Testimonio y Teoría: Creating Bridges with Bilingual Communities in DeKalb County


  • A. Jyoti Kaneria Georgia State University
  • Christian Valdez




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.

Author Biographies

A. Jyoti Kaneria, Georgia State University

Jyoti Kaneria is a doctoral student in the Language & Literacy Program at Georgia State University.  She has worked with and taught ELL adults and youth in the Southwestern U.S. and Mexico. She has also conducted research in the U.S. and Mexico. Kaneria is interested in continuing her critical research focused on ELLs.

Christian Valdez

Christian Valdez’s roots stem from Guanajuato, Mexico. He is a first-generation college student at Georgia State University. He holds a bachelor’s in criminal justice and a master's in early childhood education. He is currently a 1st-grade dual language immersion teacher at Garden Hills Elementary School in Atlanta.



04/30/2020 — Updated on 06/16/2020


How to Cite

Kaneria, A. J., & Valdez, C. (2020). Testimonio y Teoría: Creating Bridges with Bilingual Communities in DeKalb County. GATESOL Journal, 29(1), 15–62. https://doi.org/10.52242/gatesol.87 (Original work published April 30, 2020)



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