Embracing Change: Reflection on Practice in Immigrant Communities

  • Gresilda Anne Tilley-Lubbs Virginia Tech
  • Jennifer McCloud Virginia Tech
Keywords: Critical Pedagogy, Social Justice, Reflective Practice, Power, Immigrants, Narrative, Dialogue, Community, Curriculum, Poststructuralism


The authors address disconnects that developed within Sin frontera, a program originally designed as an educational program for Mexican and Honduran women. The program gradually moved away from its grassroots origins and culture circles as institutionalized practices gradually informed our curriculum, causing us to implement institutionalized concepts of education, whether through overt or invisible discourses (Foucault, 1980). Initially based on Freirean concepts of conscientization, collegiality, and consensual governance (Freire, 1970), the program gradually shifted to a hierarchical institutionalized model in which we as facilitators subsumed the principal decision-making function that had once been the women’s domain. Poststructuralist analysis of narrative evaluations, emails, and fieldnotes revealed that families living in immigrant communities face sociocultural issues that affect program expectations. Analysis also revealed the importance of constant dialogue with participants to minimize asymmetrical power dynamics. We offer this paper as a contribution to the ongoing conversation about adult educational experiences in immigrant communities.


Author Biographies

Gresilda Anne Tilley-Lubbs, Virginia Tech

School of Education, Department of Teaching and Learning

Gresilda A. Tilley-Lubbs, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Virginia Tech

Jennifer McCloud, Virginia Tech

School of Education, Department of Teaching and Learning

Doctoral Candidate

Equal authors to be listed in alphabetical order, but Gresilda Tilley-Lubbs is the principal contact.