Llano Grande Class
As Llano Grande was borne out of a classroom setting, this space has always been the most natural for us to work in with students.
Originally, Llano Grande’s guiding principles – storytelling and appreciation of our own history – were created out of the English and History classes taught at Edcouch-Elsa High School by our Executive Director Francisco Guajardo.
Since then, the lessons we gained from the work that ensued helped to inspire the progressive curriculum our staff now uses to guide the Llano Grande class, which qualifies as an elective at EEHS under the Social Studies division.
Within this class, which is aligned with the Social Studies Research Methods guidelines of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), students spend time in a cooperative learning, seminar-style class where one of the most noticeable distinctions is the absence of a “teacher”.
Llano Grande staff are deliberate about creating an environment where there is no obvious power dynamic between the teachers and the learners. All those who participate in the class are referred to as “co-learners,” with the idea being that each of us, including Llano Grande staff, are expected to learn from one another. Even as staff carry the responsibility of facilitating the class, we work hard to ensure that students are given as many opportunities as possible to lead, facilitate and decide what the class studies.
The major themes studied throughout the year-long course include an exploration of the self, family and community, and our own history; oppression and its impact in our lives; the place and environment we live in, and how we respect it; what social justice is and how we can become activists for change; ways to engage in the public arenas of our local community; and use of media to share stories and create impact. A large portion of the Llano Grande class is also used to engage in a large-scale project where students take a critical look at the place we live in and engage in community-based research to find solutions to the needs they see.