Academic journal article High School Journal

Advancing Border Pedagogies: Understandings of Citizenship through Comparisons of Home to School Contexts

Academic journal article High School Journal

Advancing Border Pedagogies: Understandings of Citizenship through Comparisons of Home to School Contexts

Article excerpt

Border pedagogies recognize citizenship as a contentious privilege afforded to some but not others. In reconciling the multiple and often conflicting renditions of citizen/citizenship, this qualitative single case study found that preservice teachers benefit from examining the great civic divide between home and school and in confronting spaces that value citizens/citizenship differently. In doing so, we argue that dislodging a teacher education candidate's previously held assumptions works to broaden understandings of a community of wealth and the importance of linguistically and culturally diverse experiences as preservice teachers embody opportunities for participation in a democracy.

Keywords: Citizenship education; Hispanic American Students; culture; Secondary Education; Community


For Latinas/os the struggle for U.S. citizenship is entwined within an enduring history of marginalization marked by race, class, gender, language, and immigration status. From the rejection of articles in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848 to the erection of a border fence, the geopolitical tensions between the United States and others embodies a metaphorical borderland in which civic identity is characterized by "crossings, invasions, [and] lines of defense" (Rosaldo, 1997, p. 33). Regardless of the depictions of Latinas/os as cultural invaders or powerless, passive, and docile casualties of conquest and colonization (Flores & Benmayor, 1997), Latinas/os have also asserted their civic identities in ways that counter majoritarian tales (Delgado, 1989; Delgado & Stefancic, 1993). A long history of resistance can be found across the southwest in community-founded mutualistas (Salinas, 2001); and/or in civic organizations like the G.I. Forum, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the Brown Berets, La Raza Unida Party, the Mexican American Youth Organization (MAYO) (Moreno, 1999); and/or in the legal precedents of Del Rio Independent School District v. Salvatierra (1930), Alvarez v. the Board of Trustees of the Lemon Grove

School District (1931), Mendez v. Westminster School District (1946), and Delgado, et al. v. Bastrop Independent School District (1948) (San Miguel, 2011); and/or in the lives of Dolores Huerta, Nydia Velazquez, Emma Tenayuca and Alicia Dickerson Montemayor. Therefore, we argue that the metaphorical space also defies the "hierarchical schemes of racial and cultural difference" (Ong, 1999, p. 262). In fact, Latinas/os have long engaged in political dissention that in both overt and subtle ways make claims to citizenship and culture inseparable and visible (Flores & Benmayor, 1997).

In this qualitative research project we used a single case analysis to examine a secondary social studies teacher education candidate's understandings of the civic identity of Latinas/os. Through a modified funds of knowledge course assignment, teacher education candidates were asked to gain great insights into one of their students' lives as a citizen both inside and outside of school. More critical teacher preparation programs often ask their candidates to extend their understanding of young learners beyond the walls of classrooms and into their home communities where they can learn more about the wealth of communities often marginalized by schools (Moll, Amanti, Neff & Gonzalez, 1992; Yosso, 2005). We posed the question, how does a preservice teacher reconcile multiple understandings of citizenship in diverse teaching and learning communities? The course assignment was meant to explore communal (Knight & Watson, 2014) or cultural notions (Rosaldo, 1993, 1997) of citizenship and expose tensions that erupt when preservice teachers encounter conflicting understandings or epistemologies. Accordingly, Knight and Watson (2014) encouraged the examination of youths' civic learning and action across multiple contexts including school and home communities thus underscoring the importance of recognizing different ways of being and experiencing political and social dynamics. …

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