Box #2: Language Policy & Literacy

U.S. Case Study #3

In 1898 Puerto Rico (P. R.) became a colony of the United States . This movement was not made at the request of the citizens of Puerto Rico . Ironically, in 1897, just the before the Spanish-American War, Spain had declared P. R. to be an autonomous state. P. R. had assumed power just before the U. S. troops arrived in 1898. Between 1900 and 1930 the process of Americanization began with several policies were put into place included: celebration of U. S. patriotic holidays (e.g., 4 th of July), pledging allegiance to the U. S. flag; studying the importance of U. S. historical figures; replacing local text books and curricula with the ones reflecting the U. S. way of life; introduction of organizations such as the Boy Scouts; and attempts to replace Spanish with English as the language of instruction (Spring, 1997, p. 41) [Note 1]. Also, in the early 1900s language policies were put in place in P. R. Puerto Rican teachers and students were sent to the U. S. to learn English, and all instruction took place in English at this time.

  1. Define Americanization .
  2. What was the response of Puerto Ricans to the U. S. attempts at Americanization? In which forms did these responses occur (e.g., popular culture, uprisings)? Provide examples.
  3. Describe the language policy of Puerto Rico in the 20 th century.
  4. What is the current status of language and literacy in Puerto Rico , and of Latinos/as in the U. S. ?
  5. Are the connections between the history of the education of Latinos and the education of other groups that recently have been typically marginalized (African Americans, Native Americans) in the U. S. ? If so, what are those connections? If not, why are there no connections?
  6. Explain the concept of cultural competence and the importance of this concept to assessment and intervention of individuals with communication disorders. What impact can the lack of consideration for culture have on clinical service? [Note 2]
  7. Explain the concepts involved in assessing clients from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Give some examples of speech, language, and/or audiological assessment tools that are and are not sensitive to the needs of individuals from diverse cultural/linguistic backgrounds. Discuss what can be done with those tools to ensure appropriate assessment results.
  8. Explain the concepts involved in culturally appropriate clinical intervention with clients and their families of Latino American descent. Identify a type of communication (speech, language, and/or audiological) disorder and describe cultural considerations for Latino Americans that would impact clinical interventions for that disorder.

For the class presentation,

  1. Identify the problems gleaned from the research conducted for this task
  2. Analyze the problems from various perspectives
  3. Provide evidence (references) for your analyses
  4. Connect this case study with the issues we've discussed in class throughout the semester: globalization, immigration, marginalization, bilingualism and bidialectalism, and literacy. Also insert into the discussion the issue of current demographics in the U. S.
  5. Discuss the situation of this case as it relates to current day issues (2004), and
  6. Propose various strategies for addressing the problems.

This is your final examination
, consequently, the presentation should be a formal one including handouts, visuals (e.g., power point or overheads as appropriate), and bibliographic references.

  1. Spring, J. (1997). Deculturalization and the struggle for equality: Brief history of the education of dominated cultures in the United States . Second Edition. New York : The McGraw-Hill Companies.

  2. This question and the next two were adapted from a syllabus ( Contemporary Issues in Clinical Intervention ) located on line that was produced by Delores Battle.

Copyright © Yvette D. Hyter May 2004