In Quest of Freedom: Towards Critical Pedagogy in the Education of Bilingual Youth
by Donald Hones — 2002
There have been few studies done on bilingual middle and high school students, curricula, and programs in the United States. Although recently research in this area has increased, much of it tends to focus on how to prepare bilingual students with academic language, content area knowledge, and learning strategies needed for academic success. Nevertheless, a growing body of scholarly literature suggests the value of a dialogical process, especially in work with students who are not part of the dominant cultural and linguistic group. To analyze the need and the potential for critical pedagogy in the lives of bilingual students, I pursue the following research questions: What can a narrative, dialogic research process reveal about the lives of bilingual students, in and out of school? How can critical dialogues connect bilingual students’ lives with the curriculum of high schools? What can be the role of a university teacher education program in fostering such a dialogue about the curriculum, pedagogy, and students’ lives? Through a narrative, participatory research process the voices and experiences of three bilingual high school students are presented and interpreted through a critical pedagogical lens. The general lack of critical engagement that characterizes their formal high school experiences is noted. Nevertheless, the potential for a dialogic approach to learning becomes clear through the interactions of high school students, researchers, and preservice teachers from the university. Suggestions for researchers and educators are provided to encourage further development of critical approaches with bilingual youth.
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