IN the late 80s, discontent with the outcomes of education led the
legislature of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to pass the Organic Act
of the Department of Education on August 28, 1990. At the time, there was
gen-eral consensus about the need for reform to achieve excellence and
quality in education throughout the island. The- ultimate goal of the Organic
Act was to guarantee all the citizens of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
the right to an education that would develop each individual's person-ality
and talents. In this pursuit it aimed to fully educate every human being
to be free of prejudice due to sex, religion. political belief, or social
To achieve these goals, in a context of excellence and quality, the Department of Education decided to completely revise all of its program offering. Furthermore, it was de-cided that each of the revisions in the content areas was to emphasize: the preservation and transmission of cultural and ethical values, the development of the intellect through critical thinking skills, and the development of psychomo-tor abilities.
Integration of the different course revisions across the school curriculum was to be achieved by adherence to three educational principles which are presented and analyzed in Principios para la Integración del Currículo (Department of Education. 1988).
THE first principle require education to be meaningful to learners.
Meaningfulness is achieved when education is related to the needs, interests,
and experiences of students.
Meaningfull education for learners starts front the familiar and the known experience. Departing from the known en-ables the learner to add new information to the previously known (the schemata) and to establish links and associa-tions. This uniquely creative process results in the acquisi-tion of new knowledge or learning.
The second principle requires education to stimulate thought, by emphasizing the development of the ability to think critically. For example, learners are to be encouraged to analyze by breaking down concepts and ideas into their component parts.
The last principle required for integration mandates the development of moral principles through such values as truth, freedom, justice, peace, honesty, tolerance, laboriousness, dignity, and solidarity Furthermore, the Organic Act disposed that: “These three principles are to be implemented through teaching strategies which encourgage learners to explore, con-ceptualize and apply new learning.”
THE language policy for the public education system
was also established by the Organic Act. It mandates that edu-cation shall
be imparted in Spanish, the vernacular lan-guage. English shall be taught
as a second, official language in Puerto Rico.
This guide for teaching English is an official document. It presents the official policy of the government of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, as interpreted by the Department of Education, in regard to the teaching of English as a Second language in the public schools of Puerto Rico. It
provides the conceptual framework concerning the prin-ciples, approaches and techniques derived from recent re-search in the teaching of English. It also establishes the core curriculum and guidelines for the teaching, learning and evaluating activities in teaching English as a second lan-guage.
As a result of educational experiences in the English Pro-gram, the Department of Education seeks to develop the following characteristics in students: