JoLIE 6/2013

Back to issue page







António V. Bento

University of Madeira, Portugal






The Portuguese community schools of the United States located in the areas of larger Portuguese population concentration are social organizations that come materializing throughout decades the designs of the educative policies of the Portuguese government in relation to the expansion and preservation of the language, the culture and the history of Portugal. These designs of the educative policies are enrolled in the Constitution of the Republic (1976), in the Basic Law of Educative System (1986) and, over all, in the successive legislative norms (Decree-laws and ordinances) of the successive governments. Portuguese community schools in the United States are structuralized in analogous way to schools of the Portuguese geographic space. 

For this qualitative study (multiple case), four directors of Portuguese schools of the East Coast of the United States were interviewed; two schools are in the state of Rhode Island and the other two are in the state of Massachusetts. Also, it was administered the questionnaire on practices of leadership "Leadership Practices Inventory” (LPI) of Kouzes and Posner (1998) to collect additional data about practices of leadership on the directors of the schools. The LPI evaluates practices of leadership classifying them in five domains: a) Model the way; b) Inspire a shared vision; c) Challenge the process; d) Enable others to act; and, e) Encourage the heart.

Results of this qualitative research indicate that the Portuguese Government has not had an educative policy stimulant, coherent and consistent of support, incentive, maintenance and diffusion of the Portuguese language and culture and the directors of the studied schools have a proactive and serving leadership style in conducting the management of Portuguese community schools. The five practices of leadership are highly practiced by the directors of the studied schools above all the practices “Enable others to act” andEncourage the heart”.


Keywords: Leadership; Portuguese Community Schools; Practices of leadership; Language and culture identity.




Arias, M. (1976). Bicultural approach you the issue of self-concept assessment (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Stanford University.


Becker, A. (1990). The role of the school in the maintenance and change of ethnic group affiliation. Human Organization, 49(1), 4855. Retrieved from


Bento, A. (1985, November 12). A educação: Da família à escola. A importância da escola e a influência dos professores. O Jornal, pp. 1221.


Bento, A. (2001). Effects of Portuguese heritage schools (Escolas Oficiais Portuguesas) on language attitudes, cultural identity, academic performance, and educational aspirations of Portuguese American students: A comparative study. Ann Arbor: Bell & Howell Information and Learning Company.


Bradunas, E., & Topping, B. (Eds.). (1988). Ethnic heritage and language schools in America. Washington: Library of Congress.


Bentley, J. (1982).  American immigration today. New York: Julian Messner.


Castanho, M. (1993).  Reading: Students ' attitudes and interests in fourth, fifth, and sixth graders in official Portuguese schools in the USA (Unpublished master’s thesis). Lesley College, Cambridge.


Castanho, M. (2010). The Portuguese in the script of the taught European languages more in U.S.A.: The action of the Council member of education in Washington DC. New York: Portuguese Language Institute.


Cushman, P. (1990). Why the self is empty: Toward historically situated psychology.  American Psychologist, 45(5), 599–611. DOI: http://


Fishman, J. (1966). Language loyalty in the United States. The Hague: Mouton.


Fishman, J., & Marckman, B. (1979).  The ethnic to mother tongue school in the United States: Assumptions, findings and directory. New York: Yeshiva University.


Fishman, J. (1980a). Ethnic community to mother tongue schools in the U.S.A: Dynamics and distributions. International Migration Review, 14(2), 235–247. Retrieved from  


Fishman, J. (1980b). Minority language maintenance and the heritage to mother tongue school. Modern Language Journal 64(2), 167–173. DOI:


Fishman, J. (1985). The rise and fall of the ethnic revival: Perspectives on language and ethnicity.  The Hague: Mouton.


Fishman, J. (1989).  Language and ethnicity in minority sociolinguistic perspective. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters Ltd.


Fishman, J. (Ed.). (1999) Handbook of language and ethnic identity. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Galo, A. (1997). Young Luso-descendants in the USA: The Portuguese School of Hartford (Unpublished master’s thesis). Open University, Lisbon.  


Grosjean, F. (1982). Life with two languages: An introduction to bilingualism. Cambridge: Harvard Community Press.


Haugen, E. (1974). Bilingualism in America: bibliography and research guide. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama.


Kouzes, J., & Posner, B. (2002). The leadership challenge: How you get extraordinary things done in organizations (3 rd.  ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.


Maietta, S. (1996). Patterns of language attitudes and language uses: Study of New Mexican adolescents [ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 415 708]. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh.


Nunes, F. (1998). Sea Portuguese-Canadians from sea to sea: A national needs assessment. Toronto: Portuguese Canadian National Congress.


Ribeiro, J. (1981). Cultural social and psychological factors related to academic success of Portuguese immigrant youth (Doctoral dissertation, Boston College, Boston).


Tse, L. (1997). Affecting affect: The impact of ethnic language programs on student attitudes. The Canadian Modem Language Review - La Revue vivante canadienne DES languages, 53(4), 705–728.


Veltman, C. (1983). Language shift in the United States. The Hague: Mouton.



How to cite this article: Bento, A. V. (2013). The leadership of the Portuguese Community Schools of the East Coast of the United States and cultural identity: A multiple case study. Journal of Linguistic and Intercultural Education – JoLIE, 6, 7788. DOI:



For details on subscription, go to: