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A case study of a first-generation Mexicana teacher's culturally comprehensive knowledge and self-reflective planning for Latino/a-Mexican elementary students in a U.S. midwestern school

by 1970- Lo?pez-Carrasquillo, Alberto

Abstract (Summary)
The purpose of this descriptive study was to understand the experiences of a first generation Mexicana teacher as she plans for and reflects on her work with Mexican third-graders in a Midwestern public school district. Relying on Milner’s (2003) concepts of cultural comprehensive knowledge and self-reflective planning this study parallels Milner’s case study with an African American teacher. Qualitative methods were employed to collect, analyze and report the data. Findings revealed two major concepts emerged from the uses of cultural comprehensive knowledge and self-reflective planning of the first generation Mexicana teacher: accommodation planning and culturally positioned planning. The process of accommodation planning can be understood in light of the No Child Left Behind Act requirements. Accommodation planning consists of negotiating what the curricular mandates require the teacher to teach and what the teacher wants to teach according to his or her cultural comprehensive knowledge. Deciding what is important in the process of accommodation is a delicate balance among what the mandates require, the teacher’s own interests, and the teacher’s desire to be responsive to students’ needs. Regarding decision making, the process of accommodation has to do with claiming a space for autonomy. ii The data in the current study revealed that La Maestra Grisel used these components to position herself and her students culturally, prior to and throughout her planning. Cultural comprehensive knowledge was the key for this process of culturally positioned planning. Through her cultural comprehensive knowledge, she epistemologically defined who she was and who her students were. Thus, culturally positioned planning consists of defining who the teacher is and who the students are according to what experiences are included in the teacher’s cultural comprehensive knowledge. This study outlined implications for practices that this teacher used as she drew upon cultural comprehensive knowledge and self-reflective planning such as: listen to students’ questions, develop and maintain a good relationship with parents, children of immigrant parents are sources of knowledge, share your experiences with students, and know who your students are and their realities. This study extends Milner’s study because, first, this study included the influences of the No Child Left Behind Act in the process of planning and using cultural comprehensive knowledge and, second, this study showed that cultural comprehensive knowledge as a practical knowledge has a significant influence on other categories of knowledge. Finally, the most important finding for better understanding the concept of cultural comprehensive knowledge is culturally positioned planning. Thus, cultural comprehensive knowledge is so fundamental in the process of teacher thinking in planning that defining cultural comprehensive knowledge as only part of the practical knowledge could be considered a limitation. However, because this is a iii new concept, it needs more study in order to understand its implications within the process of thinking in planning. Hence, more research should be conducted using Milner’s model and the findings from this study, before categorizing cultural comprehensive knowledge as a separate concept. iv
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:The Ohio State University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:mexican american teachers of americans reflective teaching curriculum planning

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