Testimonio y Teoría: Creating Bridges with Bilingual Communities in DeKalb County
Keywords:culturally relevant pedagogy (CRP), Funds of Knowledge, postcolonial, testimonio, bilingual students, English language learners, Mexican heritage, South Asian Indian Heritage, Georgia, DeKalb County
DeKalb County has transformed significantly over the past 80 years. There have been flows of immigrants and transnationals into the area since the late 19th and early 20th centuries, making present-day DeKalb a very diverse community. The children of transnationals in the U.S. find themselves at once students and teachers of their cultures and languages. Whether we speak our family’s languages or not, many of us born to parents from another country desire a connection to our linguistic heritage so that we can journey towards comfort and a sense of belonging. Drawing from the revolutionary Latin American literary genre, Testimonios (Saavedra, 2011), we share our stories with the hopes of planting a seed for new directions. From a decolonizing, postcolonial framework, we suggest ways to support bilingual and transnational students and groups by connecting to their cultural and linguistic assets through Culturally Relevant Pedagogy (CRP) and Funds of Knowledge (Ladson Billings, 2009; González et al., 2005). The article begins with our theoretical framework, followed by an overview of DeKalb County’s history and demographics. We continue with our testimonios and conclude with suggestions for connecting with bilingual students and communities.
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