Spanish Speakers of the Midwest: They Are Americans Too


  • Jesse M. Soriano,

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      Jesse M. Soriano (M.A., Michigan State University) has been a high school Spanish teacher, a junior high school Spanish teacher, and an instructor of Spanish at the university level. He has taught adult education courses on English As a Second Language. He is a member of AATSP, MFLA, and the Michigan Foreign Language Curriculum Committee. Currently, Mr. Soriano is the Field Coordinator of the Bilingual Curriculum Development Program in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

  • James McClafferty

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      James McClafferty (M.Ed., Wayne State University) is the Director of the Foreign Language Innovative Curricula Studies at Ann Arbor, Michigan. He has taught in the Detroit schools and was the Supervisor of Foreign Language Education at Wayne State University. At present, he is the President of the Michigan Foreign Language Association and a member of the Research Committee of ACTFL, the Michigan Foreign Language Curriculum Committee (member and Chairman), as well as AATF, AERA, and MFLA.


ABSTRACT: Because of its size and dispersal, the Spanish-American population of the Midwest presents some unique problems. Little research has been done on this group since concern is mainly directed toward the larger Spanish-American population in the Southwest. Although the Spanish-American schoolchild demonstrates the same patterns (educationally) as his Southwest counterpart, there are indications that, in a linguistic context, his problems are somewhat different. This results from greater isolation from Spanish language and culture in the Midwest. It is generally recognized that language is the greatest barrier to the academic achievement of the Spanish-American child; it becomes crucially important that research and school programs be directed toward the language needs of the Spanish-American child in the Midwest. Michigan has taken a first step in this direction with the development of bilingual and bidialectal instructional materials in Foreign Language Innovative Curricula Studies, a Title III ESEA Project located at Ann Arbor, Michigan. In addition to language program development, schools must be staffed with teachers who are informed and sensitive to the needs of the Spanish-American. This will necessitate increased recruiting of Spanish-American teachers.