Modern Languages and Literatures Department
BA in Modern Languages and Literatures
This project attempts to deconstruct the position of the Spanish language in society while observing its effects on Spanish speaking students in the education system. An extensive look at the history of bilingual education in California reveals its portrayal in society as well as how it is implemented in the school systems. I will study the reaction of both native English speaking children and native Spanish speaking children to learning a second language in a dual immersion setting. Dual Immersion programs are popular for English speaking families but Spanish speaking families are often hesitant to participate. Due to social class inequalities and negative perceptions of the Spanish language in California, the relationships between the English-speaking students and the Spanish-speaking students reflect certain values placed on the two languages.
The research will include major shifts in attitudes toward bilingual education in California including Proposition 227 as well as California’s response to Arizona’s bilingual education policies. I will be using observations of students at Pacheco Elementary School in lower level language learning in both classroom settings as well as informal settings such as lunch or recess. The results of the study will be supplemented with extensive research on the social implications of language learning. Finally, I will include details on the development of a bilingual education program in Lompoc led by Gina Branum, Santa Barbara County’s Coordinator for Language and Literacy Support. The study intends to look critically at the product of dual immersion education and the consequences it has on cultural identity, whether it is effective in uniting classrooms or it perpetuates sentiments of racial inequality.