Walk With Me: Caminatas as a Way for Developing Culturally Sustaining Literacy Pedagogies With Preservice Teachers

Walk With Me: Caminatas as a Way for Developing Culturally Sustaining Literacy Pedagogies With Preservice Teachers

Minda Morren López (Texas State University, USA) and Tara A. Newman (Texas State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2722-1.ch025

Abstract

Effectively preparing teachers to work with culturally and linguistically diverse students has been a persistent issue in literacy teacher education in the United States for the past several decades. To prepare preservice teachers to work effectively with all students, including emerging bilinguals, and to engage in culturally sustaining pedagogies, this chapter presents a form of community mapping authors call “caminatas,” which was implemented in a short-term study abroad program for preservice teachers. Examples are provided of ways in which the caminatas promote culturally sustaining pedagogies for preservice teachers as well as increased understandings of teaching multilingual students through the five elements of revised indigenous framework. It is crucial to provide preservice teachers spaces for working with and alongside their students in local communities to build relationships and knowledge of how to develop culturally sustaining pedagogies with and for their students.
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Introduction

Effectively preparing teachers to work with a culturally and linguistically diverse student population has been a persistent issue in literacy teacher education for the past several decades. It is a challenging endeavor not only because of the complexities of learning to teach and the changing demographics of students but also because of the complex andchanging nature of literacies (Leu et. al., 2017). To be literate today does not necessarily mean one will be literate tomorrow, as technologies and social practices are constantly evolving. While literacies are constantly changing, rather than resist the dynamic nature of the teaching profession, successful teachers embrace and evolve with it. To prepare teachers for this dynamism, there is a need for increased attention to multiple ways of knowing and doing (Haberman, 2011), including utilizing students’ communities as vital resources for teaching and learning (López, 2020). By building relationships with students and honoring the resources and life experiences they bring, teachers may develop culturally sustaining pedagogies (Paris, 2012) that connect academic instruction with languages, literacies, and knowledges of students and their communities (Au & Kawakami, 2012; Delgado-Gaitan, 1990; Ladson Billings, 1994).

In order to prepare preservice teachers (PTs) to work effectively with all students, including emerging bilinguals, and to engage in culturally sustaining pedagogies for literacy instruction, the present chapter presents a form of community mapping called caminatas. Community mapping is an inquiry-based data collection method used internationally in education and social sciences to identify community assets and resources (Boyle-Baise, 2002; Ordoñez-Jasis & Jasis, 2011; Tredway, 2003). Caminatas are a version of community mapping where educators walk through the area together with local residents who assist in the documentation and learning process by identifying, describing, and explaining features of their community. The term caminatas comes from the Spanish word “to walk” and was chosen specifically because of what the term evokes culturally, namely that the teacher and the student walk together on a path towards learning. This chapter focuses on how teacher educators can engage PTs in caminatas. The theoretical background and practical applications are grounded in an extended example of how caminatas can be implemented with PTs. The ways in which the caminatas promote culturally sustaining pedagogies is presented through the five elements of Au’s (1998) revised indigenous framework (Keehne, Sarsona, Kawakami, & Au, 2018) and provide support for increased understandings of teaching multilingual students. It is crucial to provide PTs spaces for working with and alongside their students in local communities (Villenas, 2019) to build relationships and knowledge of how to develop culturally sustaining pedagogies with and for their students. Additionally, the chapter discusses how to engage with PTs before and after the caminatas to deepen their own understandings of the ideologies that may influence their views on teaching and learning.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Indigenous language: A languages that is spoken regionally by a group of indigenous peoples.

Community Mapping: An inquiry-based data collection and communication tool used internationally in various fields to identify community assets and resources, including languages, arts, literacies, networks, and social, educational or economic opportunities.

Linguicism: A term to describe discrimination akin to racism based on a person’s language, perceived language ability, or variety of language.

Culturally Sustaining Pedagogies: An instructional method that prompts students to assume an active role in the classroom and have a catalyst role in unfolding lesson objectives.

Ethnic Groups: Communities or populations made up of people who share a common cultural background or descent.

Emerging Bilinguals: A term or label used in the United States to describe students who have home languages other than English and are learning English in school. The term attempts to move educators to focus on students’ assets (i.e., their home languages) rather than deficits i.e., English). As with all terms, this term also has limiatations, i.e., some students described as emerging bilinguals may in fact be multilingual.

Indigenous Framework: A framework first proposed by Au (1998) and later revised by Keehne, Sarsona, Kawakami, and Au (2018). It promotes culturally sustaining pedagogies and provides support for increased understandings of teaching multilingual students.

Public Pedagogies: Learning that takes place outside of schools; it can be in formal institutions such as zoos or museums as well as through informal sites such as public outdoor spaces (plazas, parks, neighborhoods), the internet, and social media.

Multiliteracies: An approach to literacy learning and practice that acknowledges and encourages multiple modes of communication (various texts, semiotics, technologies) along with variation in languages and literacies.

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