Friday, March 09, 2018

When Children Burst at the Seams with Ethnic Pride: Featuring Aime'-Anali San Miguel

So happy and proud to share this 5-minute video of this amazing collaboration of Houston Public Media with the Houston Independent School District (HISD) to offer this wondrous "Take the Stage" curriculum that is interactive, in English and Spanish, and makes learning powerful and fun.  It's great to see that this curriculum is available throughout all HISD.  We should bring this—or something like this—to the Austin Independent School District.

Thrilled to see in it our dear friend and colleague, University of Houston history professor, Dr. Guadalupe San Miguel, and his incredible daughter, Aime'-Anali who performed the part of Dolores Huerta in a play in both English and Spanish.

Just past the two-minute mark, you must listen to Aime´ express her pride on performing her role as Dolores Huerta. She is bursting at the seams with pride in the Spanish language and in being Mexican.  She's proud of her Mexicanidad, her Mexican-ness, and she should be. 

Aimé totally wowed me when making the point that through (culturally relevant) theater, she is the one doing the teaching, rather than the other way around.

It's so rare when we hear children speak this way even though all children and youth are abundantly capable.  As adults, we must take more time to learn from our children as they have such wisdom and depth that often goes unnoticed.

As an educator, I want to underscore a core tenet of culturally relevant pedagogy because it often gets short shrift in the standardized, de-contextualized curriculum.  That is, when the curriculum speaks to our children's languages, experiences, and lives, they are poised to thrive.  Let's be gone with all this punishing, test-driven curriculum and instruction that induce boredom, alienation, and anxiety.

Making schools more relevant through their teaching and curriculum is exactly what the Ethnic Studies movement that is taking root nationwide is all about—and to which this recent post attests: Amid Anti-immigrant and Racial Clashes, Ethnic Studies Programs Blossom in Public Schools.

Community-based partnerships, cultural heritage, technology, and the arts matter.  We're much too diverse as a society and world for us to not be tapping into the cultural and linguistic wealth of our communities through the curriculum that we teach.


Angela Valenzuela


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