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Gender and Second Language Learning

The purpose of this research is to examine gender differences and the effect on second-language learning and teaching. The plan of the research will be to set forth the context in which gender, second-language acquisition, and instructional dynamics have gained currency in recent years and then discuss ways in which the interplay of these three elements are operationalized in the classroom, the principal focus of discourse being on the Mexican-American community.

A significant attribute of Mexican-American society across social classes is the multigenerational cohesiveness of family life, shaped by hierarchically determined values and priorities (Griggs and Dunn). The binding of parents and children extends not just between the generations but across three generations. This is a hierarchical generational relationship, with children at the bottom; they are expected to show respect and unquestioning obedience to both parents and grandparents in general and to their father in particular, as well as to those included in the extended family such as baptismal godparents, in the tradition of what is called "compadrazgo or coparenthood. Compadres (coparents) are sponsors who assume carefully defined roles . . . linked by tradition through interlocking obligations of mutual aid and respect" (Madsen 48-9).

To a significant degree, these roles are engendered. Madsen connects the tradition of a male's "supremacy . . . within his own home" (50) to the hard social reality that Mexican-American men are obliged to be subservient on the job or in society. Children have historically been expected to absorb the lesson of that tradition, and mothers have the role of socializing and enculturating children to family norms and structures, which comes down to teaching children their proper role of obedience to their father, although Madsen describes the Latin woman in traditional, conservative households as "a skilled manipulator of her lord and master"...

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Gender and Second Language Learning. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 18:43, February 26, 2017, from