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Representin' for Latino students: Culturally responsive pedagogies, teacher identities, and the preparation of teachers for urban schools

Jason G Irizarry, University of Massachusetts Amherst


This dissertation critically examines the autobiographies of ten teachers identified using the community nomination method (Foster, 1991) as exemplary teachers of Latino students to make recommendations for teacher preparation programs preparing educators to work in urban schools. The study is informed by postmodern understandings of culture and identity and draws heavily from Hip-Hop/Urban culture---a site from which, I argue, many urban students draw to create their identities. A review of the literature regarding culturally responsive pedagogies demonstrates the need for teachers to affirm students' cultural identities but also highlights the focus much of the research in this area places on race, thus, possibly contributing to a reification of singular aspects of students' identities. This study seeks to expand the discourse by forwarding cultural connectedness as a framework for practicing culturally responsive pedagogies in ways that do not essentialize culture and are informed by the multiple sites from which students draw to create hybrid cultural identities. It also stresses the potential for teachers who are not members of the same racial or ethnic group as their students to become "culturally connected" and improve their practice. Postmodernism and Hip/Hop-Urban culture informed the creation of Represent(ations), a hybrid methodology I created to employ in this dissertation. The findings suggest that teacher preparation programs need to be reconceptualized to include, in addition to content knowledge, a specific focus on teacher identity development and restructured by making changes to the curriculum, recruiting and retaining more pre-service candidates of color, and diversifying teacher preparation faculty to include teacher educators of color and those with teaching experiences in urban settings. Transforming urban teacher preparation based on this research has the potential to cultivate more teachers who "represent" for Latino students. ^

Subject Area

Bilingual education|Teacher education

Recommended Citation

Irizarry, Jason G, "Representin' for Latino students: Culturally responsive pedagogies, teacher identities, and the preparation of teachers for urban schools" (2005). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3193911.