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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Portraits of Praxis: Lessons from Filipino American Teachers Rooted in Ethnic Studies

  • Author(s): Curammeng, Edward Ryan
  • Advisor(s): Solórzano, Daniel G.
  • et al.

Momentum around the institutionalization of Ethnic Studies in United States K–12 classrooms is gaining widespread attention. Given the social, cultural, and political influences surrounding racialized schooling contexts, it is pertinent to understand the impact and importance of Ethnic Studies in schools and consider what can be learned from teachers who already possess knowledge and insights developed through Ethnic Studies. While increased attention is focused on the development, implementation, and teaching of Ethnic Studies content, this dissertation examines the role of Ethnic Studies in shaping Filipino American teachers’ classroom practices and pedagogies.

Guided by critical race theory and portraiture, I conducted two rounds of in-depth interviews and two focus groups with seven Filipino American public school teachers working in the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles regions. Through analysis of their experience regarding how Ethnic Studies shapes their teaching, I determined that having a background in Ethnic Studies: (a) enabled critical perspectives to be woven into mainstream content; (b) affected teachers’ engagement with students and communities; and (c) and shaped their teacher identities.

I conclude that Ethnic Studies has the potential to transform how teachers of color are recruited, retained, and developed, legible in the narratives of Filipino American teachers working to deconstruct systems of power with frameworks learned in Ethnic Studies.

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