N áhuatl mandatory in public schools i n Mexico City

Maria Bolivar mbolivar at san.rr.com
Sun Aug 19 00:49:38 UTC 2007

And it will continue to be a disservice. What I am lamenting is not that
they included Nahuatl in the mandatory curriculum, rather that they did it
as they did, by decree and suddenly or as a spur of the moment thing. 

Languages like Náhuatl, Huichol, Yaqui, Maya deserve some serious attention
and the implementation of long term measures so more people can access them
and teach it. I frankly do not thing there are many programs in Mexico
training teachers of any of the native American languages.

As for English and French, I wish you did not considered them odious -as per
by decree also-, but useful. We should learn from the fact English has been
a mandatory language and very few people speak it fluently or care to learn
it. I would follow the French or German education model in that area. French
kids do learn German, English and Spanish. They spend time in the country to
perfect it. They choose it because those are the languages of their
neighbors. You may learn French and English, fluently, in Private Mexican
Schools but not in Public Schools. My son had a teacher in Zacatecas Public
School who asked him not to answer and who got mad at my son when he
attempted to explain to him he was misusing a word in English. As for
French... only those who can afford the Alianza Francesa can learn French.
There is rarely a school that hires a French Instructor over, precisely,
subjects like Computación and Physics. Languages, Art and Music are as
important in teaching critical thinking, systems understanding and
abstraction, but are not considered along those lines "important". 

As for Civismo. I loved Civismo myself. I had a great teacher and the books
the government publishes are also great. I have them still, though all the
times I have moved. Civismo was, precisely, the subject that allowed me to
survive for years. But I do not think the majority of students loved it. 

One more note on books in the various languages published by INEA. I have
the ones from Chiapas and Nayarit, they are beautiful. But for some stupid
reason they make a very limited edition of each of those so they are stingy
when people who are not speakers of those languages request them. I asked
the Mexican Consulate to donate books in those languages to a Cultural
Center in an area of San Diego where people want to raise awareness of
Native American Languages and they said it was a no, since those books were
primarily distributed in the states where those languages are still spoken.
Strictly speaking they are right... but think again. I have Mayan speaking
neighbors in Mira Mesa, San Diego and there are many Mixteco and Purépecha
workers whose children might not learn those languages in the US.

Anyway... this new decree mandated Náhuatl starting the school year
2008-2009. We will see how many speakers of Náhuatl come forth to fill those
positions opening, and what the measure entails in terms of practical
application. Considering the numbers involved, each hablante de Náhuatl
should work in several schools, various shifts and make a lot of money...
Unless, as they do for English, the SEDF hires friends who "say" they speak
Náhuatl, instead.


María Bolívar

-----Original Message-----
From: nahuatl-bounces at lists.famsi.org
[mailto:nahuatl-bounces at lists.famsi.org] On Behalf Of Marcos Villaseñor
Sent: Saturday, August 18, 2007 3:25 PM
To: Kier Salmon
Cc: nahuatl at lists.famsi.org
Subject: Re: [Nahuat-l] Náhuatl mandatory in public schools in Mexico City

It was about time to make Nawatl a mandatory subject, I have always  
thought it a disservice for Mexican schools not teach Nawatl, but   
French or English instead, both odious langauges to the Mexican  
Indigenous people.

Totenyo, Totau'ka Mexika

Marcos Villaseñor (Altepeteku'tli)

On Aug 18, 2007, at 2:19 PM, Kier Salmon wrote:

> Having grow up in Mexico and been in Mexican public schools, I  
> shudder to think about the logistics of the problem.  The teachers  
> would be one step ahead of the students all the way.
> I was fully spanish/english bilingual and two of my Secundaria  
> teachers were ok with letting me read in class and letting them get  
> on with trying to pound the language (very inexpertly) into my  
> classmates heads... one decided my brother and I had to perform all  
> the tasks she gave the class; I still remember the day she said,  
> "Mouse; mice, blouse...   "  That one stalemated in La Directora's  
> office.  Now think of the difference linguistically between spanish  
> and nahuatl as opposed to spanish and english (both indo-european  
> based if broadly seperated.).
> One thing I think we will see, however is a much larger support  
> from the population for learning nahuatl.  English and french and  
> german were very resented as signs of Mexico's subordination on the  
> international scene and all my classmates gladly forgot every bit  
> they learned as fast as possible.  There is hope that this would  
> not be the feeling about nahuatl; for the past 20 years "hablar  
> indio" has been much less pejorative than it was in my growing up  
> years.
> On Aug 18, 2007, at 9:53 AM, Maria Bolivar wrote:
>> I am sorry I have been so busy I did not check if the list has  
>> discussed
>> Náhuatl becoming a mandatory subject in all of Mexico City's  
>> Public Schools.
>> I am interested to know how is it they plan to implement that  
>> decree. I
>> truly was not aware of us having so many instructors all ready to  
>> start all
>> those classes for the cycle 2008-2009 when the decree becomes  
>> effective.
>> English is a mandatory subject already. I remember in Zacatecas  
>> there were
>> very few instructors of English and those available did not really  
>> speak
>> English. I know in Mexico City English is mandatory, but the  
>> number of
>> people fluent in English does not surface as it should. I hope the  
>> new
>> measure for Náhuatl does not run the same course. It is wonderful  
>> to dream,
>> but not just in paper. What do you all think?
>> Sincerely,
>> Maria Bolivar
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