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Crafting Critical Stories

Toward Pedagogies and Methodologies of Collaboration, Inclusion, and Voice


Edited By Judith Flores-Carmona and Kristen V. Luschen

Critical storytelling, a rich form of culturally relevant, critical pedagogy, has gained great urgency in a world of standardization. Crafting Critical Stories asks how social justice scholars and educators narrate, craft, and explore critical stories as a tool for culturally relevant, critical pedagogy. From the elementary to college classroom, this anthology explores how different genres of critical storytelling – oral history, digital storytelling, testimonio, and critical family history – have been used to examine structures of oppression and to illuminate counter-narratives written with and by members of marginalized communities. The book highlights the complexity of culturally relevant, social justice education as pedagogues across the fields of education, sociology, communications, ethnic studies, and history grapple with the complexities of representation, methodology, and the meaning/impact of employing critical storytelling tools in the classroom and community.
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12. Mojarra Linguistic Syndrome, Evading Capture by the Tongue: Heritage Speakers of Spanish and Their Stigma


The following study took place at Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana, a women’s college where I worked as a Fellow for the Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership (CWIL) and taught Spanish to heritage language learners. My class consisted of seven Latina students1: four of them identified themselves as Mexicanas, Latinas, and Hispanas; one as Tejana and Latina; one as Anglo with Nicaraguan roots; and one as Anglo raised by a Mexican babysitter. My responsibility as a CWIL Fellow was to teach in the Department of Modern Languages and to do research. This study intended to reflect on the teaching strategies targeted to heritage speakers of Spanish, as explained below, and to contribute to the dialogue concerning the cultural, social, academic, linguistic, and individual needs of students with Hispanic cultural and/or familial ties. I wanted to better understand the needs that heritage language learners of Spanish have in the classroom and at Saint Mary’s College specifically. My objective was to improve the organization and structure of my classes.

In this chapter, I used my students’ assignments as the primary source of my written analysis. I believe that heritage speakers of Spanish arrive in the classroom with sabiduría del hogar or knowledge of the home; that is, Hispanic students practice what scholars such as Judith Flores Carmona and Dolores Delgado Bernal (2012) identified as “pedagogies of the home,” where members of the family and the community transmit knowledge through the practice of oral histories in the form of...

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