Education & Language

Sabrina & Lizzette

Objective 1:

Define and apply terms to current world situations

Objective 2:

Understand the history of Latinx students’ experiences within the United States educational system

      Objective 3:

      Understand the history of bilingual education

        Objective 4:

        Important Figures

        Our Message

               Oftentimes, students are blamed for their social media use or “lack of interest” when it comes to their education. However, many of us do not realize that the educational system itself contributes to pushing students further away from excelling and continuing their education. This is because students are taught to be “listening” learners, instead of proactive learners that share their own ideas to the classroom. Especially, students of color and their perspectives are often dismissed or unacknowledged. Students of color also face microaggressions and discrimination for their language, race or religion.

               This content is designed to encourage educational equity and push towards bilingual education as positive tools that will help teachers understand students and students understand other students. Instead of students playing the role of “listening” learners, this content focuses on inquiry-based learning, an approach to learning that encourages students to explore the material through sharing their ideas and asking questions. Therefore, it will create a world that will know how to listen to others, but also, actively build collaboratively a better future within a community and our educational system.

        Education & Language:
        Below you will find the take-aways and goals for the topic of education and language.
        • This topic will allow teachers to understand the importance of bilingual education and representation
        • This topic allows and encourages students to connect the material to their personal lives and the world around them
        • This topic will bring an awareness and change of the use of language and terms within classrooms
        • Students and teachers ideally learn with and from one another based on the different capitals they have
        • This topic will improve student’s self-efficacy as they learn that they are essential to the classroom dynamic
        • This topic will help teachers and students understand ESL students and their important contributions to the classroom


        Important terms to know

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        Cultural Capital

        This term describes the things that help us move through society, such as knowledge, skills, and education. This is typically learned through one’s culture.

        Deficit Model

        This term describes the tendency to focus on a student’s weakness instead of the student’s strength.

        Educational Equity

        A measure of achievement, fairness, and opportunity in education

        Generation 1.5

         This term is used to refer to U.S.-educated ESL students who usually arrive in the United States after they have completed primary school in their home countries. They are between the first and second generations and that is what gives them their nickname.

        Inquiry Based Learning

        An approach to learning that emphasizes the student’s role in the learning process. Rather than the teacher telling students what they need to know, students are encouraged to explore the material, ask questions, and share ideas.


        An indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination against members of a marginalized group.

        History on Education and Language

        Noted scholar Paolo Freire first described in the 1960s a common dynamic in the classroom that he called the “banking” system of education where the teacher is acknowledged as an “all-knowing” person that often translates curriculum knowledge to students in a static way. Students recognize the power dynamic because they are treated as if they do not know anything and must be taught all of the information.

        However, cultural capital (the knowledge one has from being a part of a particular group or culture) is essential in education. Not every student will know how stocks work, for example, but every student will know what they have learned from their culture and world around them. Teachers who want to leverage the cultural capital of children of color and build on their cultural knowledge bases must use inquiry-based learning that critiques traditional notions of learning and knowing, and offers an alternative framework that integrates the knowledge of both teachers and students.

          CT: Connections To Local Realities

          This video explores the challenges to dual language teaching. Even when schools truly want bilingual fluency for children, providing it can be more difficult than it looks. Part of the problem lies in how we measure competencies. Mastery tests measure one’s ability to speak English assuming one has spoken nothing else. Bilingualism takes longer to develop, and one must use a longer measuring stick. Unfortunately, to compound lack of proper measurement standards, overcrowding in classrooms diminishes language teaching effectiveness as well. 

          As we have learned through the history section, there is a long timeline of people who are for and against bilingual education. Many schools today focus on English-only methods, and perceive Spanish-speaking skills as a hindrance to language success in a deficit-model way of thinking. Drilling grammar into children, rather than using more interactive methods of teaching that incorporate students’ cultural knowledge bases, often alienate children and lead to feelings of cultural invalidation. Daisy Hernandez in her autobiography Cup of Water Under My Bed and Diane Guerrero in her book In the Country We Love: My Family Divided both discuss their feelings of cultural rejection in school. 

          The video “Learning Matters: The Language War In New Britain” also shows that parents and students need more support from schools as they face personal issues that can affect students and their participation in class.

          Studies have proven that proficy in a language is determined by conversations people can hold in that language rather than the grammatical aspect of the language. According to the 2017 consensus study report, “Promoting the Educational Successes of Children and Youth Learning English,” it was discovered that students acquire language proficiency within 4 to 7 years with bilingual education. However, without bilingual education, it takes students 7-9 years to achieve language proficiency.

          The following video “Personalized Learning at Hartford Public Schools” reveals the benefits of personalized and interactive teaching, which contrasts from the overcrowded and noninteractive teaching seen in the previous video. It is important to see the contributions that are being made in our state as we improve the quality of education.

          For further information on the contributions that the Latinx community has made to Connecticut education and local organizations, visit the “Puerto Rican Impact on CT” and “Social Justice” under our tab.

          “Preservation of one’s own culture does not require contempt or disrespect for other cultures.”

          Cesar Chavez

          “If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him… the people who give you their food give you their heart.”

          Cesar Chavez

          “The fight is never about grapes or lettuce. It is always about people.”

          Cesar Chavez

          Companion Pieces For Students

          To the right, we have listed some companion pieces teachers can add or recommend for students. The first four pieces are books that are made to tell different stories of people in the Latinx community. The second row has four movie recommendations for the classroom.


          Lastly, we have linked four videos that talk about different perspectives people have on bilingualism and the educational system. We included two slam poetry videos on the educational system and bilingualism, a quick  informational video on the benefits of bilingualism, and a video on people who are trying to reclaim their heritage by learning Spanish later in their lives.

          The House on Mango Street

          A story about a young Chicana and what it is like growing up a Latina immigrant in Chicago

          How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents

          This is a coming-of-age story about four sisters from the Dominican Republic



          The Poet X

          Fifteen-year-old Xiomara, who goes by X, works through the tension and conflict in her family by writing poetry. The book was well received and won multiple awards at the 2019 Youth Media Awards.


          Gabby Garcia’s Ultimate Playbook

          Dear fans of Dork Diaries and Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life—story about a confident Latina pitcher and her journey of self-improvement

          The 13th

          This movie, “explores the history of racial inequality in the United States, focusing on the fact that the nation’s prisons are disproportionately filled with African-Americans.”

          Precious Knowledge

          In Tucson, Arizona, high-schoolers and teachers try their best to save their ethinc studies class from being removed.


          A teacher becomes a mentor to Chicano high-school students protesting injustices in public schools in 1968.

          Chicano! Taking Back Our Schools

          The movie documents the 1968 walkout by thousands of Mexican-American high school students in East Los Angeles against unfair treatment in their schools.