During my six years of teaching E.S.O.L. (English to Speakers of Other Languages) to 6th, 7th, and 8th graders, the majority of students has been from Puerto Rico and I have therefore concentrated on their literature for our studies, most recently focusing on
by René Marques for the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute seminar in 1982 on Latin America. A small percentage of students has been Mexican in origin and both the Puerto Rican students and I have shared an interest in their background. This year, I would like to focus on contemporary Chicano and Mexican works as a means of incorporating these representatives of yet another Latin American country into our classes, thus giving both groups of students the opportunity to experience their common traits as well as their difference.
My emphasis last year was on the technical components of
and on a simple reading through of the play. Due to the very personal message involved in the script to my Puerto Rican students who had themselves experienced most of the feelings described by Marques, many of the warm-up activities usually associated with readying a cast were unnecessary as these students very literally
what they acted. This year because of the Mexican examples and the often unfamiliar subject matter, more emphasis has been placed on exploring the feelings and motivations behind the words. Last year’s was basically an oral approach; this year’s preparatory and follow-up exercises focus on reading and writing skills. These two units can be combined, therefore, to supplement the reading, written, and spoken components of all E.S.O.L. instruction. The four selections, while containing sophisticated themes and high-interest levels, have very simplified vocabulary and grammatical structures and can be used successfully in middle school E.S.O.L. classes in which students’ reading abilities are below grade-level.