Do You Want to Tell Your Own Narrative?”: How One Teacher and Her Students Engage in Resistance by Leveraging Community Cultural Wealth

Melinda Martin-Beltrán, Angélica Montoya-Ávila, Andrés A. García, Nancy Canales


This qualitative case study offers a window into one classroom in which one Latinx English language arts teacher and her newcomer high school students tapped into community cultural wealth (Yosso, 2005) as they engaged in literacy practices to resist oppression, denounce discrimination, and strive for social justice. We draw upon Yosso’s (2005) framework of community cultural wealth (CCW) to understand how teachers can encourage resistance among historically marginalized students within the current racist and xenophobic political climate; and we examine how students respond to the teacher’s invitation to engage and develop their resistant capital through their writing. Data analyzed for this study include student letters, teacher interviews, and fieldnotes from one lesson, which was situated in a year-long ethnographic study. We found that the teacher cultivated resistant capital by tapping into students’ lived experiences to scrutinize oppressive rhetoric and persist in the face of adversity. Students seized the opportunity to resist the dominant anti-immigrant narrative by leveraging their resistant capital through counter-stories, assertions of experiential knowledge, and appeals to a moral imperative. Our study contributes to scholarship on CCW by exploring how CCW is utilized in a previously under-examined context and has implications for educators by offering examples of classroom practices that cultivate CCW and transform deficit discourses that threaten to impede academic success, especially among Latinx students.


Community Cultural Wealth, Immigrant, Narrative, Resistance

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