“Yeah, Things are Rough in Mexico. Remember We Talked About Hard Times?” Process Drama and a Teachers Role in Critically Engaging Students to Dialogue About Social Inequities in a Dual Language Classroom

Abstract

The majority of dual language education programs in the U.S. context include children coming together with the long-term goal of becoming bilingual, bicultural, and biliterate (Christian in Two-way bilingual education: students learning through two languages. Educational Practice Report: 12, 1994; Howard et al. in Trends in two-way immersion education: a review of the literature. Center for Research on the Education of Students Placed at Risk (CRESPAR), Report 63, 2003). It is urgent that practitioners and scholars who see the value of the TWDL model continue to explore methods that address social inequities that arise in highly contested contexts such as an urban public school classroom. Drawing from a critical consciousness (Freire in Harv Educ Rev 40:499–521. https://doi.org/10.17763/haer.40.3.h76250x720j43175, 1998) framework and discourse analysis methods this paper explores how one dual language teacher critically engaged students to dialogue about undocumented immigration through the implementation of process drama. Findings indicate that students will engage about social inequities when teachers facilitate discussions by pushing students for further inquiry, to provide contextual information, giving students a voice, or affirming their responses. The urgency to raise critical consciousness in two-way bilingual education contexts also emerged as these dual language programs continue to be gentrified across the nation (Palmer et al. in Theory Pract. https://doi.org/10.1080/00405841.2019.1569376, 2019; Valdés in Harv Educ Rev 67(3):391–429, 1997; Valdez et al. in Urban Rev 48(4):601–627, 2016).

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Spanish version of Amazing Grace (Hoffman 1996).

  2. 2.

    All names of people and locations are pseudonyms.

  3. 3.

    The author uses a lowercase “w” for the label white to problematize and challenge representations of white supremacy in society and in school settings.

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Correspondence to Suzanne García-Mateus.

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Suzanne’s research examines the intersection of race, language, ethnicity, and class in the two-way dual language classroom. She recently completed a research project interviewing Latinx parents about their family language policy decisions to raise bilingual children. She teaches courses that focus on emergent bilinguals with an emphasis on issues related to social (in)equities. Each course is framed to build on the rich cultural and linguistic practices all children bring to the classroom.

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García-Mateus, S. “Yeah, Things are Rough in Mexico. Remember We Talked About Hard Times?” Process Drama and a Teachers Role in Critically Engaging Students to Dialogue About Social Inequities in a Dual Language Classroom. Urban Rev 53, 107–126 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11256-020-00555-1

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Keywords

  • Social justice
  • Two-way immersion
  • Process drama