Examining critical understandings of Latino history: a review of teacher practice
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In 1848 with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo a large portion of land that had formerly belonged to Mexico now belonged to the United States. With this land came the people who lived on it. This added a large population of Latinos/as to the United States that has continued to grow ever since. Despite their presence in the United States Latinos/as history is regularly distorted, minimalized, and omitted in the official United States history curriculum. Using a Latino Critical Theory lens this case study examines how a Latina teacher troubles the curriculum. This study looks at both how a teacher presents a more inclusive curriculum and what compels her to do so. The primary data sources were semi-structured interviews which I chunked, coded, and grouped to create my themes. I found that the curriculum is problematic in its exclusion of minorities and women both through curriculum standards and in textbooks. Additionally, the teacher utilizes counterstories that allow her to trouble the problems discovered within the curriculum. This study showed that once teachers have become critically conscious they will always be aware of problems within the standards and will continually search for them. However, teachers are in need of content knowledge outside of the metanarrative to allow them to fill in the gaps they find with the official curriculum. Out of my findings I realized the need for counterstories to be made a more viable resource to teachers. This can be done in both teacher preparation programs and teacher in-services. Finally, I suggest a need for further research on classrooms that are more linguistically diverse than the one I researched.