Eight Versions of the Visit to la Barranca: Critical Discourse Analysis of a Study-Abroad Narrative from Mexico

By Menard-Warwick, Julia; Palmer, Deborah | Teacher Education Quarterly, Winter 2012 | Go to article overview

Eight Versions of the Visit to la Barranca: Critical Discourse Analysis of a Study-Abroad Narrative from Mexico


Menard-Warwick, Julia, Palmer, Deborah, Teacher Education Quarterly


At first, I wanted to write this journal on the visit to the Barranca, but then I thought more into it. I feel that most people will feel very emotional and touched right after such a visitation. However, I feel that people may naturally but unintentionally fake such an epiphany, meaning that they may fool themselves that they feel this way but then after a while forget about how they felt then. (Surjit, (1) U.S. student in Mexico)

In 2007, eleven diverse undergraduate students from Texas spent a month in Mexico on a study-abroad program sponsored by the School of Education at their university. A central goal of the program was to facilitate pre-service teachers' ability to articulate a critical understanding of the needs of second language (L2) learners in their future public school classrooms. To this end, the students lived with Mexican host families, visited local schools, studied Spanish, took a Second Language Acquisition (SLA) class focused on immigrant language learners, (2) participated in numerous field trips, and wrote about their experiences in a biweekly journal. In the journal entry above, the only male student in the group reports his decision not to write about a field trip that took place in the first week of the program, a visit to a family living in poverty in an area known as La Barranca (the Ravine).

In his journal, Surjit raises the possibility that the strong emotions evoked by the visit could lead to what he calls a "fake epiphany," whose insights will soon be forgotten. Indeed, his seven classmates who submitted (highly emotional) journal entries on the Barranca visit never mentioned it again in later journals. Nevertheless, a close reading of the Barranca narratives makes it clear that no other event during the study-abroad program brought out such strong feelings and claims of new insight in so many people. Given that a central purpose of the program was to help prospective teachers better understand the backgrounds and needs of Mexican-origin children in their future classrooms, (3) this event would seem to be key to the students' developing awareness of sociopolitical issues in immigrant education.

In this article, we use critical discourse analysis (Fairclough, 1992) to examine the eight narrative accounts of the Barranca field trip and to answer the following questions:

1. What perspectives do the students construct on educational and social issues in Mexico and their own relationship to those issues in writing about the Barranca visit?

2. What linguistic resources do the students use to construct their perspectives?

3. To what extent do the Barranca narratives demonstrate students' critical understanding of the potential needs of immigrant students in U.S. public schools?

We conclude by drawing implications for future study-abroad programs that aim to foster critical sociocultural awareness in prospective teachers.

Teacher Development

Given the increasing diversity of students in typical American public school classrooms, it is a high priority in teacher education to prepare prospective teachers to successfully manage linguistic, cultural, ethnic, and racial diversity (Gay, 2003; Nieto, 2002). Key to this endeavor is critical reflection: engaging students in self-reflective writing and discussion that requires attention to their own identities and that pushes them to deeper understandings of the inequities in education (Alfaro & Quezada, 2010; Brown & Kraehe, 2010; Zeichner & Liston, 1987). While it is never clear what new teachers will carry with them when they enter the classroom, the combination of experiences and reflection in teacher education has the potential to allow students to understand their own privileged positions in society and find ways to actively challenge structural inequalities, rather than come away "paralyzed" at their own inability to fix the inequalities they have confronted (McDonald, 2005).

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Eight Versions of the Visit to la Barranca: Critical Discourse Analysis of a Study-Abroad Narrative from Mexico
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.