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Academic Paper


Title: La Clase Mágica: Imagining optimal possibilities in a bilingual community of learners
Author: Roberto R. Heredia
Institution: Texas A&M University
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics; Sociolinguistics
Abstract: In this volume, Vásquez accounts the detailed development of an after-school project specifically designed to assist and prepare Mexican-American students to acquire the "social and cultural capital (knowledge of know how to)" necessary to understand the workings of the dominant culture, which are directly related to the
culture of higher education and education in general. To succeed or pursue
higher education, the minority individual must have enough social and cultural capital. One purpose of the volume is to assist and provide the disadvantaged individual with this social and cultural capital. Another purpose is to promote intellectual and cognitive development as well as self-esteem among Mexican-Americans living in a predominantly Mexican community. For this reason, participants in this program are free to express themselves in Spanish or English or to mix both languages without any feelings of inferiority; that is, la clase mágica
attempts to control for such notions that there is a dominant language and the idea that the teacher teaches and the student listens and learns. In this classroom, teaching and learning is a collaborative effort among equals. It also shows how information technology could be used to assist and educate not only younger individuals but also adults (e.g., undergraduates, graduate students, parents) willing to participate and collaborate in the process of discovery and symbiotic learning.

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This article appears IN Studies in Second Language Acquisition Vol. 27, Issue 4, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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