Bridges to bilingualism: Teachers

  • Madeline Milian University of Northern Colorado
  • Dana Walker University of Northern Colorado
Keywords: bilingual intercultural education (BIE), Indigenous education, Mayan languages, Guatemala


The Peace Accords of 1996 aimed to bring significant changes for Indigenous people of Guatemala by promoting new educational opportunities centering on the recognition that culture and language are critical components of education. Bilingual intercultural programs have been created and attention to the detrimental effects of language loss and cultural identity have gained attention as Guatemala portrays itself to the rest of the world as a proud multiethnic and multilingual nation. As teachers are essential in the implementation of educational programs, this study explores the perspectives of 13 Indigenous bilingual teachers from multiple communities and their role in implementing programs that promote bilingualism, biliteracy, and intercultural education in their respective communities. Teachers proudly accepted the responsibility of bridging school and home languages and recognized that educational progress had taken place, but expressed the need for continued improvements, as there are still many unmet goals both at the national and individual community levels.

Author Biographies

Madeline Milian, University of Northern Colorado

School of Teacher Education

Professor of Bilingual/ESL Education

Dana Walker, University of Northern Colorado

School of Teacher Education

Professor, Bilingual/ESL Education

How to Cite
Milian, M., & Walker, D. (2019). Bridges to bilingualism: Teachers. FIRE: Forum for International Research in Education, 5(3).