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An Investigation Of The Attitudes Which Prospective Teachers Hold Toward Bilingual Education

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Purpose. The purpose of this study was to investigate the prospective bilingual teachers' attitude toward bilingual education. The study sought to determine if there was an influence on prospective teachers' attitudes by: (a) number of courses they had taken in bilingual education, (b) type of college they attended, and (c) number of years of teacher aide experience. In addition, the investigation reviewed the major curriculum areas in the Bilingual Emphasis credential programs among California institutions and sought to determine the degree of influence relative to the prospective teachers' attitude. Procedures. The survey questionnaire method was used to obtain the relevant data from the prospective teachers. The responses to the questionnaire statements were analyzed through the use of an F test, mean scores, standard deviations, and percentages. Significance was established at the .05 level. In addition, Bilingual Emphasis program documents were reviewed and analyzed in relation to basic requirements and course offerings. Findings. The data revealed that thirty-one of the forty statements elicited agreeable responses toward various aspects of bilingual education. Nine of the forty statements elicited disagreement with various aspects of bilingual education. The findings were summarized in relation to: (a) philosophy of bilingual education, students, professional preparation, and parents, (b) number of years of teacher aide experience, (c) type of college attended by prospective teachers, (d) number of courses taken in language, culture, curriculum, and ethnic studies, and (e) analysis of bilingual emphasis programs as related to the general trend of attitudes of the prospective teachers. The data revealed that, as a group, seventy percent of the sample responded favorably to the set of ten statements that dealt with philosophy of bilingual education. Further, the data revealed that sixty percent of the population sample ranged in agreement with statements relating to non-English, limited English, and bilingual children. Relative to professional preparation, one hundred percent agreed to some extent with the statements. Eighty percent of the sample agreed with statements relating to parents. The investigation also revealed that the sample was in disagreement or undecided about what bilingual education should be providing for students and various aspects that related to students and parents. Based on the analysis and review of the Bilingual Emphasis program, this might have been due to the inconsistency in the course offerings related to Chicano or Mexican American community. The course offerings were minimal among all institutions of higher learning (IHE's) as related to the parents and community. Therefore, the conclusions had a degree of implications for IHE programs and for further research. Recommendations. The recommendations evolved from both the advantages and disadvantages based on the nature of this investigation. The investigation recommended that: (a) IHE's should establish early field work experiences for the prospective bilingual teacher, (b) IH's should require all candidates, regardless of background, to take a course in bilingual education, (c) IHE's should make provisions for bilingual candidates to take a course in the philosophy of bilingual education, and (d) IHE's should establish opportunities for prospective teachers to help develop competencies which demonstrate knowledge of the needs and aspirations of the Mexican American community. The investigation further suggests that a field study should be conducted to review IHE programs in terms of what the program documents portray. A comparative study should be conducted assessing the attitudes among bilingual candidates who have acquired a bilingual emphasis credential and compare them with the attitudinal findings reflected in this study.

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