Understanding Voice, Identity, and Navigating Contested Spaces: Dual Language Latina/o/x K–6 Teachers’ Use of Testimonios
Bilingual authorized Latina/o/x teachers in a Spanish–English dual language immersion program—themselves schooled in an era of English-only anti-immigrant hegemony and racism—face school systems today that perpetuate raciolinguistic oppression and harm. At Dolores Huerta Elementary, a two-way bilingual immersion program with a mixed enrollment of White and Latina/o/x students in a predominantly White district, teachers have begun to use testimonios as a way to share, listen to, and reflect on their own raciolinguistic experiences. Findings indicate that teachers feel more confident, brave, and accepting of intersectional identities, and that they have recast their oppressive experiences not as a failure of self but as a failure of systems. Testimonios have also impacted how these teachers interact with the entire learning community, developing a closeness and understanding with colleagues, families, and students that has improved relationships, increased critical consciousness of raciolinguistic oppressions and harms, and impacted the use of pedagogical practices that affirm students’ and families’ languages, cultures, and identities. Implications from this study point to districts and site leaders providing opportunities for safe, brave intersectional identity counterstorytelling as one method to improve well-being, counter racist and linguicist systems’ harm, and bring a sense of community and cohesion between teachers.