Assistant Secretary of Education: Educational Message

THE TEACHING of English in Puerto Rico had been directed on the configuration of the behavioristic theory of learning before a group of applied linguists studied the process and outcomes of this theory and decided to further study the area of language learning. They became interested in the pedagogical aspects of the language and identified problems which revealed that changes in the philosophy, approaches, methodology, and teaching strategies were needed to deal with the learning of a second language. Therefore, the teaching of English was re-oriented with a new set of principles and ideas. As a result, the English Program of the Puerto Rico Department of Education underwent a curriculum evaluation and revision taking into consideration new findings in language teaching and the latest trends in second language acquisition and learning theories.
    Jean Piaget's cognitive code theory, which emphasizes learning as a thinking process and postulates that the learner brings cognitive structures and schemata into, the learning atmosphere, has inspired the development of this guide. Yet, there have been other theories that have contributed. The humanistic psychology theory brings a new, very important dimension in language learning:
emphasis on the student's affective factors to complete the learning process. The teaching of English is based on how human beings deal with the language acquired and how they use it functionally. Within the communicative func-tions of the language, the functional-notional approach gives attention to, five crucial variables of learning: the situation, communication, language forms, semantics, and humanistic psychology. These do indeed contribute to leading our students into achieving communicative competence in the language which is the ultimate goal of the English Program.
    This curricular guide provides many suggested activities that will help teachers lead students to develop concepts, attitudes, and skills within the area of competencies that will encourage the use of English in meaningful contexts.
    I invite you to share with me the joy of teaching as we enter this challenging path that will guide us toward accomplishing our mission and make the teaching/learning of English one of the best worldwide.

Isidra Albino
Assistant Secretary of Education