Imagining the knowledge, strengths, and skills of a Latina prospective teacher

Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2011


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Education | Teacher Education and Professional Development


Today in the United States, there is a shortage of teachers who culturally and linguistically match the increasing United States school-age population of Latinos/as. Latino/a youth are not faring well academically in U.S. schools. One widely discussed remedy for the low achievement and high dropout rate of Latino/a students is developing a larger pool of Latino/a teachers with whom students can affiliate. In addition to increasing the number of Latino/a prospective teachers, the authors advocate for institutions that prepare teachers to focus on the strengths, knowledge, and skills that Latino/a teacher candidates bring to teacher education and work to improve their experiences on campus and in their course work. This article presents a case study which is embedded within a larger study that aims to understand how Latino/a prospective teachers experience success in their teacher education program, and how they draw upon linguistic and cultural resources in the crafting of professional identities and practices. The authors first present a review of literature that is divided into three thematic parts: (1) making family-school connections; (2) orientations towards political consciousness; and (3) developing personal relationships. These are prominent themes they see as grounding the literature on Latino/a practicing and prospective teachers and paraprofessionals. They then present a snapshot of how one Latina understands her own knowledge, strengths, and skills as a teacher, and contrast that with how several White teacher educators understood these dimensions of her identity. In doing so, they hope to uncover some encouragements and barriers to educating more Latino/a teachers in predominantly white teacher education programs.


Published in the special themed issue "Teaching in Politically, Socially-Situated Contexts (Winter 2011)" of Teacher Education Quarterly.