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UTSA faculty help local educators create Mexican-American Studies curriculum

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Faculty in The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) Department of Bicultural-Bilingual Studies and Mexican American Studies Program are sharing their expertise with local teachers who are creating history and fine arts curriculum focused on Chicano/Mexican American content.

In its fourth year, the weeklong Mexican American Studies Social Studies and Literature Teachers' Academy takes place this week at the UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures. During the academy, middle and high school teachers will work on their professional development skills and learn about best teaching practices in the field of Mexican American Studies from renowned faculty in the UTSA College of Education and Human Development.

Marie "Keta" Miranda, professor of Bicultural-Bilingual studies, has helped organize the annual academy along with other UTSA faculty and students since 2015. Miranda said more than 20 teachers from San Antonio and other cities in Texas are expected to participate in this year's program.

During the sessions, educators will learn about historical events that shaped Mexican Americans as a bicultural community and the Mexican American experience in Texas. They will also receive an overview of state curriculum materials and resources that meet the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) criteria.

"Our goal is to provide teachers with a toolkit to help them create enriching courses that engage students as they learn about history, diversity, culture and the Mexican American experience in Texas," said Miranda.

Incorporating Mexican American Studies (MAS) in curriculums statewide has been a heated topic for years. This spring, the Texas Board of Education approved a K-12 Mexican American studies elective course, creating state-wide standards for the curriculum. MAS courses are increasingly being offered by school districts across the state.

"Each year, we get a lot of good feedback from the teachers saying they learned something new and feel prepared to go into the classroom and share that knowledge with their students," said Miranda. "COEHD faculty want to make sure the educators are comfortable with teaching the material, and we plan to work with many of them throughout the year as they carry out the curriculum."

This year's academy will be hosted at the UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures from June 25-29. Teachers who participate will take a tour to explore classroom resources inspired by the ITC's newest exhibit, Los Tejanos.

As a learning and research enterprise, UTSA fosters innovation and creative discovery by channeling its expertise into tackling critical societal issues of today and tomorrow. The UTSA College of Education and Human Development produces educators, administrators, counselors and health professionals with a global perspective of the educational, psychological, social and health needs of communities. 

The university is ranked among the nation's top five young universities, according to Times Higher Education.

View the original on UTSA Today:

Photo courtesy of Dr. Marie Miranda

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