students perceived and or actual opportunities to go to college.
Stanton-Salazar (1995) defined social capital in an alternative way. His
definition of social capital referred to social relationships that provided institutional
support. His study focused on 205 Mexican origin high school students who attended
schooling in middle income and White majority areas. Using descriptive statistics and
semi-structured interviews as a basis of analysis of social networks, he found that
working class and minority youth were dependent on the formation of supportive
relationships with institutional agents. Caring relationships with institutional agents in
academic settings served to promote academic success.
The findings from these four studies support the notion that family support,
the use of social networks, encouragement in various forms, and the presence of
caring individuals in the academic setting are beneficial to the academic attainment of
Part III: What Teachers Need To Know and Do
A report from the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) on the
preparation and qualifications of public school teachers indicates growing concerns
that a number of the nations teachers are under qualified to teach, thus focusing
attention on pre-service learning (NCES, 1999). In addition, The U.S. Department of
Education (2004) identified the improvement of preparation of new teachers and
reducing barriers to becoming a highly qualified teacher by retooling traditional
programs while opening up alternative routes to teaching as two investments that can
positively benefit the future of this country. Darling-Hammond, Bransford, & LePage
(2005) state that the goal for pre-service preparation is to provide the core ideas and
broad understanding of teaching and learning and to view pre-service teachers as a
source and creator of knowledge and skills needed for instruction (p. 3).
Standards. Over the last two decades, the teaching profession has begun to
codify the knowledge base for professional practice and standards for the work of
practitioners (Darling-Hammond, et al., 2005, p. vii). Low expectations for teacher
preparation programs, state licensure policies, certification, and school district hiring
and evaluation practices have existed because no standards existed to guide them. The
1998 Holmes report stated this was no longer true due to three parallel developments.
The first development concerns the National Council for Accreditation for Teacher
Education (NCATE). NCATE requires institutions to seek its approval to ensure pre-
service teachers know how to teach to higher content standards. Future teachers must
demonstrate their skills through performance assessments rather than traditional seat
time accumulation of course credits.
Initial licensure is a second way of raising standards. At least 30 states are
transforming their requirements for initial licensure in teacher preparation programs.
These transformations include performance standards for the licensing of beginning
teachers, assessments to match the standards, and increases in the numbers of hours
spent in K-12 classrooms.
The third influence of teacher quality is based on the National Board for
Professional Standards (1989). The National Boards standards have influenced the
first two previously mentioned. The standards are based on five propositions of
Teachers are committed to students and their learning. They must
make knowledge accessible to all students by adjusting their
Teachers must know the subjects they teach, and how to teach those
Teachers are responsible for managing and monitoring student
learning by drawing upon a variety of instructional strategies
Teachers must think systematically about their practice and learn
Teachers are members of learning communities, working
collaboratively with colleagues and with parents and school
communities (pp. 25-26).
Although the standards for education have improved pre-service teacher
preparation, numerous researchers note the wide variability in standards for pre-
service teacher candidates, standards for pre-service programs, and variability in
teacher education curriculum and faculty. All of these variances are factors that
challenge pre-service teacher preparation (Darling-Hammond, Pacheco, Michelli,
LePage, Mammemess & Youngs, 2005).
Structure of Teacher Education Courses
The U.S. Department of Education states that teacher education programs
must consist of a coherent program of studies rather than a hodgepodge that
characterized these programs in the past. They must have a firm foundation in liberal
arts and teaching disciplines. They should also have programs that prepare teachers
for higher content standards set for students, prepare teachers for classroom diversity,
and for new teaching technologies (U.S. Department of Education, 1998). For most
programs, these consist of general studies pertinent to elementary education, a major,
specialty content area, and courses that ensure state licensure for teaching.
Darling-Hammond, Hammemess, Grossman, Rust and Shulman, (2005)
summarized central issues in the design of teacher education courses and structure.
These researchers reviewed literature regarding the connection and coherence of
program design, scope and sequence of content, subject matter, and clinical
experiences such as student teaching. They concluded that teacher educators must
model practices, construct powerful learning experiences, thoughtfully support
progress, carefully assess students progress and understandings, and help link theory
and practice. They also state the importance of institutional support that is supportive
and conflict free.
Culturally Responsive Teacher Preparation
According to Sleeter, (2001), predominantly White institutions have
generally responded slowly to the growing cultural gap between teachers and their
students (p. 95). Sleeter reviewed data-based research studies on pre-service teacher
preparation. She found that a large body of research exists on pre-service teacher
preparation but that very little research exists on the attitudes and lack of knowledge
White pre-service teachers have in addressing the needs of underserved student
Among the studies Sleeter (2001) reviewed was a study conducted by the
Holmes Group which analyzed the course requirements of nineteen institutions in the
Midwest. The study revealed that 94% of their faculty and students were Anglo
(Fuller, 1992). In addition, only 56% of these institutions required pre-service
teachers to complete a multicultural course. Sleeter (2001) also found that White
teacher education programs do business as usual (Cannella & Reiff, 1994; Davis,
1995; Grant & Koskela, 1986, Parker & Hood, 1995; Weiner, 1990). Therefore, by
the time they taught, pre-service teachers were mainly concerned with surviving in
the classroom. Those in urban schools were completely unprepared for the students,
social issues, and settings.
Concerning the role of teacher education in preparing culturally responsive
educators for diverse classrooms, Kenneth Zeichner and Karen Hoeft (1996) found
that teachers in the United States are primarily White, middle-class and monolingual.
They have had limited experiences with diverse populations, and frequently perceive
diversity in a negative way. Comparatively, Parker & Hood (1995) found that pre-
service teachers of color bring a richer multicultural base to teacher education than do
White students and that they bring life experience they could draw on to construct
multicultural pedagogy. White pre-service teachers also tend to use colorblindness as
a way of overcoming their fears and ignorance of inequalities that linguistically
diverse students and students of color experience (Cochran-Smith, 2000; McIntyre,
1997; Valli, 1995). Colorblindness is not necessarily a bad thing, but it may not allow
teachers to acknowledge cultural and racial differences. By not acknowledging these
differences, White teachers may refuse to accept the differences and therefore, accept
the dominant culture as the norm (Nieto, 2004).
Villegas & Lucas (2002) have examined literature on preparing teachers for
racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and linguistic diversity, multicultural education,
theories of teaching and learning, culturally responsive pedagogy K-12, and
increasing the participation of people of color in teaching (Villegas & Lucas). They
offer a framework for preparing culturally responsive teachers regardless of their
racial or ethnic background. Culturally responsive teachers must understand the
political nature of schools and teaching and be adept at identifying inequalities in
their own schools and classrooms. They must be skilled in restructuring the school
and classroom culture in order to make it inclusive of all children and be committed
to serving as change agents (Cochran-Smith, 1991; Giroux, 1989; Grant, 1991; Liston
& Zeichner, 1991).
In contrast, Zeichner and Hoeft (1996) found that teachers of any ethnic,
racial, or cultural background, who can call on their own experiences of
marginalization, who have developed a bicultural identity, and who have entered the
teaching profession because they see it as a way to serve their communities, are able
to build strong, meaningful relationships with their students.
To be culturally responsive requires complete resocialization of pre-service
teachers (Feiman-Nemser, 1990; Zeichner and Hoeft, 1996). Therefore, pre-service
teachers must be taught ways to critically think about and challenge practices that
serve to subordinate students, especially Latino, non-English speaking students
(Garcia, 2001; Miramontes, Nadeau, & Commins, 1997; Villegas & Lucas, 2002).
Culturally responsive teachers have reformulated their conceptions of society
and the role of schools, they understand diversity and learners of diverse
backgrounds, they have conceptions of knowledge, teaching, and learning that
supports their understanding of schools and diverse learners. They are able to learn
about students and the communities they live in (Cochran-Smith, 1991; Nieto, 1999;
Villegas & Lucas). Minority candidates bring first hand knowledge about minority
cultures; share the same languages and personal experience with what it is like to be a
member of a racial, ethnic, and/or language minority group in this country. This
shared background makes it easier for teachers to build the necessary bridges between
home and school for students from subordinated groups (Hidalgo & Huling-Austin,
1993; Huling-Austin & Cuellar, 1991; Ladson-Billings & Henry, 1990).
Nespor (1990) studied undergraduate degree programs. He demonstrated ways
that curricular structures of degree programs constituted identities in different ways.
Programs that are tightly structured such as physics produced graduates with shared
ideologies and strategies for acquiring knowledge. In contrast, programs that are
loosely structured (such as sociology) exert little curricular pressure toward collective
knowledge or academic identities. Nespor proposed that curricular structure be
analyzed along three dimensions: density (proportion of hours or courses required in
the major); tightness (proportion of named courses that must be taken); and
interlocking (the number of courses linked by prerequisites into strings). He found
that the physics degree program was dense, tightly organized, and highly interlocked.
Management was also tightly organized but had low density and less interlocking.
The similar tightness created shared academic orientations as well as career identities
within each cohort. The application of Nespors construct (1990) to this current study
will inform whether the intersections between the major, minor, general studies and
licensure courses support the making or unmaking of the participants and their
identities as bilingual pre-service teachers.
Classes can be challenging for all pre-service students, especially Latinos.
These classes tend to promote and expect a linear, eurocentric style of speaking and
writing which may differ from communication styles of Latinos whose style is more
circular (Escamilla, 1993) This difference in communication through written English
can be judged as unintelligent and reinforce cultural deficit thinking. Students may
feel unsuccessful in these classes if they are not constructively taught explicit
differences between their style of discourse and the style expected by the college
History and childrens literature courses have a tendency to omit the
perspectives of ethnic groups. Concepts of manifest destiny, discovery of America,
and citizenship tend to omit or diminish the negative actions that have subordinated
Latinos in this country (Acuna, 2004; Banks, 2003; Garcia, 2001; Ogbu, 2000;
Trujillo, 1993). Omitting the contributions of Latino authors and the experiences
written about Latinos further diminishes their visibility and valuable contributions
(Nathenson- Mejia & Escamilla, 2003).
The studies on pre-service teacher preparation reveal the complex nature of
skills, knowledge, attitudes that colleges and universities must provide in addition to
the challenges these institutions must face in designing teacher preparation programs
that meet standards for reform while providing a coherent course of study to prepare
teachers for diverse teaching and learning contexts. The specialized course of study
required for bilingual/ESL teachers further influences the demand for quality
bilingual teacher pre-service preparation. The next section elaborates on the
knowledge and skills needed for bilingual pre-service teacher preparation.
Part IV-What Bilingual Teachers Need to Know and Have
According to August & Hakuta (1997), there is a critical shortage of teachers
nationally, especially in bilingual education. This teacher shortage is aggravated by
the lack of research regarding effective models for teacher preparation (August &
Hakuta). These researchers emphasize that quality bilingual pre-service programs
must include the following for pre-service teachers: (a) having language proficiency
in two languages, (b) an understanding of the impact of students cultures on their
learning, and, (c) how to aid students in the development of their language abilities.
Milk, Mercado and Sapiens (1992) also report that the preparation of teachers must
meet three distinct teacher audiences: (a) bilingual education, (b) English as a second
language, and (c) mainstream teachers. Milk et al. assert that teachers preparing for
bilingual settings are under different requirements from the other two audiences in
three distinct ways:
a) They must be proficient in two languages and be able to use both to
deliver effective instruction in all areas of the curriculum; b) they should be
skilled in integrating students at mixed levels of linguistic and conceptual
complexity; and, c) they should know the rules of appropriate behavior of at
least two ethnic groups and are able to incorporate this knowledge into the
teaching process (Faltis & Merino, 1992, pp. 277-278).
Bilingual Teacher Preparation
Bilingual teacher preparation programs were designed with the intent of
preparing future teachers to work with linguistically and culturally diverse student
populations, such as Latinos, who traditionally have not succeeded in American
schooling (San Miguel & Valencia, 1998; Trujillo, 1993). Bilingual teachers are
assumed to have demonstrated bilingual abilities, to have completed an elementary
teacher licensure program as well as specialty courses, or endorsement in
bilingual/bicultural education (Gomez, 1998). They also provide academic instruction
in two languages.
A study conducted by the National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education
(Menken & Antunez, 2001) documented the preparation and certification of teachers
working with LEP students. This study described the required coursework at
institutions of higher education in the fifty states. Only nineteen states reported
having various types of bilingual preparation or certification programs. Although
bilingual teacher education programs exist, the quality and quantity of coursework is
questionable and varies according to the institution.
Gomez (1998) investigated the extent to which higher education institutions
(colleges and universities) had developed the capacity to prepare teachers to work
with language minority students. Through a survey administered to one hundred and
thirty colleges and universities, he analyzed the perception of higher education
administrators including deans, associate deans, assistant deans, department chairs,
and program directors on the ability to prepare teachers to work with language
minority (LM) students. Using descriptive statistical methods, he found that less than
half of the faculty had experience teaching language minority students in public
school and that thirteen percent of the faculty could conduct a college level class in a
non-English language. In addition, only forty percent of the faculty agreed that their
institutions could prepare future teachers to teach LM students. Two significant
findings from his study suggest that a large number of pre-service teachers will not be
prepared to meet the schooling needs of language minority students and that only
small number of faculty have the ability to prepare future teachers to work effectively
with linguistically and culturally diverse students.
Walton, Baca & Escamilla (2002) conducted a national survey and nine case
studies of pre-service and in-service preparation of teachers for culturally and
linguistically diverse students. Institutions were asked to identify the type of program
offered: multicultural education programs, English as a second language programs,
and bilingual education programs. Some respondents collapsed their programs into
one type, making them difficult to analyze. Among the significant findings were,
The most comprehensive programs are university pre-service
programs and in-service programs. These programs also prepare the
least number of bilingual/ESL teachers. The least comprehensive
prepared the largest number of endorsed bilingual/ESL teachers.
Additionally, the majority of teacher education programs studied
stated they prepared bilingual specialists. Lastly, the integration of
bilingual /ESL preparation across the teacher education coursework,
was minimal (Retrieved from the internet, 4/24/2005,
http://www.crede.Org/research/pnd/2.1 es.html (p.2).
This would imply that specialty coursework content is not integrated in
general teacher education courses. The lack of consistency among programs,
structures, and preparation prompts one to ask, what must be done at colleges and
universities to improve teacher preparation of bilingual, culturally responsive
Standards for Bilingual/Multicultural Teachers
Promising teacher preparation and professional development is based on
knowledge of effective teaching (Rueda, 1998). Specifically, several groups have
delineated attributes of effective teaching in standards for teachers of English
language learners. Four organizations have developed standards to specifically
address the needs of ELLs:
1. National Association of Bilingual Education (NABE) Professional
Standards for the Preparation of Bilingual/Multicultural Teachers (1992).
2. National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) English
as a New Language Standards (1998).
3. Center for Research on Education, Diversity, & Excellence (CREDE)
Standards for Effective Teaching Practice (1998).
4. Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Pre-K-12
ESL Teacher Education Standards (1996).
These standards build upon general education program standards such as those
produced by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)
and by the Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI) of the U.S.
Department of Education. These standards address features such as language
proficiency in two languages, an understanding of the impact of students cultures on
their learning, and how to aid students in the development of their language abilities.
The standards for teaching and bilingual teacher preparation are well intended,
however little is known about their implementation. The NCATE standards are
addressed at the institutions involved in this study but standards for bilingual teacher
preparation or ELLs are not explicitly stated.
Though the standards exist to enhance teacher quality, the national shortage of
teachers is at issue with teacher quality (Menken & Antunez, 2001). In addition, the
number of Hispanics entering the field of teaching is dismal (Villegas & Clewell,
1998). These factors have led to lower standards in general for entering the teaching
According to Menken & Antunez (2001),
School districts have responded by lowering their standards for
entering the teaching profession. There are numerous back doors into
teaching that districts and states use to fill vacant classrooms. States
and districts hire teachers who are untrained and/or insufficiently
prepared to teach ELL to high standards (p. 8).
The implementation of standards and educational reform efforts have resulted
in four models that can respond and assist pre-service teachers in developing
frameworks that are responsive to linguistically and culturally diverse students
(Banks, 2003; Dilworth, 1992; Grant & Secada, 1990; Leighton, Hightower &
Rigley; 1995; Milk, 1990; NABE, 1992; Nieto, 1992/2004; TESOL, 1975; Zeichner,
1992). The four models are: 1) the special program model, 2) the in-service model or
technical assistance model; 3) the separate course model; and 4) the program reform
model. The special program model, usually federally funded, focuses on specific
issues or populations such as migrant students. Although this model is beneficial, it is
inadequate because it may disappear after the money is gone. This is consistent with
reproduction theory and no real change is affected.
The second model of in-service or technical assistance utilizes consultants or
outside experts to conduct training sessions to address needs of school districts and
teachers. This approach has been used frequently in multicultural, ESL and bilingual
teacher preparation. The third, the separate course model, offers courses that are add-
ons or electives outside of the required teacher education program. The first three
models are reproductive in nature and do little to change the status quo.
The program reform model is a program of courses resulting in specialized
credentials such as Bilingual Education or ESL. According to the aforementioned
researchers, the program reform model has helped produce a better-prepared
bilingual/ESL teaching force and has a better chance of producing teachers who are
trained to provide transformative educational experiences for students.
Bilingual Teacher Preparation Programs: Sites of Resistance
The teacher preparation programs in this section developed in an attempt to
better meet the needs of Spanish speaking and non-Spanish speaking Latino students
by transforming the currently ineffective cultural practices in teacher preparation. The
transformation of these cultural productions changes the previous educational failures
of these students into opportunities that positively affect their achievement in school.
These programs and the content of these classes are theoretically sites of
resistance to cultural reproduction or sites of libratory learning (Freire, 1974). Latino
participants are situated between the maintenance of the status quo and the political
rhetoric of improving Hispanic student achievement by preparing culturally diverse
teachers who are trained to work with the linguistic and cultural needs of Hispanics in
an attempt to transform educational opportunities for Hispanics. The tension created
by the college or university goal, which are hidden and underlay maintaining the
status quo in society, against the simultaneous goal of improving educational
opportunities for Latinos is played out through negotiating the resistance or tension
by the pre-service teacher. The Latino pre-service teacher resists reproductive efforts
of the college while trying to border cross and succeed in the college setting towards
the goal of becoming a bilingual teacher.
Parla (1994) described a pilot study of a pre-service training program
developed for 120 pre-service teachers who worked with LEP students.
All educators must face the reality of culturally and linguistically
diverse learners and often, limited English Proficient (LEP) students in
todays classrooms. School districts that never before had to instruct
these students are now finding they must meet this need. Often, the
number of bilingually trained personnel in these areas is limited. We
must include training components relevant to the Multicultural
Teacher Education Model. These training components include
knowledge in cultural sensitivity, linguistic diversity, and teaching
This training model described three additional components in a teacher
preparation program: a theoretical base, cultural base, and experiential base. The three
components were intended to prepare participants to work with LEP students in
multicultural environments. The theoretical base provides a framework that supports
the belief that teachers must increase their ability to understand LEP students. This is
accomplished by providing information on and about the nature of multicultural
education and the formation of self-identity as developed by James T. Banks, (1988).
The linguistic and cultural bases are intended to translate theories to classroom
application and increase the worldview and global perspectives of participants.
Theories addressed include second language acquisition; the relationship between
language and culture; and how to affirm the culture of diverse learners. The
experiential base provides pre-service teachers with hands on experiences with
students in schools under the guidance of master teachers. This concept allows
students to apply theory to practice and to reflect on the practices of master teachers.
Parlas work describes training activities for teacher trainers to help pre-
service teachers apply theory to practice. It also helps connect teacher practice to
theoretical concepts. Results from her pilot study provide important implications for
developing cultural sensitivity in pre-service teachers.
Although not explicit to pre-service teacher preparation, the Kamehameha
Project (KEEP), (Vogt, Jordan & Tharp, 1993) is an example of modifying
instruction to make it more culturally appropriate. The KEEP project began when
perceived cultural discontinuities in instruction were identified as a major problem in
the poor academic achievement of Native Hawaiian children. It was a privately
funded and multidisciplinary educational research effort. Its purpose was to explore
remedies for Hawaiian childrens chronic academic underachievement by changing
certain educational practices. The success of this project was based on changes in
instructional styles by using those that more closely matched the cultural styles of the
children. Thirty-seven native Hawaiian teachers participated in this project because
they felt an obligation to contribute to the revival and perpetuation of their home
language and culture that had once been banned. Though trained in traditional teacher
training colleges, the teachers implemented values, beliefs and their native language
in order to preserve Hawaiian language, culture, and traditions not recognized in the
traditional school setting. One example was the change from phonics to
comprehension instruction, which resembled the talk-story, a familiar linguistic event
in the Hawaiian community. The tension between resisting the traditional school
instruction and implementing traditional cultural styles resulted in transformation of
schooling and achievement for Hawaiian students thus resisting the status quo of
traditional school instruction.
Alternative /Emergency Licensure
Alternative and emergency licensure programs provide alternative ways for
professionals to become teachers thus widening the pool. The alternative license
allows individuals with bachelor degrees to be employed as teachers while they
complete the requirements for licensure at a university (Feistritzer & Chester, 1995).
These programs provide mentor teachers who are available to help the new teachers
apply what they are learning in their licensure program to the classroom. Usually, a
portion of the new teachers salary is used to offset the cost of university courses and
provide stipends to the mentor teacher. Alternative certification has proven to be an
effective means of increasing the number of minority teachers into teaching
(Feistritzer, 1998; Stoddart & Floden, 1995). This has been the primary means of
attracting minority professionals in Texas into teaching since 1990. Alternative
licensure can appeal to paraprofessionals who already possess a BA degree as they
can continue to work at the school rather than take courses at a college campus (U.S
Department of Education, 2004).
The United States Department of Education (2004) conducted descriptive case
studies of sixteen alternative program sites. The findings from six exemplary sites,
which were screened from the original sixteen, described what strong programs look
like, who they attracted and how they put into practice six features of alternative route
programs that improved success for alternative certification. These exemplary
programs implemented initiatives:
a) that recruited strong candidates with bachelors degrees, b) that accepted
candidates who had passed a rigorous screening process; c) that were field
based; d) included coursework that provided similar experiences to teaching;
e) worked closely with mentor teachers; f) and who met high performance
standards to complete the program (p. 4).
These six features ensured that the teachers were well equipped to serve
students in todays classrooms.
As we consider implementing alternative licensure programs we must
consider Allegros (1992) cautions regarding financial burdens, course work, required
district staff development, participation on school committees, and lack of mentor
teachers. Datedness of degrees and candidates pre-conceived notions of teaching are
also an area of concern (Hidalgo & Huling-Austin, 1993).These conditions can create
retention problems for school districts utilizing alternative licensure.
Findings from these key studies indicate that alternative licensure programs
are effective at addressing the immediate and critical teacher shortage, but logistical
challenges such as lack of mentor teachers, additional required staff development, and
participation on school committees can undermine intended long-term effectiveness
because they cost more and require more time. Both are issues that further challenge
limited resources of districts. In order to be effective, programs must utilize practices
that are flexible and creative in recruiting and retaining individuals in these programs.
Alternative Projects: Foreign Trained Teachers
School districts have also turned to hiring bilingual teachers from other
countries. Schnailberg (1994a) cautioned that this effort must make sure these
individuals qualify for state certification. Scandal resulted from one large Texas
school district that recruited teachers from Mexico who did not qualify for state
teacher certification. Valdez, Etxeberria, Pescador, and Ambisca (2000) also studied
exchange teachers from Spain and Mexico. These teachers were not always linguistic
or cultural matches for minority Spanish speaking students they worked with due to
their deficit perspective of Spanish speaking students in the U. S. This deficit notion
of language and culture can produce mixed results and unintended difficulties for
schools and communities (Schnailberg).
Varisco de Garcia & Garcia (1996) have also described the exchange of
Mexican teachers (Normalistas) as a practical effort to meet the growing numbers of
Spanish speaking students. Project Alianza (1999) focuses on utilizing Mexican
Normalista teachers as resources for bilingual education in the United States. These
teachers are educated in Mexican teacher colleges (Normal Schools), reside in the
U.S. and aspire to re-enter the teaching profession in the U.S. This teacher exchange
has taken on the challenge of reducing the structural, cultural, and linguistic obstacles
Mexican Normal School trained teachers experience here in the United States (p. ii).
This project advises that normalista teachers who have received licenciatura
(Bachelors equivalent) in Mexico will be required to take bilingual education
coursework in addition to English language and test taking skills.
Bustos-Flores & Riojas-Clark (1997) used the Instructional Snapshot (IS)
approach as a way of preparing pre-service teachers to work with immigrant
populations. This study focused on a group of ten pre-service teachers who observed
elementary and secondary classrooms in Michoacan, Mexico. Various lenses were
used to observe instructional practices. A general finding of their study revealed that
meaningful pre-service activities that are culturally and educationally related to the
student population teachers will be teaching had a greater impact on teacher
development. Teachers will have a greater understanding and be culturally sensitive if
they actively observe and experience the culture they will be teaching. Participants in
this study realized four main points, a) Recent immigrant students need a period of
transition to adjust to schooling in this country, b) Teachers should plan appropriate
lessons to accommodate the adjustment period; c) Bilingual teachers need to have
linguistic and socio-cultural understanding of ones own ethnic group, d) And,
bilingual teachers need to have an understanding of immigrant childrens schooling
experience in their native country. An overall finding of this study was that pre-
service teachers reaffirmed their commitment to teach English language learners and
were proud of their abilities and attributes as prospective bilingual-bicultural teachers.
Related to the recruitment and retention of Latinos in teacher preparation is
high stakes testing for initial teacher licensure. High stakes testing is another barrier
that Latino pre-service teachers face (Bustos-Flores & Riojas-Clark, 1997). Many
researchers have indicated that there is a high incidence of failure rate among
prospective Latino teachers (Savage & Briggs, 1993; Valencia & Aburto, 1991;
Valencia & Guadarrama, 1995). These researchers cite three main reasons for
supporting alternative assessment of Latino candidates. First, minority pre-service
candidates potential may go undiscovered because they are barred from continuing
in college or student teaching because they fail the test. Second, remediation may
indirectly penalize them due to increased costs for additional remedial classes, and for
retaking the tests. Third, no correlation has been established between the state
licensing tests (PLACE, or PRAXIS) and teacher performance.
The Educational Testing Service (2000) revealed a significant finding related
to teacher performance and licensure testing in a policy information report. Summary
findings from this three-year qualitative study on the effectiveness of institutions that
prepare teachers noted higher scores in institutions that had higher numbers of
ethnically diverse faculty, and higher scores on state licensing tests in institutions that
promoted both content and professional knowledge in the teacher course path.
Colleges that focused more on professional knowledge scored lower than colleges
that focused on a balance of both. However, a quantitative study conducted by Childs,
Ross, and Jaciw (2002) of 535 pre-service teachers regarding initial teacher
certification testing yielded varied responses. The pre-service teachers in the study
were primarily concerned with its purpose, content, and form. Additionally the pre-
service participants were hesitant to accept its application as the final step in the
teacher certification process. This study points to implications for creative approaches
to increase the pass rate for pre-service teachers.
Part V: Models of Teacher Preparation For Bilineual/ESL Paraprofessionals
In addition to the models such as Normalistas and alternative licensure
previously described, career ladder projects have also been another means of
addressing the teacher shortage while serving as a model for transformation in teacher
preparation programs specifically aimed at recruitment of bilingual paraprofessionals
(Bustos-Flores, Keehn, & Perez, 2002). The challenges in teacher preparation are
how to help paraprofessionals successfully negotiate the tensions between
contributing to the creation of a more diverse workforce while succeeding in a
traditional teacher preparation course path.
Career ladder projects have been promoted by the Department of Education,
currently known as The Office of English Language Acquisition, and formerly known
as Office for Bilingual Education and Minority Language Affairs (OBEMLA). Career
ladder projects are a means of increasing the number of minorities in college and
teacher preparation by focusing on the recruitment of paraprofessionals who are
already working in school districts (Aragon, 2003; Genzuk & Baca, 1998).
Benchmark literature on career ladder projects addresses and describes the
rationale for project design (Genzuk, 1995; Clewall & Villegas, 1998; Diaz -Rico &
Smith, 2002). The Latino Teacher Pipeline Project in Los Angeles (Genzuk & Baca,
1998) and Career Pathways Project (Clewall & Villegas) have been fundamental to
this field. After five years of reflection on the Latino Teacher Project, Genzuk found
that the needs of paraprofessionals differed from traditional college students for a
variety of reasons. The key findings were that effective projects provide social,
academic, and financial supports to meet the unique needs of paraprofessionals. As
non-traditional students, paraprofessionals are likely to be the first in their family to
go to college (Aragon, Clewell & Villegas; Sandoval-Lucero, 2004), and therefore,
they may have little knowledge of skills needed to succeed academically in college.
They may encounter difficulties that are more academic and have a lower-than-
average pass rate on exam tests for teacher education (Gillis, 1991). They may also
experience a sense of isolation, particularly when they attend colleges or universities
that are predominately Anglo (Gandara, 1995; Genzuk).
The majorities of para-educators are from low socio-economic status and
depend greatly on financial aid to pursue degrees in higher education (Niclos &
Brown, 1989). Social and academic supports within career ladder programs are
intended to address these issues by providing cohort structures, classes at night, and
family activities (Genzuk & Baca, 1998). Social, financial, and academic support
provided by career ladders are strategies to support these participants in developing
the social capital that middle class students, who typically attend college already
possess (Gonzales, Jovel, & Stoner, 2003).
Lavandez (1994) conducted a study of paraprofessionals involved in the
Latino Teacher project in order to develop a theoretical model related to the teaching
aspirations of 662 Chicano/Latino paraprofessionals in a large school district in
California. Her research questions explored the effects of literacy factors associated
with the teaching aspirations of Chicana/Latina paraprofessionals. It explored the
relationship of English and Non-English literacy factors and the relationship between
perceived obstacles and the pursuit of teaching as a career. The bilingual Spanish-
English participants possessed varying degrees of proficiency in English. The
findings from the survey revealed that participants held high levels of literacy in both
English and non-English language. However, literacy in the non-English language
(Spanish) was the greatest predictor of teaching motivation for participants in the
study. Thus supporting the notion that English educational advancement is not just a
matter of actual literacy attainment, rather it supports the notion that non-English
literacy, in conjunction with English literacy, may play a larger role in educational
advancement and the ability to pursue completion of a degree in higher education.
Another study conducted by Monzo & Rueda (2001) focused on
paraeducators in career ladder projects and their interactions with their supervising
teachers by examining the socio-cultural factors on the interactions between Latino
students and Latino paraeducators and the relationships that resulted from these
interactions. The study explored whether knowledge of the students culture and
communities, primary language, and interaction styles helps paraeducators and
cooperating teachers meet the academic and social needs of students.
They found that paraeducators are key resources for teachers who come from
cultural backgrounds that are different from their students. Latino paraeducators in
this study used strategies that were cultural and community based. Examples of these
strategies include a relaxed instructional style, accepting students ways of being, and
demonstrating carino. The study revealed that teachers did not use these cultural
behaviors but that paraeducators did. The lack of training of teachers to work and
supervise paraeducators and the lack of planning time were two main reasons why
teachers failed to utilize the cultural capital of paraeducators.
Career ladder projects contribute to the creation of a more diverse teaching
force but continue to exist within an educational setting that advantages white,
English speaking, traditionally schooled, college bound students (Villegas & Lucas,
2002; Stanton-Gonzales & Stoner, 2003). While existing information addresses the
teacher shortage by focusing on the pragmatic aspects of career ladders for
paraprofessionals, little information is available regarding the personal, social, and
academic experiences of participants in bilingual pre-service career ladder projects.
Summary and Conclusion
Darling-Hammond, Bransford, & LePage (2005), leaders in teacher
preparation, note that various models of teacher preparation have existed and
researchers agree that teachers must have a strong knowledge of subject matter, how
people learn and develop, as well as how children learn and acquire knowledge.
It is critical that teachers be prepared to deal responsibly with issues of race,
ethnicity, class, and language (Villegas & Lucas, 2002, p. xi). Teachers in todays
schools must also value and understand dimensions of social inequality and
oppression and how the government and structures of schools, such as student
groupings, support societal inequities (McCarthy & Whitlock, 2002). Teacher
preparation must help future teachers who will work with the growing numbers of
linguistic and culturally diverse students in our country (Banks, 2003; Garcia, 2001;
Lemberger, 1997; Villegas, & Lucas) by providing the knowledge, skills and cultural
respect to work with a linguistically and culturally diverse student population (Gay
2000; Shannon, 1999; Sleeter, 2001; Villegas & Lucas).
The knowledge and skills that all teachers must have and be able use are
important for pre-service teachers to succeed. Bilingual teachers must possess this
same knowledge compounded by additional specialty coursework such as academic
language proficiency, second language acquisition, and the interconnectedness of
language and culture. These endeavors at reform not only address teacher shortages,
they are also sites of resistance attempting to transform the inequities in society while
providing educational opportunities for Latino pre-service teachers
To address inequities in society, reform projects in teacher preparation
programs have been implemented to address the growing population of students with
linguistic and cultural differences. However, until the academic and social issues and
factors that Latinos face in college and more specifically in teacher preparation are
acknowledged and transformed as well, the issues of recruitment and retention of
Latinos in college and in teacher preparation will continue to grow. The scarcity of
studies regarding Latinos and bilingual teacher preparation clearly indicates the need
for further research. This study adds to the literature of bilingual teacher preparation
and illuminates the inequities present in universities and colleges that Latinos face.
However, as the teaching force becomes more homogeneous and the student
population is becoming more diverse (Villegas & Clewall, 1998) the educational
system and teacher preparation must focus on reform by placing issues of diversity
at the heart of teacher preparation (Villegas & Lucas, 2002, p. xii). Reform in
teacher preparation programs must be implemented to resist the reproductive nature
of schools (Cochran-Smith, 2001; Nieto, 2004). Issues of diversity also include the
need for well-trained teachers of English language learners (ELLs). Various studies
indicate the need for a well-trained and highly qualified work force for Spanish-
speaking English language learners (August & Hakuta, 1997). However, little is
known about how to best train these teachers. Current reforms in teacher preparation
include efforts at increasing the number of Latino teachers through non-traditional
teacher preparation pathways while decreasing the academic gap between Spanish
speaking students and White students (Clewall & Villegas, 2001; Genzuk & Baca,
1998; Villegas & Lucas, 2002).
Approach and Rationale
Qualitative researchers are interested in how participants make meaning of
their experiences, lives and structures of the world (Creswell, 1994). Creswell states,
Qualitative research takes place in natural settings where the researcher is an
instrument of the data collection who gathers words or pictures, analyzes
them inductively, focuses on the meaning of the participants, and describes a
process that is expressive and persuasive in language (p.14).
This qualitative study utilized a descriptive design to explore the phenomena
of the social and academic experiences and sites of tension that Latino
paraprofessionals experienced in a pre-service bilingual teacher preparation program.
Because the social and academic experiences and sites of tension are experiences that
held meaning for the participants in this study, these experiences are best addressed
by qualitative measures (Creswell, 1994; Schutt, 2001).
This study abides by the guidelines set forth by the Human Subjects Review
form. Human Subjects approval from the University was obtained in January 2005.
Data collection and analysis was conducted from April through September 2005. The
remainder of this section describes the participants, context, and methods of data
analysis used in the study.
While research has been conducted on the preparation of pre-service teachers,
studies have not been conducted on the social and academic experiences of Latino
pre-service teachers and how these experiences support or challenge their identities as
bilingual teachers. The historical context of racism has been and continues to be
present in educational institutions particularly for Latinos (Banks, 2003; Garcia,
2001; Lemberger, 1997; Villegas & Lucas, 2002). Therefore, the presence of
institutional racism and whether or not the participants in this study experienced
institutional racism is important to address. Three questions guided the data collection
and provided a framework for analysis in this study.
1. What are the social and academic tensions experienced by Latinos in a
pre-service teacher preparation program?
2. Did they experience institutional racism? In what ways and contexts?
3. How did the experience of negotiating sites of tension influence the
social and academic development of Latino pre-service teachers?