Negotiating Entangled Contradictions About Being Well Educated: Nudos (Knots) in the Lives of Bilingual Latina Teachers

Sandra Quiñones


In this paper I draw from a qualitative study examining how bilingual Puerto Rican teachers in an urban elementary school conceptualized and enacted being a well-educated person. The research design was inspired and informed by the Chicana/Latina feminist concept of trenzas (braids) and explores how multiple strands of identity shape teachers’ perspectives and experiences. I use trenzas as an analytical tool to strategically examine cultural views of education and schooling from the perspective of Latina/o teachers. In the findings I emphasize experiences when personal, professional and community identities merge to (re)affirm bilingual-bicultural perspectives, as well as collide and reflect points of entanglement in the lives of the participants. I forward the concept of nudos (knots) to explain when participants negotiated entangled contradictions grounded in cultural differences and conflicting expectations. In the discussion and conclusion, I discuss implications for teacher education.


language, culture, and socialization; bilingualism-biculturalism; ser bien educado and being well educated; Chicana/Latina feminism; Critical Biculturalism

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