AdvisorMoll, Luis C.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractLiteracy as a critical tool for understanding the relationship among text, self, and world (Freire, 1987, p. 30) is vital in order for students to relate their own reality with that of the characters'; for students to read their world while they read the word, as Freire and Macedo (1987) would put it. For over three years, I have met with a group of women (Las Senoras1 to explore their views of themselves and how they relate to the school and society around them. Las Senoras are all Spanish-Speakers, some of them Spanish/English Bilinguals. The vehicle for our discussions was El Club de Literatura (the Literature Club) wherein we read such novels as Hasta no Verte Jesus Mio, Arrancame la Vida, Me Llamo Rigoberta Menchu, y asi me Nacio la Conciencia and short stories, for example, Detras de la Reja, Out of the Mirrored Garden) to explore our own lives as women, within our families, communities, and society at large. A goal of this phenomenological orientation is the rediscovery of self-knowledge through literature discussions infused with personal experience, through extensive dialogical conversations, interviews, letters, journals, and observations, facilitated by a researcher as "friend" role. These are among the methodological tools used to provide a panoramic of women's lives. This work analyzes the process of Las Senoras' personal transformation through the rediscovery of their own knowledge in El Club de Literatura. Why this focus on Las Senoras? Because as an educator of working-class, language minority students, I am aware of how mothers are generally the ones most intimately involved in the education of their children and how they serve as the primary connection to the schools, yet at the same time they are held at bay with respect to their rights as women, mothers and wives. Further, an important finding of this work has had to do with my own evolution from teacher to pedagogue. This evolution has encompassed my breaking from my earlier training as a teacher which strictly dictated the curriculum and prescribed my role as a teacher, to the joint creation of curriculum with my students and their families. The process has led me from reflecting upon my practice to understanding the implications of my actions in communion with my students. A communion where I am not always the teacher, but a lifelong learner. For those who ask, "Can I do this work?" The answer is, "If you are willing to learn and change, then you can be the teacher." Further, as commented by Patricia, one of Las Senoras, "It depends on what you are going to teach us." (1)Las Senoras: in Spanish one refers to a woman as a Senora as a gesture of respect, be it out of age, experiences, or legal status. In this study, Las Senoras, are women who are treated respectfully by me and others who know them through me. Age and legal status are not important in our group, life experiences are what give them the status of Senoras.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Language, Reading and Culture