The topic I plan to research this summer is: “How can I learn and include relevant material about the Puerto Rican culture in my lessons?” There is a large population of students from Puerto Rico in my school and although I am a native Hispanic, I have little understanding of Puerto Rico and its culture.
After hurricane Maria last year, many families were forced to move to the mainland, so we saw an influx of students at Milwaukee Public Schools. Many of my recently relocated students found themselves with the need to learn not just Spanish, but English as well. The difference between levels of understanding forced me to use translanguaging in most of my classes. Students became afraid to speak English for fear of ridicule from their peers.
I wish to incorporate relevant material about Puerto Rican culture in my classroom next year for two reasons. The first is to engage the Puerto Rican students with subject matter that they can relate to and alleviate their fears about speaking aloud. The second is to give some cultural lessons to the rest of the student population (not from Puerto Rico) to help them empathize and relate more with their new peers.
I have been to Puerto Rico only once and it was years ago. Although I am Hispanic, I had to go through naturalization to become a US citizen. I have a better understand of other Hispanic countries and their issues than I do those of Puerto Ricans since they are already US Citizens. I also know that the customs, diet and issues about living on an island are vastly different. Because of this, I would like to know more about artists, music, food and authors from Puerto Rico.
I notice that the Puerto Rican population in the school tends to alienate themselves because of these differences, and because of that they are more difficult to control than students from other ethnic groups. Having a better understanding of their background and culture will allow me to help these students assimilate into our local culture and customs.
Some resources I may use to help me understand this topic are: