Subtractive Schooling

  • In Subtractive Schooling: U.S.-Mexican Youth and the Politics of Caring, Angela Valenzuela argues that cultural erasure means that schooling expects immigrant and minority children to give up their ethnic cultures, and lose this valuable support for their educational development.
  • Holding negative views of Spanish in its many local dialects, leads to “subtractive” practice.
  • Subtractive schooling practices neglect to recognize that children come to schools with complex sets of histories, as members of diverse families and communities (Dyson).
  • Valuing linguistic diversity in the classroom means collaboration with the families of students in confianza to build on already present skills. For minority families and their children in mainstream schools, Spanish has to be re-positioned in the linguistic hierarchy and bilingualism celebrated.

Critical Authoethnography as Method

  • Students exploring their communities and identities as sources for research, learning, and writing.
  • Students examine language differences note how dominant and minority languages interact through the bilingual practices of agents moving between languages, especially at the family level, but also in communities.
  • Speculations into how power dynamics function between children’s and adults’ access to—and possession of—the dominant literacy necessarily extend the scope of teacher training to examine how and why families sharing a common situation coalesce to address their interests and needs.
  • Funds of knowledge offer important insight to future instructors about the strengths of students and their families bring to classrooms, complicating a one-dimensional stereotype of minoritized students as dependent deficits needing to be filled with the official language.