UCI School of Education students attended the annual California Association of Bilingual Educators (CABE) conference, held March 20-23 in Long Beach, California. During the conference, Araceli Jimenez received a 2019 Chuck and Estella Acosta Teachership Award, given to support an outstanding college or university student pursuing a bilingual teaching career.
From Susan Guilfoyle, Lecturer, BCLAD Coordinator
Bilingual Teacher Blog, 3/28/19
This year, all six UCI bilingual elementary Master of Arts in Teaching students were able to attend the CABE conference in Long Beach, supported in part by a grant recently awarded to the School of Education. The students attended various workshops, met several district representatives from dual immersion schools, and cheered fellow MAT student, Araceli Jimenez, at the awards luncheon on March 21. Araceli Jimenez is the 10th bilingual MAT student to receive a teachership award from CABE (see below). She received the award with other aspiring bilingual teachers that were selected, and was among other noted recipients receiving distinguished awards for their dedication to the field of bilingual education.
Other students in attendance were UCI secondary world language MAT students and undergraduate members of the Bilingual Teacher Student Association, a student organization at UCI. Cabinet members of BTSA are currently minoring in bilingual education at UCI, a new minor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese that launched this past fall. They were able to attend a free day in exchange for their volunteer service on another day.
Araceli Jimenez Tribute from 2019 CABE Program
Pursuing a career as a bilingual teacher was something that captured the interest of Araceli Jimenez ever since she started to work with students in schools within her community. In these schools, the students had similar backgrounds to hers, which created a connection between them - a connection where there was a sense of belonging and acceptance based on their similar cultural assets.
AraceIi believes that bilingualism plays an important role in education because learning two languages expands children's cognitive skills: "Children have the opportunity to thrive in a diverse society where they learn about another culture, another way of life, and/or make connections within their own culture." Araceli says this helps children to become more open-minded and learn to accept differences, in order to create a collaborative learning environment.
Araceli relates that when she was a long-term substitute AP Spanish teacher at a high school, students were struggling because they hadn't had a regular, continual teacher present in their Spanish class. As challenging as it was, Araceli moved forward because her goal, as a bilingual teacher, was always to create an effective learning environment where students are taught concepts, knowledge, and skills through the language they know best, and that are then reinforced through the Spanish language. Araceli explains, “Once students saw my commitment in cultivating their curiosity and interest in learning, they became more motivated to learn and gained a better sense of themselves and their future as bilinguals."
Her student teacher supervisor believes that AraceIi will make an excellent teacher and leader. He says that during his classroom observations, Araceli demonstrated the skills, content knowledge and demeanor necessary to develop into a professional bilingual educator: “Araceli believes that as a bilingual teacher, she will make a difference in the lives of her students and her professors are certain that she is bringing the same sense of self-efficacy to her studies at UCI."
In addition to working as a long-term substitute at a high school, Araceli has had other educational roles, such as a small group math instructor, after-school instructor, and Education and Outreach intern. Her supervisor describes Araceli as committed to working in the dual immersion field and showing great promise.
Another of her professors states that Araceli is strong in lesson organization, communication in both languages and planning appropriate support for all learners. Her student teaching assignments so far include two-way immersion in Spanish, third-grade immersion in Spanish, and, currently, student teaching in a sixth -grade two-way immersion classroom in Spanish.
As a native Spanish speaker, from a home where Spanish is still used as the main form of communication, Araceli values her home culture and language and knows that it is very important to her identity. She intends to be a teacher that strongly promotes social justice and celebrates cultural and linguistic diversity in her future classroom.
About the Charles and Estella Acosta Teachership Award: Chuck Acosta's education career spanned 35 years which includes being a bilingual education consultant for the Los Angeles County Office of Education. Chuck served on many local, county and state educational committees. Through his work and vision, he influenced many educators and state legislators. Chuck Acosta was one of the co-founders of the California Association for Bilingual Education (CABE). Without his vision, tenacity and true belief in the power of bilingual education, CABE would not exist today. He knew that with the growing number of English Learners in California, we would need an organization to be a powerful source of grass-roots advocacy; political clout and also be the premier source of professional development for teachers, administrators, para-educators, and parents.