The Unspoken Element of Cariño: Hearing the Voices of Teachers, Students and Parents About Carino in the Dual Language Classroom




Salinas Hinojosa, Marcela

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This exploratory case study examines the phenomenon of cariño from teachers, students and parents in the DL classroom. Data collected involved 8 Latino/a Dual Language teachers, 143 Dual Language students and 141 parents of Dual Language children. The study uncovers how through amor (love), afecto (affection) and interés (interest), cariño is a practice that enables Latino/a Dual Language teachers to be supportive of their students while being attentive to their academic and personal lives. Analysis of teacher, student and parent data, participants agree on six ideas about the phenomenon of cariño. First, cariño is a practice that goes beyond teaching and academic content. Second, cariño has a language that is used by Latino/a Dual Language teachers and can be heard and understood by students and parents. Third, teachers, parents and students are able to identify and distinguish the actions and characteristics of cariño teachers between cariño-less teachers. Four, teachers, parents and students recognize the use of 'cariño maternal’, as Latino/a Dual Language teachers see students as their own. Five, teachers, parents and students are able to express the negative connotations of not using 'cariño practices’ in the academic and personal lives of students. Six, teachers’, parents and students are able to remember cariño and cariño-less teachers as they left a huella [mark] on them. Despite the growing attention to pedagogies of care, my analysis of Dual Language classrooms reveals a notion of cariño that could not be explained fully by these theories alone. Therefore, I propose Dual Language Prácticas of Cariño (DLPC) as a new framework inclusive of cariño narratives of teachers, students and parents. DLPC is an evolution of theories of care that describes how Dual Language teachers can express a unique way of interacting and relating to Dual Language students that, over time, creates personalized understandings of cariño. It is imperative that present discussions on Dual Language classrooms focus on the notion of cariño as a major aspect in teaching. Cariño must be recognize as a significant educational force.


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bilingual education, caring, cariño, classroom, dual language



Bicultural-Bilingual Studies