Aspirante bilingual educators’ development of critical consciousness: A critical qualitative inquiry
The critical teacher shortage of bilingual educators in the state of Texas has created a need to examine the experiences of preservice teachers or aspirantes in teacher preparation programs. Recent research has also documented the need for future bilingual educators to be critically conscious (Cervantes-Soon et al., 2019) to fulfill the purpose of bilingual education as a transformative endeavor. Palmer et al., (2019) consider critical consciousness the foundational goal of bilingual education. The purpose of this study is to explore how aspirante (pre-service) bilingual teachers enrolled in a teacher education program at a local Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), understand, interpret, and reflect on the role of critical consciousness as a foundational goal in becoming a bilingual educator. A critical qualitative inquiry approach rooted in Xicana/Feminista epistemologies was conducted in a study that incorporated three phases. The first phase consisted of an exploratory survey; the second phase consisted of aspirantes engaged in two critical professional development sessions, and the last phase consisted of aspirantes participating in a 1-1 plática. Aspirante bilingual educators engaged in critical professional development comprised of two sessions that fostered dialogue surrounding critical consciousness including language, culture, pedagogy, and policy as well as in a 1-1 plática (conversation). This exploration of aspirante bilingual educators’ embodied knowledge around critical consciousness provided an opportunity to critically listen to their understandings, interpretations, and negotiations surrounding critical consciousness in Dual Language Bilingual Education (DLBE). This study aimed to learn the ways in which aspirantes engaged with elements of critical xii consciousness through their lived experiences, consciousness raising, and counternarratives as they participate in critical professional development and pláticas. The critical professional development sessions explored racial literacies, critical multilingual language awareness, and policy formation. Findings indicate that aspirantes’ experiences in bilingual education shape their beliefs about teaching, learning and biliteracy fostering the practice of interrogating and reimagining education. Additionally, a critical consciousness framework reveals how aspirantes understand and interpret critical consciousness and their advocacy lens. Finally, this inquiry explored the ways in which aspirantes engage in counternarratives. Aspirantes engaged through advocating for self, utilizing navigational capital in higher education, and counternarratives about gender roles.