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Student Spotlight: Lizdelia Pinon

As we celebrate Latinx Heritage Month and the ongoing contributions of Latinx educators and advocates, we highlight some of the TCU College of Education students, scholars, teachers and leaders making an impact in their communities.

Lizdelia Piñon is an Educational Leadership Doctoral Candidate and Intensive English Program Doctoral Graduate Instructor at TCU. She serves on the Cook Children’s Hispanic Family Advisory Council and aspires to make an impact in multilingual education.

What topic are you writing about in your dissertation and what takeaways came from the research?

“Dr. Steve Przymus brought in David and Yvonne Freeman, scholars in bilingual education. I happened to be there for the symposium and I asked Yvonne what I should look into for my dissertation. She said to find a school that’s implementing a translanguaging program and follow the district.

I think translanguaging is here to stay and bilingual programs are slowly moving toward it. It’s a wonderful program that allows the child to use all their language, not just teaching English and forgetting Spanish. Most programs in Texas are dual language programs, but they’re compartmentalized. You’re teaching math in one language, then writing in another language. Translanguaging doesn’t have those parameters. It’s a socially just way of teaching students who come from another country and helping them grow in multiple languages.

My dissertation is an ethnography – I interviewed parents, staff and administrators working on piloting of a translanguaging program. My biggest takeaway was that everyone needs to be on the same page. Everyone needs to have a clear understanding of what translanguaging is and how it’s going to look in our school district, because it might differ from one school district to another.”

What is the importance for you personally of advocating for Latinx students and families in the community?

“I really feel like there’s a need for educated Latinos to be a part of school districts and to be part of community boards. We bring something else. We have a different lens that we see through.

My husband (Dr. Santiago Piñon) and I are out in the community all the time, trying to be a voice for Latino families and for our special needs community, because we have a mix of both. That’s something I brought to TCU. They heard me as a parent of a special needs child, and also as a Latina and as a first-generation student. It’s very different what we bring than what other students bring.”