The Gift of Bilingualism

When I was 12 years old, my parents moved my family from my hometown of Cody, Wyoming to San José, Costa Rica. Their vision was to equip their daughters with the knowledge of languages and cultures needed for leadership and achievement in our multicultural society and global economy. In retrospect, I recognize that my parents gave me the most precious and transformational experience of my life. With this foundation, I have dedicated my career to promoting opportunities for others to experience the fulfillment of being bilingual and bicultural. I have carried out this mission as a bilingual teacher, teacher educator, and program administrator in Texas, Mexico and California.

Curriculum Development

I have a strong commitment to putting high-quality and pedagogically sound curriculum for bilingual learners into the hands of teachers. Most recently, I collaborated with Silvia Dorta-Duque de Reyes of the San Diego County Office of Education on completing the Linguistic Augmentation for grades K-5 of the Spanish Language Arts/Literacy standards of the Common Core Standards. The curriculum document titled Common Core en Español offers bilingual/biliteracy teachers a translation of the California Common Core. The linguistic augmentation provides teachers with a guide to authentic and effective instruction in Spanish for bilingual learners. I thank Silvia Reyes for the opportunity to be involved in this important project.

I am also an author for Pearson/Scott Foresman’s Spanish Reading Program 2012 Calle de la Lectura and Pearson’s Language Central English Language Development Program 2012.

University Teaching

I believe that preparing teachers for the diverse population of students is the most exciting and challenging endeavor in teacher education today. My teaching, professional growth and service activities are directed toward preparing students for teaching in California schools with a high level of knowledge, skill and appreciation of the complexities of teaching with children and youth from many cultural and linguistic backgrounds.

In 1994, I was granted a joint appointment with the School of Teacher Education and the Imperial Valley Campus. In 1997, my fourth year with SDSU, I transferred from the Imperial Valley Campus to the San Diego Campus to accept an appointment in English Language Development with the School of Teacher Education. In Fall 2000, I was awarded tenure and promotion to Associate Professor. I retired from SDSU in December 2012 after 18 years of service to the University.

During my teaching career at San Diego State University, I taught courses in literacy and methods of instruction for English Language Learners, primarily sections for multiple subjects and single subjects credential candidates of PLC 915 Teaching in the Content Areas: ELD/SDAIE.  These courses are the core of the credential program under SB 2010 that requires that all California teachers be qualified to teach English Language Learners. The courses give teacher candidates the knowledge and skills to select teaching methods and design effective lessons for teaching linguistically diverse learners. These courses also provide future teachers with knowledge of research in the areas of effective schooling practices for language minority students so that they are equipped to critically analyze the impact of public policies on programs and classrooms that serve bilingual learners. I provide a generic syllabus for these courses to support teacher education faculty in course planning and development to enhance the effectiveness of teacher credential programs in preparing teachers for our linguistically and culturally student population.

In 2012, I retired from San Diego State University after 18 years of teaching in the School of Teacher Education. I remain active and involved in teacher preparation and professional development through conferences, professional development presentations, guest lectures and collaborative projects with local school districts. I also continue to engage in advocacy for language minority students and educators who are committed to advancing their academic achievement and personal actualization as they strive to develop and fulfill their full human potential.


Before coming to SDSU, I was involved in the education of culturally diverse populations in the public schools as a bilingual teacher, consultant, administrator and teacher educator. I served as a consultant with the Texas Education Agency; as a lecturer and Assistant Professor in bilingual and second-language teacher education at three universities and a private college in Texas. In Mexico, I worked as a school administrator for a private bilingual school and as Director of Realizaciones, S.A., the international education consulting firm I founded in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

CSU Resident Director in Mexico

From 2003-2005 I served as Resident Director of the California State University system’s International Program and International BCLAD Credential Program in Querétaro, Mexico.

The nine months in Mexico included a variety of field experiences, two of which will be in rural areas.  In Querétaro, students had the opportunity to observe and conduct supervised student teaching in both public and private schools. Sixty-two BCLAD credential candidates completed the program under my directorship. These teacher candidates had a diverse and rich experience taking courses and conducting field experiences and teaching in Mexican public and private schools. During the fall semester, teacher candidates usually traveled to the Sierra Gorda and spent a week in a rural school, while living in the city of Jalpan. This area is home to five missions that were built in the 1700s by Padre Junípero Serra. In the spring, after five weeks of practice teaching in public schools in Querétaro, the Mexican experience ended with several weeks of practice teaching in a rural school in the Estado de Mexico, where an indigenous language is spoken in the home and Spanish is often learned as a second language. This experience was often viewed as the most challenging and most rewarding of the entire experience. While the site and specifics may change each year, students benefitted from the opportunity to live with families in these rural areas to really understand the life experiences of many of the children who come to California. These families, while often very poor have a very strong community spirit and share that spirit with the California BCLAD teacher candidates.  Click here for a slide show about the Mexico BCLAD Credential Program experience: Los Niños que Compartimos.

Spanish Language Pedagogy Book

Spanish Language Pedagogy for Biliteracy Programs by Jill Kerper Mora is a book that takes prospective biliteracy teachers and active professionals into a deep and insightful exploration of the many dimensions of Spanish language and literacy instruction. The term “pedagogy” in the book’s title conveys its purpose, which is to articulate the theoretical and research base of the approaches, methods, strategies and learning activities that together comprise the discipline of Spanish language pedagogy to refine bilingual educators’ expertise in the theory and practice of teaching in, through and about Spanish. Using vignettes of teachers’ collaborative planning and classroom practices, the author illustrates how teachers design units and lessons to facilitate students’ metalinguistic knowledge development. A feature of the book is the linkage between standards-based planning and instruction and the parallels between second-language methods and approaches and literacy instruction grounded in linguistics, psycholinguistic and metalinguistic knowledge development.

The author has a profound respect for Spanish in its own right, which supports her presentation of Spanish language and literacy approaches based on the Common Core curriculum and standards from Spanish-speaking countries. The book contains a collection of literary and informational texts from different grade levels of the Mexico Programa de Español with accompanying learning activities. Dr. Mora also provides biliteracy teachers the knowledge base to challenge assumptions that sometimes lead to imposition of English language and literacy methodologies onto Spanish language arts instruction in biliteracy programs.

Chapter 1 Context of Spanish Language Pedagogy

Chapter 2 Linguistic Foundations for Biliteracy

Chapter 3 Approaches to Spanish Language and Literacy Instruction

Chapter 4 Teaching for Metalinguistic Knowledge Development

Chapter 5 Close Reading of Literary and Informational Text

Chapter 6 Writing in Spanish for Language and Literacy Learning

Chapter 7 Dual Language Program Evaluation

Please click here for details to purchase my book, Spanish Language Pedagogy for Biliteracy Programs through Montezuma Publishing/Redshelf.

Jill Kerper Mora