A legacy of language discrimination at Old Pueblo School: Generation after generation of two Yaqui families tell its never-ending story
AuthorShanton, Kyle David, 1962-
KeywordsEducation, Bilingual and Multicultural.
Education, History of.
Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies.
AdvisorMitchell, Judy Nichols
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractResearch in the area of bilingual education language policy has focused generally on: (1) its relation to curriculum development and instructional design, (2) its relation to the legislative process, and (3) its relation to issues of power. Past research, however, failed to concentrate on the meanings of policy assigned by students and the relationship between the letter of policy and the spirit of its enactment at school. The purpose of this humanistic, cultural study was to examine school language policy from both historical and student-centered points of view. By addressing what they have to say in a historical context, I gleaned new insights into the possibilities for future design and evaluation of language policy. I focused on the historical relationship between the lived experiences of students regarding language choice and use at one elementary school and the central language policy statements initiated by the respective state's legislature, issued by the school district's administration and governing body, and interpreted by classroom teachers. The various policy statements and oral histories--by three generations of students--in addition to U.S. census data for the respective historical period were analyzed to understand the relationship among history, social context, policy, and language experience at school in new ways. The findings were interpreted and presented in terms of continuities and discontinuities in the relationship between students' lived experiences and policy over time. In terms of the continuous aspects of this relationship, I found the following: teachers persist in standardizing children's oral and written language expressions; children are indoctrinated by the culture of the school to abide by "American" values; and English is regarded as the language of privilege and accomplishment. In terms of discontinuities, I found the following: indigenous languages and Spanish spoken by children were no longer prohibited but sanctioned in the classroom; teachers began speaking languages other than English for instructional purposes; and faculty demographics changed from predominantly monolingual, white women to largely bilingual Hispanic women. In sum, my study is important because I offered a critical interpretation of the prevailing historical realities that have governed language policies and their ensuing practices in a South Tucson neighborhood school for the past sixty-one years. Also, in this study, I revealed the importance of opening a forum for students to voice an evaluation of language policies that regulate the course or methods of action in bilingual elementary education programs.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Language, Reading & Culture