The teaching of spanish as a second language in an indigenous bilingual intercultural curriculum

Rainer Enrique Hamel, Norbert Francis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


This paper reports on the implementation of an ambitious bilingual instructional programme in the P'urhepecha-speaking region of Michoacán state in Mexico, the Meseta Tarasca. A curriculum of indigenous language preservation and cultural affirmation, overturning the previous Spanish-only programme, has been developed by a group of indigenous teachers in two P'urhepecha elementary schools, ‘Miguel Hidalgo’ of San Isidro and ‘Benito Juárez’ in the neighbouring village of Uringuitiro. Today, the P'urhepecha language is the nucleus of the curriculum. With the previous curriculum largely discredited, the bilingual teachers embarked on a project that would both provide instruction to children in a language they understand, and contribute to the preservation of their indigenous language, which in these communities, in all cases, is children's first language (L1). Being cognizant of the importance of learning Spanish as a second language, a major current planning and curriculum design priority is to find a way to integrate Spanish language instruction into the academic subject areas in accordance with current models of content-based second language teaching.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-188
Number of pages18
JournalLanguage, Culture and Curriculum
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2006


  • Bilingual curriculum
  • Common Underlying Proficiency
  • Indigenous language bilingualism
  • Literacy
  • Mexico
  • Spanish as a second language

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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