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PAR EntreMundos

A Pedagogy of the Américas


Edited By Jennifer Ayala, Julio Cammarota, Margarita I. Berta-Ávila, Melissa Rivera, Louie F. Rodríguez and María Elena Torre

PAR EntreMundos: A Pedagogy of the Américas challenges the standard narratives of "achievement" to think about how Latinx students can experience an education that forges new possibilities of liberation and justice. Growing Latinx student populations have led to concerns about "assimilating" them into mainstream academic frameworks. This book offers an alternative, decolonizing approach that embraces complex Latinx identities and clears a path toward resisting systems of oppression. Educating Latinx students should involve more than just helping them achieve in school but rather having them recognize their agency to transform the larger structure of education to promote justice-oriented practices. The authors offer a framework for such transformation by honoring their theoretical lineages, proposing a set of guiding principles, and sharing stories about collective social action within and outside Latinx communities. PAR EntreMundos: A Pedagogy of the Américas is a practice of liberation and freedom.

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Chapter 8. Participatory Action Research as a Pathway Into the Teaching Profession for Latinx and African-American Youth (Jason G. Irizarry)



Participatory Action Research as a Pathway into the Teaching Profession for Latinx and African-American Youth

Jason G. Irizarry

Latinxs and African-Americans account for more than one-quarter of the U.S. population and more than one-third of all students enrolled in public schools, yet they represent less than 11% of all teachers (Ahmad & Boser, 2014). In contrast to the deepening racial/ethnic texture of the United States, the teaching force remains relatively homogenous, with the overwhelming majority of teachers identifying as White, middle-class, monolingual females. Although the benefits teachers of color bring to the classroom have been lauded in the research literature (Dee, 2004; Foster, 1991; Irizarry, 2011b; Irvine, 2003; Monzó & Rueda, 2001; Ochoa, 2007; Quiocho & Rios, 2000; Villegas & Lucas, 2004), the pool of Latinx and African-American teachers remains woefully undernourished.

Several theories have been forwarded in the literature to explain the dearth of people of color in the teaching profession. Some argue students of color don’t see themselves reflected in the teaching force and therefore choose other professions (Milner, 2010a). Others have suggested that teachers of color actually dissuade students of color from considering careers in education (Gordon, 2000). Relatively low salaries, working conditions, and challenges navigating teacher preparation programs have all been forwarded as variables that depress the representation of people of color in the teach←137 | 138→ing profession (Irizarry, 2011b; Watt & Richardson, 2008a, 2008b). While each of these certainly has value and helps to explain...

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