Power and caring embodied through bilingual preservice teachers' choice of participant structures
Power and Caring Embodied through Bilingual Preservice Teachers’ Choice of Participant Structures is a qualitative multicase study about the ways in which three Mexican-origin preservice teachers drew from their pedagogical philosophies of authentic cariño to make sense of their choice of participant structures in bilingual student teaching contexts. This dissertation project drew from a larger study investigating seven Latin@ preservice teachers’ choice of participant structures in one-way and two-way dual language pre-kinder and kindergarten classrooms from the same bilingual education cohort at a large public Texas university in a medium-sized city. Guided by a critical framework that weaves together sociocultural literature on multilingual learning environments, LatCrit theory, and pedagogy as authentic cariño viewed through a lens of power as caring relations, the goals of this project were two-fold: 1) to explore the types of participant structures that bilingual preservice teachers were implementing during their student teaching semester and 2) to investigate their sensemaking process around those decisions of which participant structures to implement. Findings revealed that the three maestr@s implemented a variety of participant structures in their one-way dual language student teaching placements, and that they made sense of these choices guided by their pedagogical philosophies of authentic cariño that they had constructed through their life experiences. Additionally, their mentor teachers’ choice of participant structures and degree of alignment with the maestr@s’ philosophies, the supportive space of the post-observation conference, and the maestr@s’ perceived competencies with classroom management intersected with the participant structures that they chose. These findings provide a more nuanced understanding of the complexity of factors that bilingual preservice teachers consider when selecting the ways that their students may actively participate during a lesson, but also that their identities, past experiences, and pedagogical philosophies really do matter. This work has important implications for teacher preparation in bilingual and ESL contexts, teaching, and policy in supporting the use of empowering participant structures for emergent bilingual students.