A Bilingual English/Spanish Thematic Science Unit

TitleA Bilingual English/Spanish Thematic Science Unit
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication1994
AuthorsAndersen, Eva Louise
Academic DepartmentScience
Thesis AdvisorLederman Norm
DegreeBachelor of Arts in International Studies
Number of Pages78
Date Published06/1994
UniversityOregon State University
Thesis TypeUndergraduate
Keywordsenglish as a second language, Mexico, teaching

Ever since I can remember, my thoughts of the future have involved being an elementary school teacher. Although teaching initially appealed to me because it seemed like all fun and games, I have since learned that there are more important reasons for my interest in teaching. I feel that early education is very important to a child. It teaches them how to cooperate with others and how to solve everyday problems. Children learn things that will stay with them and help them for the rest of their lives.

This past summer, I traveled to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. San Miguel lies in the mountainous region of Mexico, in the state of Guanajuato. It has a temperate climate and is thus an excellent crop region. It has a population of approximately 65,000, a large percentage of which are American. Many art students come to San Miguel in order to study at the Instituto Allende. Because it is a colonial city and an excellent area in which to study art, it has a very turisty atmosphere.
A few days after my arrival, I started work at Casa Hogar de Don Bosco, a local orphanage for girls. Casa Hogar is located in el centro and conveniently near la parroquia, el jardin, and the majority of shops and restaurants. The girls' ages ranged from 8 to 23 and were all from relatively poor economic backgrounds. I co-taught a class in the morning for the young girls and a class in the afternoon for the older and presumably, more advanced girls.
Since textbooks were not supplied and writing utensils were scarce, I basically made up our daily lesson plans as we went along. Unfortunately, I had no prior experience teaching English as a second language and I was therefore unsure as to where I should begin. The girls were given notebooks and pencils, yet they always seemed to misplace or forget them. I asked that they each study over night and share notebooks if needed, but they always failed to do so. The major setback was the fact that their ages ranged from 6 to 23 and most were not able to read or write even is Spanish, whereas some had previously been taught to say a few phrases.