Abriendo Puertas (Opening Doors) through Writing

Oct. 10, 2010

Source: The Teacher Educator, Volume 45, Issue 4, pages 273 – 286. (October 2010 ). 
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This article presents the experiences of a Latina professor and a gay, Latino university student in a writing project for an elementary reading credential course. The project focuses on the student's negotiation of sexual identity in writing.

In particular, this article examines (a) the complexities of the writing process,
(b) how the family history-writing project impacts the teacher candidate's negotiation of sexual identity and
(c) the role of heritage language as he struggles to establish himself both as a teacher and an out gay man.

Also examined are the features of this university classroom environment that provided him with the necessary safety and support to engage in his writing for real life purposes.


The findings suggest that the power behind the written text can be transformational and healing. The act of writing, the environment, and the instructor contributed to the documented works of survival, hardships, strength, and love. For Sergio, it created a space for an analytical retrospective self-understanding of who he was and what mattered.

For instructors of writing we have to be mindful of the multiplicities of our students' experiences and personal struggles as well as their competencies and challenges with writing. The family history-writing project promoted self-reflection, led to a better understanding of the complexities of writing, and in this case, provided the opportunity for mentorship.

Similar projects should be embedded in reading/language arts courses in teacher education programs.

Updated: Jan. 23, 2011