ERIC Number: ED315724
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1990-Feb
Reference Count: N/A
The History of Reading and the Uses of Literacy in Colonial Mexico. Technical Report No. 494.
Jimenez, Robert T.
Contrary to common wisdom, the authorities of Colonial Mexico (1521-1600) were vitally concerned with the teaching of reading to the indigenous people. Alphabetic literacy was introduced in Mexico with the coming of the Franciscan friars, who brought with them many innovations and heartily set about the task of education. Some of the friars' innovations included using the Indians' hieroglyphic picture writing and transcribing the Nahuatl language into Roman letters. Fray Pedro de Gante wrote a trilingual primer (published in 1569) and thus pioneered the use of vernacular language in education. The teaching and learning of reading and writing seems to have flourished under these conditions. Later, the teaching of literacy became fossilized in an unchanging text that was used almost exclusively, with only minor changes, for two centuries. Literacy always had a definite purpose in Mexico--to perpetuate the system of government in power and to convert the native population to Catholicism. The decline of education in Mexico can be accounted for by opposition from Spanish colonists to education of the indigenous population, and to the cutting off of adequate funding for education. (Four figures are included and 38 references are attached.) (SR)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Historical Materials; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Illinois Univ., Urbana. Center for the Study of Reading.; Bolt, Beranek and Newman, Inc., Cambridge, MA.
Identifiers - Location: Mexico; Spain