Ruptures of Possibility: Mexican Origin Mothers as Critical Border Pedagogues

  • Idalia Nuñez University of Illinois Urbana Champaign
  • Suzanne García-Mateus California State University, Monterey Bay


In U.S. schools, educators are often regarded as knowledge producers and sole pedagogues, whereas parents (particularly of Color) are perceived as not engaged or interested in their child(ren)'s education (Colgrove, 2019; Nuñez, 2019; Ramirez, 2020). These negative stereotypes and white-centered discourses sustain raciolinguistic perspectives (Rosa & Flores, 2017) of families of Color and immigrant backgrounds. For the present study, we employed critical discourse analysis to explore why and how Mexican mothers raise bilingual children by examining how their experiences inform us about their powerful roles as critical translanguaging pedagogues. Drawing on border thinking and pedagogy of border thinking, the findings revealed two main themes: (1) how mothers recognize and draw on the ruptures of cultural and linguistic worlds, and (2) how they sustain language through family and cultural practices. Lastly, we share implications for educators, teacher educators, and policymakers.