Date of Conferral







Sallie Jenkins


The use of subtractive bilingual models in Puerto Rico may influence children's construction of social categorizations. There is a gap in the literature related to linguistics, ethnicity, and systems of education and acculturation of a majority group. The purpose of this multiple case study was to examine the influence of the language of instruction and teachers' communicative practices in private and public schools on first graders' ethnic identity construction in the municipality of San Juan, Puerto Rico. The conceptual framework of the study was based on Markus's unified theory of race and ethnicity, Berry's bidimensional model of acculturation, Tajfel and Turner's social identity theory, and Wimmer's ethnic boundaries multilevel process theory. The research questions concerned how teachers' communicative practices reflected and promoted children's construction of social categorizations, what roles teachers played in ethnic education, and the influences that shaped their cultural knowledge. Purposeful sampling was used to select 2 Spanish speaking and 2 English speaking classrooms form the municipality that could provide information to answer the research questions. Data were collected from classroom observations, structured interviews with teachers, analysis of classroom artifacts, and the use of Zea, Asner-Self, Birman, and Buki's Abbreviated Multidimensional Acculturation Scale. Data were coded and then categorized by theme. The findings of the study demonstrated that teachers' hybridized ethnicity is reflected in communicative practices that influenced children's construction of social categorizations. This study could serve to develop strong cultural awareness policies for education systems and for other countries at risk of losing their language and traditions.