THE overall mission of the Department of Education is to offer quality
education which provides all students with the opportunity to fully develop
their personalities and talents. In the process of developing each students
potential, the department proposes to help individuals become educated
human beings. To attain these objectives it must meet the educational needs
of all the citizenry: the urban, rural and the migratory segments of the
population as well.
As part of this goal, the department believes that stu-dents should have the opportunity to value and learn a second language largely because it offers learners many advantages. To begin with, learning a second language is a means for students to develop cognitive abilities, (Lambert, 1987) through the development of critical and creative thinking strategies. These strategies are necessary to achieve problem solving and divergent thinking abilities. All of these skills are indispensable to a fully educated person.
Second language learning also heIps students perceive the world and its realities differently from the way it is viewed through the native culture and language. Contact with other world views benefits students by preparing them to operate effectively within a different cultural context. Cultural ex-periences through second language learning also foster the development of affective skills. These help students under-stand themselves better and develop greater tolerance and solidarity with other people. Therefore, second language learning is an educationally enriching experience which also enriches learner's lives by enabling students to move freely in more than one cultural or socioeconomic scenario. THE English program's philosophy and mission stems from
the general goals of the Department of Education. The overall mission
is to develop communicatively competent students in English as well as
Spanish, the native language. Reaching this goal is of vital importance
since both lan-guages arae official languages in Puerto Rico. More specifi-cally,
the English program in the public school system aims to develop oral and
written communication skills. Growth in listening and reading competency
are implied in the development of the productive skills, since listening
and reading are means to the attainment of speaking and writ-ing skills.