Date of Award

2000

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Robert C. Lafayette

Abstract

Many Hispanic students do not have opportunities to develop their native language in efforts to adapt to an all English curriculum at the schools they attend. This is particularly evident among high school Hispanic students who usually possess oral fluency in Spanish but lack reading and writing skills in Spanish. The purpose of this research was to explore the attitudes of teachers of Spanish as a foreign language toward teaching Spanish to Hispanic students. This research was guided by four questions, What are the attitudes of teachers of Spanish as a foreign language toward (1) the use of Spanish? (2) teaching Spanish as a heritage language to Hispanic students? (3) the role of English in the United States? and (4) the use of English at home and at school in the United States? The research methodology was qualitative and quantitative in design. Quantitative data was gathered from 48 teachers of Spanish of 3 Louisiana school districts by using the Attitudes of Teachers of Spanish as a Foreign Language Survey and the Language Attitudes of Teachers Scale (LATS). Qualitative data was gathered by conducting one group interview and 9 individual interviews. Quantitative data was analyzed using percentages, means, and standard deviations and qualitative data was analyzed based on emerging issues to develop an understanding of the problem. Findings indicated that Spanish heritage courses should be taught separate from Spanish foreign language courses because of the linguistic and cultural needs of Hispanic students. Participants identified several obstacles to the implementation of heritage programs. They also felt that the barriers they fired can be overcome by a supportive school administration, motivating Hispanic students to enroll in the courses, training teachers, acquiring financial resources for materials, curriculum, and assessment, working with guidance counselors for proper identification and placement. They provided suggestions for accommodating Hispanic students in foreign language courses. Teachers felt that this would be possible if they are prepared to meet their needs.

ISBN

9780599681927

Pages

252

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