I believe that teaching is about “armed love” (Freire, 1998) and bilingual love (Mignolo, 2000). “Armed love” is more than just providing minoritized students with care and nurture, it is providing them with love that is based on liberatory education and affirming one’s humanity (Bartolomé, 2008). This armed love is linked to Mignolo’s (2000) ideas about “bilingual love.” When students’ entire linguistic repertoire is considered and lovingly related, education can pay attention to what all students know, instead of focusing on simply developing command of linguistic norms and conventions that have been imposed by school bureaucrats and social elites.
With that in mind, I reject normative ways of teaching and assessing my students. My classroom is like a canvas: We utilize all of the spaces in the classroom. It is very interactive; students draw and write on the floor and wall of the classroom. If you walk into a class session, you’d feel how it is always lively and dynamic. We incorporate many aspects of theater performance into the classroom, such as spoken word and acting. My students are the artists of the classroom. Centering students’ lived experiences is a priority in my classroom. At the beginning of every class, we check in with each other and then engage in a self-reflection writing prompt. I follow Maxine Greene’s pedagogy stance (1995) which is using arts to release the students’ imagination and creativity through self- reflection and critical thinking, placing their lived experiences at the center. For example, in my Foundations of Bilingual Education class, the first assignment asked my students to reflect on their experiences being bilingual or multilingual. If they self-identified as “monolingual,” I asked students to reflect on their experience with teaching students who are bilingual or with their own language learning. The students shared their stories through drawing or performance. Through this assignment we were able to understand each other and develop trust. This sets the stage for how we will co-construct learning and teaching throughout the rest of the semester.