Negotiating a Hybrid Space in the Context of School–Community Partnership: How Teachers and Community Members Become Intercultural and Bilingual Educators
Becerra, Rukmini Dasi
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As colonial legacies, racial dynamics, lingering discrimination, and even violence against Indigenous people and children—in particular Mapuche people, who are the focus of this study—continues in the Chilean society, nuanced scholarship is needed now more than ever to examine the intercultural and bilingual education (IBE) program and its preschools. This is qualitative multi-case study of two IBE preschools in Región Metropolitana, Chile. The objective of this study was to examine the nature, purpose and quality of the relationships between preschool teachers and Mapuche communities in IBE preschools in Región Metropolitana. Understanding teachers and other community educators in intercultural and bilingual preschools presents an important area for empirical study that, so far, has been mostly ignored by research. By investigating those people who closely work with Indigenous children we can better examine to what extent IBE preschools work towards the preservation of Indigenous knowledge and improved education for Indigenous children; or rather IBE may simply be recreating “citizen factories” (Luykx, 1999). Using semi-structured interviews, focal observations, group conversations, and school and policy documents, this research is an account of the partnership between IBE preschools and Mapuche communities. Specifically, this data examines: how IBE preschools and Mapuche communities began their collaboration, how teachers and Mapuche community members interacted and worked together, and what learning experiences occurred within this partnership. Analysis examined the points of intersection for these three dimensions. The analysis of this data yielded a number of interesting findings. First, IBE preschools and Mapuche communities struggled in creating a collaboration. But, although their partnership was determined by larger structures, IBE preschool and community actors found some initial spaces of trusting collaboration between one another. Secondly, in their interactions, teachers and community members sometimes reproduce systems of exclusion and marginalization towards Mapuche knowledge, and also exerted their power against Mapuche community members. But, at the same time, teachers worked in protecting their relationships with Mapuche communities. Additionally, findings showed that despite differences and difficulties, teacher learning emerged in these hybrid spaces. These findings can contribute to building more sophisticated models of interactions between teachers in IBE preschools and Mapuche communities. In the larger context, these findings can contribute to the fields of: Indigenous education across countries, the inclusion of Indigenous communities in educational systems, and the preparation of teachers to improve the education of historically excluded families, communities, and children.
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