Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version

Summer 2007


Morales, A., Diaz de Sabates, G., Fanning, C., & Murry, K. (2007). Retention of first-generation Mexican American paraeducators in teacher education: The juggling act of nontraditional students. The Texas Association of Bilingual Education Journal, 9(2), 111-135.


This paper discusses the dynamics and challenges encountered by culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) paraeducators who are participating in a 2+2, distance-delivered, teacher education program in the Midwest. The theoretical framework that serves as the basis of this case study is Thomas and Collier’s Prism Model (Collier, 19878: Collier & Thomas, 1989; Thomas & Collier, 1997), which focuses on the four essential dimensions of the student biography (linguistic, socio-cultural, academic, and cognitive). This case study should be understood as an account of the lived experiences of 30 CLD paraeducators in a unique recruitment and retention program designed to support all four dimensions of the student biography. To these ends, the researcher seeks to understand this pioneering project within a complex socio-political system and its implications for recruitment, retention and graduation of CLD students. Furthermore, the paper provides critical insights to inform the field concerning future program design.