Dual language K-2 Latina teachers: Juxtaposing linguistic identities and pedagogical practices on the U.S.-Mexico frontera

Brenda Oriana Fuentes, University of Texas at El Paso


This ethnographic study explored the linguistic identities and pedagogical practices of Latina bilingual-certified K-2 teachers in a dual language (DL) program in the U.S.-Mexico border area. Drawing on sociocultural theory, methods of data collection and analysis focused on linking DL Latina teachers’ identity formation with both their conceptions of teaching and their actual pedagogical practices related to language use. The findings from this study painted a portrait of how DL teachers’ languages, literacies, and identities intertwined to shape their pedagogical practice. The linguistic backgrounds of DL teachers on the border were shaped by country of origin and languages, schooling experiences, and transnationalism. The language practices of the teachers included the maintenance of Spanish, the push for English-only and linguistic motherwork (Ek et al., 2013). Their ideologies about Spanish, English, and the non-standard varieties of Spanish and English were present in their language dynamics. In conjunction with teacher interviews, classroom observations revealed that pedagogical practices were influenced by the linguistic identities of the teachers. The teachers’ beliefs about language learning were exemplified by the language they preferred to teach. Teachers’ linguistic repertoires were partly positioned within the continua of biliteracy (Hornberger, 1989; 2003), and their Funds of Knowledge (Moll & González, 2005). Additionally, teachers’ language use during instruction exemplified their translanguaging practices (García, 2009). The implications of this research for pre-service and in-service DL teachers include the necessity for opportunities to explore identity formation, develop academic Spanish skills, and knowledge about bilingual education models. Research is needed to study teachers from their point of view and within their own teaching contexts (Guardia-Jackson, 2009), including more ethnographies of bilingual-certified teachers from marginalized populations.

Subject Area

Bilingual education|Linguistics|Elementary education|Latin American Studies|Language

Recommended Citation

Fuentes, Brenda Oriana, "Dual language K-2 Latina teachers: Juxtaposing linguistic identities and pedagogical practices on the U.S.-Mexico frontera" (2015). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3708538.