Steps toward Unifying Dual Language Programs, Common Core State Standards, and Critical Pedagogy: Oportunidades, Estrategias y Retos

  • Cristina Alfaro
  • Richard Durán
  • Alexandra Hunt
  • María José Aragón


Recent education reforms have begun to reframe academic discussion and teacher practice surrounding bilingual educational approaches for preparing “21st century, college and career ready” citizens. Given this broader context, in this article we examine ways that we might join implementation of dual language programs, Common Core State Standards, and critical pedagogy at the school and classroom levels via a teacher, school administrator, and teacher professional development program. We focus on a concrete example of a partnership between a progressive dual language school along the U.S.-Mexico border, known as Chula Vista Learning Community Charter School, and a bilingual teacher education program in the College of Education at San Diego State University, which prepares teachers and administrators to implement and develop dual language instruction aligned (but not beholden) to Common Core State Standards. We include discussion of a Freirian-based instructional program that helps unite the opportunities presented by dual language programs and standardsbased reform initiatives in a deeper equity and social justice framework for educating students. We discuss opportunities (oportunidades), strategies (estrategias), and challenges (retos) encountered during this collaborative work between the bilingual teacher preparation program, a Dual Language school, and one exemplary fourth grade teacher team and their enactment of a critical pedagogy-based curriculum. We conclude with a discussion of implications of our work for education of multilingual learners and the educators that work with them.