Dr. Maria de la Piedra is a Latina Educational Anthropologist and Bilingual Educator. Her research draws from the fields of Educational Anthropology, Bilingual Education, and Literacy Studies to explore language and literacy practices in diverse settings where physical and metaphorical borders are crossed. Her ethnography in the Peruvian Andes with Quechua Indigenous communities analyzes the biliteracy practices (Quechua and Spanish) occurring in school and out-of-school settings.
More recently, she studies the language and biliteracy practices of Mexican transnationals and transfronterizxs. She documents the rich, multiple, and complex ways in which children on the US-Mexico border use their knowledge of two languages, nations, educational contexts, and cultures in their everyday lives. Her book Educating Across Borders: The Case of a Dual Language Program on the U.S.-Mexico Border published by University of Arizona Press (Fall 2018) documents the ways in which transfronterizxs use their cultural and linguistic resources in order to participate meaningfully in a dual language classroom.
Currently, her ethnographic project centers on STEM and Engineering education in dual language elementary classrooms. She studies translanguaging practices for academic development in these content areas. Her publications inform the US and international educational community with research findings on alternative instructional approaches to biliteracy.
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