Designing Chicano heritage materials



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This study developed a methodology for designing materials congruent with the cultural heritage of Chicano children: it synthesized what scholars describe as the central components of Chicano cultural heritage; produced four AV modules and a nonverbal slidetest reflective of the four dimensions of Chicano cultural heritage; used this instrumentation to determine experimentally the validity of the hypothesis that Chicano children develop better ethnic self-esteem when taught with materials congruent with their own cultural heritage. Eight elementary classes in a predominantly Chicano town in Texas were pretested and posttested with the same slidetest; the four experimental classes were exposed to the four AV modules. Statistical results indicated that the instrumentation had a test-retest reliability of 0.80. This makes the methodology a valid instrument for designing materials congruent with Chicano cultural heritage and that of other ethnic groups. A 3-way analysis of covariance differences between experimental and control groups showed that the main effect of the four AV modules did not reach significance (p<.31). However on the more specific level of student character istics, results supported the hypothesis: interaction between exposure to the four AV modules and student residency was highly significant (p<.02); the experimental migrant students scored 2% higher than the migrant control students; student gender alone cause a variance difference of more than 1%, with the experimental girls scoring higher than the boys. A factor analysis revealed that scholars conceptualize in four parallel dimensions the central components of Chicano heritage, whereas student responses showed the children perceived the dimensions as a continuum--with Raza accomplishments at one extreme and lifestyle at the other, ethnic identity and Raza history in between. Posttest results sharpened the extremes of the continuum. Migrant and female students responded more positively than resident and male students possibly because they live closer to the family and its Chicano value system, tending to identify with and respond more favorably to materials reflective of Chicano cultural heritage. Children with strong ethnic identity responded most positively possibly because Raza accomplishments slides boosted their ethnic pride. Children responding more to the lifestyle slides did so possibly because they perceived Chicano heritage in terms of Anglo mainstream stereotypes. Materials developed can be useful in research, teacher training, and diagnostic testing of children's learning needs.



Mexican Americans--Study and teaching