Writing Our Futures: Cultivating Biliteracy Practices with and by Pre-Service Indigenous Teachers
Zaynab Gates

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship

Award Year



University of California, San Diego

Primary Discipline

Early Childhood Education
Recent studies have projected that by the end of this century between half and up to 95% of the linguistic diversity in the world will disappear. In the last four decades, intercultural bilingual education policies aimed at protecting Indigenous children?s right to learn in their mother tongue have been introduced in Latin American, a region home to more than five hundred Indigenous languages. Yet, little is known about how to meaningfully teach biliteracy competencies that simultaneously fulfill the goals of Indigenous cultural preservation and strategic economic and political participation in national society. Centering the voices of Indigenous teacher candidates and drawing from the continua of biliteracy framework, I propose to use design-based research (DBR) to co-design and iterate professional learning courses for fostering biliteracy practices in preservice teacher education. My research will be situated in language courses at teaching institutions in Chaco, Northern Argentina. This locale is a critical site for understanding language revitalization as the province has been leading efforts in the country to serve Indigenous peoples. This DBR will include interviews with teacher educators and Indigenous teacher candidates, classroom observation, and assessment of biliteracy competencies. Research questions will explore (a) teacher educators? enactment of biliteracy practices, (b) Indigenous teacher candidates? development of biliteracy competencies, (c) the relationship between biliteracy teaching and learning, and (d) teacher educators reflection process in literacy teaching for bilingual Indigenous preservice teachers. This study has implications for theorizing about Indigenous languages teaching and learning, preservation of linguistic diversity, and teacher education in multilingual contexts.
About Zaynab Gates
Zaynab Gates is a doctoral candidate in the Transforming Education in a Diverse Society, Education Ph.D. program at University of California, San Diego. Her research centers on teacher education in literacy instruction, intercultural bilingual education, Indigenous teachers, and public education policy. Her work is informed by working as a classroom teacher and university instructor in Chile, a research advisor in teacher professional development in Bolivia, and an author of literacy educational materials for students and teachers in Ecuador. As a teacher educator she has strived to address a two-fold purpose in education, namely, to develop our individual capabilities and to mobilize those capabilities to contribute building a more just, united, and peaceful society. As a member of the Wichí people of Argentina, she is drawn to explore and learn about the role of Indigenous peoples in radically re-imagining our collective future. In the US, she has worked in two research-to-practice partnerships between UCSD and local school districts using design-based research, more recently, exploring how secondary science teachers learn about dialogue with scaffolded noticing and reflection mediated by technology to engage with their own classroom data. Zaynab holds a B.A. in Education from Educares University in Chile and a M.A. in Social Sciences from FLACSO in Ecuador.

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