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  1. Cultural competence in teaching immigrant-origin youth : the ethic of Cariño

    Lomelí, Karla
    [Stanford, California] : [Stanford University], 2020

    This dissertation documents the elements that characterize the perspectives and practices of four high school teachers identified as highly effective educators working with immigrant-origin Latina and Latino students in urban settings. They are distinguished in consistently taking into account their students' cultural backgrounds and personal narratives. Using portraiture methodology, this study examines the development of their cultural competencies and the myriad ways each one promotes, supports, and celebrates the learning of their immigrant-origin Latinx students. Data sources include semi-structured interviews with the teachers, administrators, and members of the community, classroom observations and audio files, extensive field notes, and demographic data about the local context of the school where the four teachers have been teaching. The teachers' commitment to serve immigrant-origin students was manifested in their persistent efforts to get to know their students well, to build strong relationships and to validate their voices. With rigor and thoughtfully planned lessons, they engaged their students in Socratic discourse about controversial current political issues and debates. These teachers demonstrated cariño, an ethical and moral foundation of teaching and education more generally. The ethic of cariño is explored and further conceptualized throughout this work. Eight emergent themes were found to demonstrate the ethic of cariño—four focused on perspectives and four on practices. The four perspectives that drove these teachers ranged from critical consciousness and equity-driven perspectives to embracing a reflective ethos viewing their students wholistically. The practices they manifested included curricular rigor and building relationships with students as well as engaging them and developing relevant curricula. The four perspectives and practices were not fixed categories, and all four teachers illustrated them in different degrees. The data sources revealed a fluid and dynamic relationship between the teacher practices and the teacher perspectives—a cyclical process that was generative in nature and informed the teacher's instructional choices. What was the same was how these eight themes combined in their teaching to illustrate the ethic of cariño that teachers used in approaching their immigrant-origin students. The portraits of the four teachers affirm existing research on the potential equity and culturally responsive contributions that teachers who work with immigrant-origin Latinx youth can provide in their classroom context. This work raises questions to the field about how teachers understand and make sense of the lived experiences of immigrant-origin youth and how they might develop their teaching craft to promote equity and social justice in their approaches to culturally and linguistically diverse students


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