69. Explain what education means in the Hispanic family. The teacher is regarded as the authority. How Hispanic family regards school / education? Is it true that they normally don’t want to interfere. . .the teacher is boss . . may not be able to help with homework, etc.?

The word "education" in Spanish – educación—does not refer only to the process of obtaining a degree or a professional title. Educación refers primarily to the process of developing good manners, good taste, good habits, good judgment, good values, good people skills, good socialization skills, good sentiments, good speaking habits, etc. An "educated" person –"bien educado"-- refers in Spanish to a person that displays good manners, respect for others, a person who knows how to speak to others with eloquence, with elegance, in a highly respectful manner; a person who follows the established etiquette rules, the established cultural and social patterns, who can command respect from others because of (h)is/er appropriate cultural behavior at all times.

For Spanish-speaking persons, a degree from a university is the mark of a formidable achievement, entitling the degree-holder to be addressed by (h)is/er title forever: "profesor / profesora, licensiado / licensiada, maestro / maestra," etc.

Schooling in America, then, appears to have a different function than schooling in Spanish-speaking countries. Here the main function of schooling appears to be imparting knowledge, preparing for a university degree, mastering concepts from the different content areas and applying them. Of course, our schools should produce individuals who are well mannered, respectful, eloquent, good-natured, etc., But the emphasis in American schools seems to be on academics. The academic areas may not be the areas in which many Hispanic parents excel. They do know about being "bien educado" and they can and do teach their children about that. Besides, they know that teachers ("profesores, maestros") have earned a university degree, thus, they must be highly accomplished professionals who know what is best for their children.

Thus, Hispanic parents perceive teachers as experts in the field of educating children and, for them, experts know best. Hispanic parents display respect towards teachers by calling them always by their titles "profesor / profesora, maestro / maestra." Hispanic parents, in turn, expect teachers to "educate" their children, make them "bien educados." And they know that this takes lots of love, lots of understanding, lots of patience and acceptance.

Not too many years ago, I had the opportunity to train many Special Education Specialists –psychologists, speech and language specialists, special education specialists and teachers, nurses, etc.—on the cultural aspects of interacting with Hispanic parents whose children needed Special Education services. The difference between "receiving an education" and being "bien educado," was one of the most difficult aspects we dealt with in Special Education. Hispanic parents tend to love and accept their children as they are, and they just want them to be "bien educados." To successfully approach Hispanic parents concerning the learning or other difficulties of their children who may need Special Education services, teachers, specialists and administrators MUST display appropriate cultural behaviors concerning "education" as the Hispanic parents understand this word. Any other approach will result in miscommunications between educators and parents, with no benefits for the children.


For more in-depth information, classroom demonstrations, and "coaching" of new and/or experienced teachers, Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK offers:

1. Cognitive - Academic Language and Vocabulary Development
2. Cross Cultural Diversity - Multicultural Strategies
3. Effective Instruction for English Learners (L.E.P. students) Parts 1, 2, 3, 4
4. Promoting Academic Success in Language Minority Students
5. Cognitive - Academic Language and Vocabulary Development
6. Oral Language / Literacy Skills / Higher Order Thinking Skills
7. 50/50 Dual Language Programs: design, planning and implementation
8. The Structure of English / The Structure of Spanish
9. Transition: Introduction to English Reading

Web Site Programs for Teachers: Numbers 1, 5, 7, 8, and 9.
Web Site Programs for
Paraprofessionals: Number 3.
Web Site Programs for
New Teachers:
Enhanced Cultural Sensitivity - The Challenge of Students Diversity
Identifying / Responding to Students' Language Needs
Phonemic Awareness: Teaching English phonics to L.E.P. students
Relationship Between Reading, Writing and Spelling
Improving Reading Performance -- Building Oral Language Skills)

Write and e-mail any additional questions you may have, and Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK will establish with you, your school or district a Technical Assistance Service Contract. Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK will answer all your questions promptly and to your satisfaction.


For information and credentials please click on the link below or contact directly:


Educational Consultant, Program Evaluator

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, Certification (12/2006)

3113 Malcolm Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90034-3406

Phone and Fax: (310) 474-5605

E-mail:  csssadek@gte.net