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08 December 2003 @ 11:21 am
 

Barriers

Negotiation of Identity
Race and conveyed stereotypes
Identity of scholastic prowess
Identity as group affiliation
General Mood
Lack of money prevents buying mood enhancing things (toys/medicine)
Language
Bi-lingual Eduation
ESL
Lack of English ability
Lack of adequate ways of learning English
Knowledge and experiences devalued due to inability of expressing them in english
Stigma against using own language because it identifies them as “non-majority”
Assimilation myth encourages loss of original language
Support
Lack of support for immigrant specific needs.
Maginalization based on association with marginalized students and their programs Lack of knowledge pool to educate teachers about immigrant students needs
Teachers of sitmacized students become stigmatized within faculty
Support groups that are offered are not inclusive enough to help everyone
Factors which separate students are accented and linked to have/have not status
Family/Community support not uniform
Immigrants who subscribe to subtractive assimilation myth miss out on the benefits
of their community.
Students with non-immagrant parents know the system and can offer advice
Socio economic Status
Work of student interfears with learning
School seems less important when you already have a job
Decreased funds means decreased freedom
Decreased freedom means less choices regarding academic opportunity
Less choice means less happy
Look to other places for money/happiness
More money means access to better schools
More Money means options such as Daycare and camps are availible
Legality
Non-legal residents are denyed services
Non-legal residents are not guaranteed services
Non-legal residents are not encouraged to seek services
Misperceptions
Illusion of Meritocracy
Myth of subtractive Assimilation
Teachers
Tracking


Negotiation of identity
Race:

p129 the guy was expected to be the authority on mexicans but he felt it was his grandfaters culture nbot his own.

A cardinal component of the description of a person as an “immigrant” is that they or their family come from another country. After living in their new home for a number of years, it is both possible and likely that the cognitive manifestations of the separation between the foreign past and indigiounous present blur, and the immigrant is indistinguishable from her peers in the new country on a mental level. However, there is no amount of time or interaction with the members of the new country that can change a person’s genetic phenotype. Because of the idea that members of a similar racial group have been shaped in a similar way, immigrants are often encountered first as a racial profile, and later as a individual – a practice that often leads to students not receiving only the amount of support and resources they are presumed to need, not the individual support that they require – both by teachers and peers. In that way, race becomes the most glaring and immutable barrier to immigrants today. (Gibson 1998 R-26 B p4)
The propensity to categorize based on race can be blamed in many ways to Humankind’s lust for control and mastery over its environment – in this case it is manifested as a need to categorize. Humans like to make things black or white, and fit into little compartments. If we can’t subdivide things into it’s own little group, we feel compelled to at least make it into as specific of a category as we can. Race, and gender and “group” are all things that people get noticeably agitated about. For example, when we notice other people, one of the first things we notice is sex. If we can’t discern a person’s sex on the initial glance, we usually change position or wait and watch until we can. Not being able to determine a person’s sex makes us uncomfortable. Once the person’s sex has been determined, we gain insight about how to interact with that person, as well as how to interact with people who are interacting with that person based on the intangible rules of inter-social conduct stipulated by our culture.
Recognition and interpretation of Sex and gender can be thought about allegorically as the intepretaion of a flag or road-sign. When we see the signs we gain a clue about how to prepare ourselves for what’s next. Similarly, there is a consistency with road signs so that, for example, when we see a road sign indicating a road curving to the right, we know that we should expect the road ahead of us to turn right. For many people, the correlation between race as a marker and road signs as a marker is very high, leading to stereotyping (Davidson, Ann Locke. 1997 R-25). There are many times where for what ever reason, people of the same race have had similar experiences that there are many instances where the racial flag can be used to predict a person to some accuracy. Especially in the case of members of similar racial background meeting, the accuracy of the racial flags is a boon for those seeking out companions and kindred spirits.
Aggravation and hostilities occur when the message the road sign gives is incongruous with reality. Just as a driver in a car is disgruntled when a “school crossing” sign is in a place where a “bridge out” sign should be, incorrect racial flags are initially jarring. Thankfully there is a very strong movement of late urging us to ignore racial stereotypes across races, so the inter racial turmoil is realitivly low. The largest amount of open aggravation comes from members of the same race as the perpetrator of the incorrect racial flag. Accusations of “wannabe,” or “white-washed,” or “banana,” are all exchanged primarily from members of the same race. (Suarez-Orozco, c., & Suarez-Orozco, M. 2001 R-35 p130)
Various explanations can be offered regarding this phenomenon, most being an offshoot of the basic principle of putting down someone else to make yourself feel better. A Specific example of the bully’s rational include jealousy over having escaped the confines of metacognitive behaviour “assigned” to a particular racial group, as what happens when a member of a “traditionally” low-achiving racial group becomes high-achiving. Tied to that is the deviants actions reminds other low-achieving members of the same group that their own low-achieving status was not a pre-ordained fact, but a result of various factors. Whatever the specific reason, incorrect racial flags while promoted in rhetoric, are received negatively – especially in immigrant and minority groups where their sense of self and group identity may already be on shakey grounds.

Solution:
Stereotypes exist for all aspects of human description and behaviour. A solution to the problem of racism is to unlink behaviourial and situational stereotypes from race. Easily one of the best forums for doing this is the classroom, where issues can be addressed and discussed in a multicultural environment. The anti-racism education campaigns have already done a great deal (from what I can tell) in creating a colorblind society, especially realitive to 20, 50 and 100 years ago. However, the fact that problems regarding race still exist is an indication that those methods aren’t working all the way, and more solutions need to be investigated. Some authors say that instead of trying to hide from the issue of race, we need to embrace it. This is exemplified by Jasmin Zine on page 88 of reader B where she says, "when differences are understood, they form a base for learing: when they are not they create a barrier to learing." This is also apparent on page 32 of the Olsen book, where different groups of kids made a map of the groups of the school, leading to lots of learning.
Personally, I don’t see any problems of thinking in raceless terms. But I learned from this class that there is a problem with it because it de-values the marginalization experience of minorities. Additionaly, by viewing myself as raceless, sends a message that assumes that white is the default, and the norm. (class discussion November 10th 2003)
I think that a large part of the dissonance between white, dominant culture and things that are not, is that while the subdominant cultures are encouraged to adapt to the white culture, the white culture is actively reprimanded for trying to adapt to the subdominant culture.
For example, while it is encouraged for an imagrant from guatamala to appropriate contemporary white culture dress, if a white person in the same scinerio were to adopt the dress of the indios of guatamala, they would display very confusing racial flags and thus be reprimanded on many sides. One side being the white side, who would see it as a regression to the subdominant culture. Other people might suguest that by a white person wearing a guatamalan clothing would be insulting to the guatamalan culture. “You can’t wear that, you’re not from guatamala.” At best there would be muted tolerance, but for a member of the dominant culture to stray from that that is a big deal. While it is fine for the politicians in Hong Kong to wear powered wigs, it would be almost treasonious for an American politician to wear anything other than a suit and tie to the office.
A simple example of this logic might look like this: You greet people by kissing them on the cheek; that is not something that is allowed or promoted in mainstream white American culture; therefore you are not part of the majority culture; therefore you are a member of the minority. The same example could be made with musical generas such as hip-hop or rap. Today’s culture says that white people can’t enjoy rap, nor can they be successful rappers, and thus those who are are thought of as being outside the dominant white group. (Eminem is a perfect example of this.)
It’s possible to argue that if dominant culture members were allowed to try on and experience aspects of other cultures, they could become more accepting of the expression of “non-majority” traits intermingled with the expression of majority traits. Put another way, if the white school principal was allowed by social conventions to wear a sari to work everyday, it would add a great deal of legitimacy to the wearing of Saris by all students, especially ones which have grown up wearing them.
Instead of finding ways to help immigrants fit into the image of mainstream, effort should be put into widening the concept of mainstream. If the idea of a white person wearing traditional African dress in public becomes acceptable, then the idea of an affrican wearing traditional African dress in public becomes much more acceptable as well.

Where is home?
When building an identity, what could be more important than a home address? But what happens when you don’t know where you want to call home. This is a popular problem for immigrants students. Basically, they are conflicted between the glam and glitz of the American culture as represented by their “American” peers and music videos and other such things, and the ideas of either their parents or their own values from their previous life experience or sometimes even both. They are often asking themselves where they should draw the line between obeying their parents and their culture’s ideals and succumbing to peer pressure. (Zine, Jasmin R-31 and Asimov, Nanette R-32 )
Regardless of where they decide to draw the line, there is inevitably conflict, especially if they are subscribing to the subtractive assimilation myth. Students feel like they must give up a part of their culture to be accepted by the cultural mainstream. Most often this means losing their native language, but it can also mean abandoning clothes or mannerisms which were once meaningful or valued in their old culture. Parents who encourage the transition to American life can at the same time unknowingly encourage a drift between their family, as seen in R -25 (Olsen, L, & Jaramillo, A 1999.)
As the rift between family grows deeper, the student is cut off from the benefits of his parent’s community, as well as the opportunities and resources available to him in his homeland. A student who rejects his Vietnamese heritage is not likely going to apply for the college scholarship offered by the local vietnameese church, for example (portes, A &Rumbaut, R 1996 R-27). Already faced with the initial disadvantages of language acquisition as well as inexperience with a the new culture, it would behoove an immigrant to stay in contact with the unique resources which they do already possess.

Solution
Like many of the issues with forming Identity, by creating things that validate the students’ experience and culture, there will be much more freedom to benefit from the family and heritage. In particual to the question of indentity within family, it is important that parents also have access to information about the relevancy of their experiences and culture. If the parents receive messages other than, “learn english or else,” then will be less pressure put on the students from the parents to reject their native culture and assimilate, reducing what Gibson refers to as “downward assimilation” (Gibson R-26B p8.)
The big question is then, how does that idea become a reality?
In the past, elements of the non-dominant culture have gained awareness in the mainstream through tenaicy coupled with representation in media and art. IN more recent times this means movies, and television and more and more, video games and the internet. Obviously Then, the best course of action is to make a hugely successful movie featuring minority culture and get a television and video game tie in. The nest best way is to help students gain access to existing media featuring non-mainstream content. This is why multicultural reading lists are so crucial.




Misperceptions
ESL and bi-lingual education
There is a great amount of bad vibes raidiating off the words of English as a second language, and bi-lingual education. (Tse, Lucy 2001 R-24) To be sure, there are many instances where ESL and bi-lingual classes did far more harm than good (Class discussion November 24 2003.) However, the problem does not lay in the concept of Bi-lingual education, nor ESL but in the execution of each program.
The two programs are almost completely unregulated, and therefore are dependant upon the will and injunenuity of the teacher, along with the funds and resources available. Decisions regarding who to admit to a ESL or bi-lingual class, as well as what to teach and how to go about doing it, are left almost complealy up to the whimsy of a district, principal, or individual teacher. If someone along one of those lines makes some inappropriate decisions regarding the program, it hurts the kids, and they often have little or no recourse due to a lack of infrastructure through which to climb out of the class by, as well as lack of information regarding the logistics of the class – especially when they and/or their parents cannot communicate in english fully (this issue goes hand in hand with the larger issue of academic tracking.) An example of ESL run amok can be found on page 87 of reader B, where a second generation immigrant was placed in an ESL class despite the fact that English was not only his native language, but his only language.
Because of their unregulated nature, each version of each class is different. Despite the intent of helping non-english speakers gain english prowess, programs are rarely coordinated well enough to achive this goal. The ones that are exceptional bad are seen frequently in the media, and cited during anti-bilingual education propaganda. Through this smokescreen, it becomes difficult to truly assess the validity of these programs.
Anyone who has had to learn a second language can attest that the easiest way to learn meaning is to have a translation available when it is deemed needed by the student. Using their mother language and the principal of Zone of proximal development, a student can gain comprehension of a new language realitivly quickly. But should that be the responsibility of a bi-lingual ed class? Before we can talk about implementing bi-lingual ed on a large scale. It’s essential to decide what bi-lingual ed is. Some circles sugest that bi-lingual ed should include a service which allows students access to full range of curriculum in their own language, until they are able to benefit from an equally advanced class in english. An 8th grade student should not be forced to cut flowers out of construction paper saying the word “flower” when his peers are having a civics lesson, just because he cannot speak english yet, the argument goes. Other influences see bi-lingual education as an almost full-immersion class which a teacher who, when pressed will offer up explinations in the student’s native language. Others voice that bi-lingual education should be anything in between. The most critical part, however is that there is no consensus.

Solution:
By defining what bi-lingual education means, and perhaps creating subclassifications for the various ideologies it will be possible for the community to begin a diolouge about the feasibility of implementing bi-lingual education programs. Until we at least define the concept of bi-lingual education, it will be impossible to have any sort of meaningful diolouge about it.
Once the lexicon of bi-lingual education philosophy has been established, it will be much easier to monitor and study the effects of the various methods. When applied correctly, bi-lingual education has the opportunity to be an extreamly effective resource, I can attest to that myself.



tracking:
tracking ios a complicayed issue. part of the problem comes from the issue that there is no 1 to 1 correleation bnetween the term trakking, and a specific practice. in some cases tracking means lanning, or placement, where students enter each class based on their performance on a test, or some other realitivly concrete means. Hwever in other cases, "tracking" is more in line with the archaic system based on french IQ tests from 100 years ago, in which a student's ability and fuiture are determined early on, and there is quite little the student can do to change that judgement. Tracking of this nature is no longer legal, yet practices which in escessence recreate it are still around. this form of tracking can be very damaging to a student's acidemic career, and is particually devastating to an immagrant student. a 1st geberation immigrant has the most to lose, because regardless of their intelegence or knowledge, if their english skills do not facilitate the convaynce of such knowledge, they are likely to be place in an innapropriate track. even after their english skills have progressed to a highly articulate level, they will have trailed behind the students in the upper lanes by so much that it would be impossible to catch up.
Another danger with tracking is the un-regulated methods for placing students are often swayed by the predjudices and stereotypes. Students again, a student's precieved language ability can come into play during the judging, but more commonly, teachers make assumptions about what the student thinks, wants, or plans to do, without consulting the student. even the best meaning teacher can do a disservice to a student by placing them in a lower track, "so they will get a better grade." The long term effects of such decisions invariably means that students tracked low are segregated from credits and information which directly affect a studwent's chamces at going to college (not to mention missing out on the acidemic content of the upper lane courses.)
an interesting aspect of that is when thabks to the asian stereotype, kids are placed in a class over their heads and theb fail. p143 quote about how the stereotype is harmful.


another issue is that students know they have been tracked, and they know wheb they are in the smart track, and they know when they are in the stupid track, and they know how behave the part. p128
immagrant and minority youth will pick up powerful cues from the social environment about what is expected of them""
school statistics that show that lower track students dont preform as well as upper track students and use that as a rational for cotinung tracking , may not be taking into accoount the posibility taht students are sent the message that sine they are in the lowest track they are not expected to do well in school. if students were under the impression that they were in a class with an interesting and exciting curriculim, maybe they woul believe it themselves.

SOLUTION
a solution to the issue of tracking is difficult to pose, because the actual problem posed by tracking is not as clear cut as "teachers need funding." the act of seperating students into different classes based on ability in itself is not a bad idea. I personaly was vey happy not to be in tje highest laned math class, and I'm certain my friends who were were very glad not to be in my math class. the problem comes from the processes used to select which students are to be in which classes, as well as the lack of mobility between the levels. A solution might involve much more organization between the levels, allowing things like information on bridgin the gap between for example, a 9th grade normal englidh class, and the 10th grade advanced english class. students who were motivated could then know what they would be expected to know before entering the 10th grade advanced class, and try to pick it up on their own. Or if there was enough interest, there could be tutors or programs offered by the schools to facilate the transition.
despite my own experience, there are definantly cases where elimnating tracking is not a bad idea.


course evaluiation.
i thinkthat the couse shouy.kd be called immagrants in california or somerthing to that extent, because it focused mainly on immagrants on california. thhats probably why it was called "our" e.ucation system, but it could be more explicit. that having een said, i think that it was a very good class that definantly raised my awareness of these issues alot. i think that because i came from a high school with 0 esl students much of this information was novel to me. or rather, i was aware of the exIstancer of these issues, but not their specifics.

one common complaint that was echoed by several students was the fact that. the class had a heavy lation bias. i think this in itself is fine, but perhaps that shouyld be more eXplicetly notied. or maybe it was and i didn't think much of it. m cofee is running off.
initially the structure was a little too open forum for somme stufents. i personally was mnuch mrte interestyd i n what you had to say that steves rediculious and incessant comments. but its really hard to sat, because if you limit the discussion you miss out on many of the experiences that the other students can share. for example the people who actually were in the bilingual classes. yeah.
the readings were rather pertenant, i think. I need to say that you really should have linked page bnumbers with the assignments to the numbers in the book.






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