CHANGE STRATEGIES TO
HELP SHAPE THE
BILINGUAL STUDENT IN  
PUERTO RICO
    

     This reform project for the English and Spanish instruction conducive to develop citizens with the ability to use both languages as vehicles of communication, will  start by strengthening the teachers' capacity to teach through a broad program of professional development. It will aim at certifying both English and bilingual education teachers.  Moreover, they will be trained on the new  teaching methodologies and strategies; as well as on the modern paradigms of he curricular reform and the integration of other disciplines such as Humanities, Science, an Mathematics.  English and Spanish instructors will participate in immersion programs aimed at improving their pronunciation and intonation in English.  In addition to practice professional writing and other linguistic aspects. With regard to the latter, they will receive assistance from the Techers' Exchange Program. Emphasis will be given to the relevance of understanding the standards of excellence and the theoretical curricular framework, as well as the bilingual philosophy. The integration of technology: computers, information networks, the internet and others, will be the basic elements for the contemporary teacher. The humanitarian element of education will be stressed with special focus on concepts such as study, work, cultural diversity, and prevention. 

    The Centers for Dissemination of the PRSSI Project, will become centers for the professional advancement of teachers where they will receive orientation regarding pedagogy and the scope of curricular reform in all different disciplines. 

  1. These will be education resource centers containing books, multiple-use laboratories, reading workshops, writing workshops, music areas, computers, videos, tape machines, television with cable service and others.
  2. An action plan will be developed to contribute to the student's personal growth through the following: 
    • a. provide counseling 
      b. foster the creation of a family and therapeutical environment in the 
          classroom and in the school facilities graduaily helping the student to 
          develop self-esteem and motivate his,her desire for  personal changes 
          and growth. 
      c. Assess what effective tools are there in regards to the student's level of 
          values and proceed to strengthen them with several effective teaching 
          models found among the following:
 
MODEL
THEORIST
ORIENTATION
OBJECTIVES
Development of Ego Erick Development Solution of ego crises
Development of morals Lawrence Kohlberg Development of 
Personality
Avoid lagging behind during growth strages.
Instruction for identify Weinstein & Fantini Self -concept Passive identity, self-control and ability to relate with others.
Transactional Analysis  Berme, Harris Sensible to group Open communication and personal growth.
Spirirual Development James, Fowler Development of faith in self, others and in God Establish optimal relations with him,her through understanding of self and others
 
    The school directors, acting as facilitators of the academic efforts, shall provide the necessary spaces in the students' schedule so they can participate in the activities related to personal and academic development offered at the Resource Center or in other areas of the school  facilities and in the community. 
 
     The Department of Education shall: 
  1. Assign the complete instruction of the English language at all to specialists in this area. 
  2. Create and/or support the existing Centers for Personal where resources are readily available to the teacher so that he, she can utilize them to improve his/her skills in all aspects of language and culture instruction. During the seminars teachers can design action research projects.  It is the place where other teaching professionals meet to share ideas and experiences, and where each teacher can participate in activities related to personal growth. 
  3. Establish a program aimed that offers lectures for strengthening the teachers' and director's emotional health, provide equipment, a sports area and other resources.
  4. Turn the school facilities into attractive and comfortable places in which the process of teaching - learning is highly encouraged. 
  5. Allow only those instructors with good command of English to teach the English      courses. 
  6. Elaborate an intensive program for recruiting long and short-term personnel suitable for this position. Among other measures, the following ought to be considered: 
    • a. Organize inter-views with university undergraduate students, completing 
          their 3rd and last year. and graduate English students who are 
          specializing in the areas of pedagogy and the humanities local universities 
          in order in order to attract them to our public school system. 
      b. Create a scholarship program to cover the expenses for those students 
          who wants to become English teachers. These students should study at 
          universities on the mainland or in English speaking countries abroad.
  7.  Provide the means to assign an average of 25 students per course. The same ought to be done in the instruction of the vernacular so that teachers have the opportunity to provide individual attention to their students and make an ongoing assessment of their communicative skills. 
  8. Promote and allow school directors to bring community volunteers to serve as tutors for the instruction of English and to offer these services at the Center for Professional Development. 
  9. Allow for flexibility and provide the means to encourage students to be promoted to a higher level in a particular subject within the same grade, after the teacher has evaluated the case and recommend him/her according to the student's skills and understanding of the subject matter. 
  10. Do not allow arry student to fall behind an entire school year because he/she failed in the English class or any other class. Instead of having the student repeat one or more than one class, a substitute course should be prepared (as long as it covers the skills required for specific grade, it does not matter if it has the same duration. This course could be taken during summer school or during the school year in the extended period or time.
    With regards to the method of reaching English, research done by psycholinguists assert that children have the ability to use reasoning at a higher, therefore, they are able to evaluate ideas level during the age of 3 or less, therefore, they evaluate ideas within the extent of their own experience. Upon reaching the age of  5 or 6, these children usually have the ability to utilize all their thinking skills. 

    Since the early grades children should be encouraged to develop a taste for and the habit of reading. There is numerous bibliographical evidence or written work from Puerto Rico and other pans of the world which advocates the importance, receptivity and ability of children between the ages of three (3) and eight (8) to read, and write in their native language as well as in others. 

    It is often heard or read about the importance of stimulating children from the moment they are born, to read to them, talk, sing or play with them to develop skills and prepare them for school. 

    The Department of Education in Colorado and the Education Faculty from the University of Colorado Springs, carried out several studies in which children between the ages of three (3) and eight (8) were found to be more receptive and able to begin reading, writing and teaming several languages. If children are introduced to reading and writing at an age when they are more receptive, they will possess a reservoir of knowledge or have a sound foundation to continue learning. Dr. Barbara Swaby suggests that the ability to read and write will gain more importance as the year 2000 draws near. She thinks that a course for teachers regarding the early reading instruction in elementary school would give them the opportunity to share valuable information that would make a significant difference. 

    On the other hand, recent studies from the University of Southern California the University of Canada the University of Florida and other universities, reveal that students today are more interested in learning to read thanks to the technological advancements which stimulate and challenge them to continue learning and participating in new technology games and activities. 

    Among the advocates of the reading instruction at an early age, one finds: Jean Piaget, Professor Carmen Gómez Tejera, and Professor José Cáceres, Ph. D. from the University of Puerto Rico among many others.  In their courses and writings, the aforementioned human behavior researchers and experts in education, have discussed the relevance of preparing children from the time they are born to become good readers or to love reading; for reading is the best source of human enrichment. 

    Some teachers believe that the development of critical thinking skills should not be taught at an early age, therefore, they postpone these activities until students  have reached the 7th grade or even later grades. This is detrimental to students mental growth. 

    The formulation of significant questions plays a pivotal role in the development of these skills. Professor Josephine Ives, Ph.D., from the University of New York, conducted a study to analyze the types of questions teachers prepare for their students. The results revealed that three percent (3%) of the questions stimulated students to a critical level, two point seven percent (2.7%) to a deductive level, and ninety-seven percent (97%) to a literal level. 

    The teaching of a language should be carried out within an oral and written context by means of dialogue, reading and writing. Therefore, grammar and language usage ought not be confused that is English class should not be used to teach grammar but the use of language.  Certain grammar exercises can be used to reinforce some skills, but they should be the means not the goal of teaching English. 
From the above assumptions, the Spanish Program will be guided by the following alternatives, among others: 

  1. Readiness for reading in Spanish will start in kindergarten with the necessary school autonomy to direct the child who is able to begin this process. At the end of his/her first grade the child will have command of reading in Spanish.
  2. The cognitive theory of learning, contrary to structural behaviorism, underscores that language arts: listening, speaking, reading, and writing can be taught simultaneously, therefore, we shall introduce the child into learning English in first grade by exposing him/her to reading during his/her second school semester.
  3. For the development of reading skills, it is imperative to include skills that help the student acquire and understand the sentence structures in English. Structure comprehension is an essential part of reading, it has the same importance as vocabulary comprehension but this as part of the communicative competence development.
  4. Upon completing K-3 students should be able to read in Spanish and English with correctness and propriety. During 4th grade emphasis will be given to creative writing as a sequel of reading. This genre of writing Will have been started, in fact, in previous years. In 5th grade, the  schools where the Puerto Rico Statewide Systemic Initiavie in Science and Mathematics (SSI) is functioning and all others with similar characteristics will be introduced to Science in a bilingual mode.  The teacher will be able to discuss the readings in English with the students.
  5. Spanish and English instruction at the intermediate level (7-8-9) will be reinforced, in the first place, by the “block scheduling”, that is, both classes will have an extended period of 90 minutes.  This will warrant the development of oral, written and reading with more allotted time.  In this level, recreational reading will also be developed.  To comply with one remaing credit requirements of the school organization, class schedule will become more flexible by using “time blocks”on alternate days”: Monday Wednesday and Friday; Tuesday and Thursday.  This will help teachers improve the availability of the teacher, class schedules will be arranged at regular intervals using extended time frames.
  6. All participating schools under Project SSI and the ones under agreement with the Schools Council will consider Science and Mathematics, if Possible, as bilingual courses.
  7. English supervisors will assist in the professional development of teachers. English teachers may attend a workshop or seminar one afternoon a week. This shall be offered and/or coordinated by the supervisors and superintendents. Supervisors will not be allowed to substitute for school directors; they cannot abandon their responsibility to disseminate and monitor the integration of standards of excellence and the teachers’ professional development.
  8. The high school level will be oriented toward a cross curriculum approach and an integration curriculum. Teachers will meet to conduct classes in an integrated manner using common theme. for example: the environment, the family, prevention, work.  Block continue, if possible, with Science and Mathematics in English and Spanish in schools that decide to implement this program.
  9. High school students will participate in English immersion programs to refine their conversational ability and others in Spanish to refine writing skills. These courses shall be offered on an ongoing basis at the Training Center in Aguadilla and other identified centers. Each aspect of Spanish reading will refocus on texts promoting the development of universal values. The readings of the classics in Spanish literature should be reinforced with readings by authors such as: Lope de Vega, Calderón de la Barca, Cervantes, Saavedra and others. In English a diversity of texts will also be reinforced with the use of literary classics such as William Shakespeare, Lord Byron, William Yeats, and others.
  10. The technological vocational courses will be conducted in English mainly to help students in obtaining jobs in which English is necessary for their professional advancement.
TABLES OF PUBLIC POLICY REGARDING
CURRICULAR EMPHASIS ON THE
INSTRUCTION OF ENGLISH AND SPANISH LEVELS AND GRADES
Priority will be given to reading by using books and the computer
PRIMARY LEVEL KINDERGARTEN TO THIRD GRADE
Kinder
 
 
 
 
  • Family values will be strengthened and self knowledge will be emphasized.
  • Introduction to reading and other languages arts in Spanish.
  • Concrete integration of the fine arts and the strengthening of  values and self-knowledge.
First
 
 
 
 
 
  • Continuity.
  • Students should read in Spanish on completion this grade.  Emphasis in reading in all subjects.
  • The Humanities in English and Spanish.
  • Reading is introduced simultaneously with language arts in English in the second semester.
Second
 
 
 
 
  • Reading in both languages. Spanish in all subjects; English in its class.
  • Emphasis on values and self-knowledge.
  • The Humanities are integrated.
Third
 
 
 
 
  • Continued strengthening values and self-knowledge.
  • Children read subtantially in both languages with emphasis in  reading comprehension.
  • Priority is given to creative writing from the reading.

 

4"' TO 6" GRADE LEVEL
 
Teacher should be cognizant of the curricular emphasis from K to 3 for continuity.
Fourth
 
  • Strengthening skills in Spanish and English reading, writing, speaking, and listening.
Fifth
 
 
 
  • Continue with emphasis from the fourth grade.
  • Schools with resources that have reached a consensus with school Councils may integrate English in Math class.
Sixth
 
 
  • Continue with emphasis in the fourth and fifth grades. English is integrated to Science class in schools with resources and after School Council consensus.
Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Reinforcement of English and Spanish program with 90-minutes periods.
  • Emphasis on integration of the Fine Arts and Humanities.
  • Emphasis on the integration of technological concept in vocational courses.
  • Emphasis on conversational, recreational reading, analysis, synthesis, and integration.
  • Emphasis on documentary investigation.
  • Emphasis on conversational aspect in both languages.
Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth
 
 
 
  • Participate in English immersion program and Spanish reduction.
  • Emphasis on the Classics in literature.
  • Vocational courses with emphasis in English and technological concepts. Apply the same emphasis in seventh

  • through ninth grade.
 
  
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