Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Susan Hopewell

Second Advisor

Silvia Noguerón-Liu

Third Advisor

Sheila Shannon

Fourth Advisor

Stephanie Alvarez

Fifth Advisor

Enrique Sepúlveda


In this study, I argue that Latinx students’ lives, culture, and language are not adequately valued in our educational system, resulting in a need for more in-depth relationship-building and preparation and education for our mostly White and monolingual teaching pool of candidates. I experienced these inequities in the public education system, as both a bilingual Latinx student and as a bilingual elementary teacher. Based on my previous role as a teacher, I designed a qualitative study with auto-historic and arts-based methods re-engaging with a group of my former elementary school students, now teens in high school. Grounded in four combined conceptual frames of Chicana feminism (Delgado Bernal, 1998; Godinez, 2006; Yosso, 2005), acompañamiento (Sepúlveda, 2011), love and care (Freire, 2008; hooks, 2000; Noddings, 1992; Valenzuela, 1999), and nepantla (Anzaldúa, 2015), we engaged in pláticas y encuentros revisiting our past, present, and imagined future. When coming together, we shared testimonios through spoken, written, and visual expressions. Findings showed how youth participants understood their language learning experiences and linguistic identities within their English language development classes. They expressed critiques in what they perceived as low-quality methods of instruction, which led to impediments and hindrances to their linguistic identity, fueling resistance to the injustice. By revising past poems written in fourth grade, findings revealed students embodied various emotions as they shouldered their loved ones’ encounters with racist nativist and sociopolitical border-crossing realities. By revisiting multiple time periods in our lives and by providing artistic tools, the bilingual Latinx youth trans/formed their identities into visual expressions. My perspective as “artist/researcher/teacher” (De Cosson, 2002) and my conceptual framework both facilitated my understanding of the potential of trans/forming public education system in becoming more humanizing for bilingual Latinx students.


Advisor: Elizabeth Dutro