Comparing linguistic symmetries: Teachers and students analyze Spanish and English in the classroom


  • Fernando Rodríguez-Valls San Diego State University



linguistic experimentation, linguistic transfers, communal block of knowledge, linguistic symmetries


This article analyzes the impact of a teaching methodology of English based on the investigation and comparative analysis conducted by students and teachers of sentences constructed in Spanish and spoken in English. Second-generation Hispanic students 'born in the US' who are learning English in the public schools of California; utilize the grammar of two languages on a daily basis. Yet, the activities utilized to teach and evaluate these students oftentimes do not analyze in an explicit way sentences that mix two languages. The model described in this article was implemented during the 2005-2006 school year with 29 Hispanic students enrolled in fourth grade in a public school of Los Angeles. The outcomes of this project suggest that students, who, guided by the teachers, analyze the connections between the two languages using a comparative method, not only perform extremely well in the state exams but also develop a vision of these two languages as codes with linguistic symmetries that create a communal block of knowledge.


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Author Biography

Fernando Rodríguez-Valls, San Diego State University

Fernando Rodríguez-Valls es doctor en Educación, con especialidad en métodos transculturales de aprendizaje, por Claremont Graduate University. Su investigación se centra en el análisis de simetrías entre lenguas y culturas en espacios de frontera. En la actualidad trabaja como profesor de Pedagogía y Métodos de Educación Bilingüe en San Diego State University, en el campus de Caléxico, ciudad fronteriza con Mexicali, México.  En esta zona, el Dr. Rodríguez-Valls está creando programas de alfabetización dirigidos a los estudiantes y las familias que cruzan la frontera diariamente para recibir una educación en inglés. Entre sus publicaciones más recientes destacan el libro L.A. Barriohoods: Vernacular voices & conversations of transculturation (VDM Verlag, 2008) y los artículos Círculos literarios, cooperativas de lectura: Leer para transformar (Lectura y Vida, 2008) y Vernacular conversations on immigration and border-crossing: A narrative-oriented action research project (Revista de Migraciones Internacionales, 2008).



How to Cite

Rodríguez-Valls, F. (2009). Comparing linguistic symmetries: Teachers and students analyze Spanish and English in the classroom. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 17, 19.