I am Not a Taco: Using Poetry to Negotiate Students’ Identities
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For secondary English Language Arts (ELA) teachers in the era of standardization, the idea of establishing a culturally relevant pedagogy (Ladson-Billings, 1995) – one that seeks authentic representation and offers students curricular opportunities to explore the realities of their own lives – can seem daunting and, in many cases, non-existent. In fact, many teachers suggest that students’ cultural, ethnic, and linguistic identities serve a supplemental role in the curriculum or even that these identities have no place at all in the ELA classroom. I, however, argue for a pedagogical stance in which ELA teachers place students’ diverse identities at the center of the curriculum. Therefore, this editorial encourages secondary ELA teachers in urban schools to seek out and employ literacy practices that explores students’ cultural, ethnic, and socio-linguistic identities.