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The Intersection Family, School and Community in the Education of Immigrant Children. Ambrizeth H. Lima, Ed.D. Race, Culture and Language: Effective Teaching of Immigrant Children December 6, 2007. Overview. What teaching means to me My research and my teaching The Immigrant child

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the intersection family school and community in the education of immigrant children

The Intersection Family, School and Community in the Education of Immigrant Children

Ambrizeth H. Lima, Ed.D.

Race, Culture and Language: Effective Teaching of Immigrant Children

December 6, 2007

overview
Overview
  • What teaching means to me
  • My research and my teaching
  • The Immigrant child
  • The Family
  • The School
  • The Community
  • Recommendations
what teaching means to me from practice to research to practice
What Teaching Means to Me:From Practice to Research, to Practice

It is impossible to teach without the courage to love, without the courage to try a thousand times before giving up…

From: Teachers as Cultural Workers: Letters to Those who Dare Teach (Freire, 1998; p.3)

my research
My Research

My participants

  • 12 Cape Verdean young men
  • Foreign-born
  • Age range: 18-28

Overarching Research Question:

How do they describe/understand/interpret their experiences in the U.S., within family, school, and community contexts?

the three contexts
The Three Contexts
  • Family
    • Family Resources
    • Family Separation/Reunion
    • Family Needs and Gifts
  • School
    • The Role of Bilingual Programs
    • The Role of Teachers as Agents of Socialization
  • Community/Neighborhood
    • The “environment”
    • Community Resources (the Teen Center)
the immigrant family
The Immigrant Family
  • The search of a “better life”
    • Educational opportunities
    • Reunion (offspring, siblings)
    • Safety (war, persecution)
    • Economic stability
    • Remittances to those who stayed behind
slide7

Family Separation and Reunion

(Translated from Creole)

I met my father here in the U.S. In the beginning it was difficult because there was no communication between us because we didn’t know each other…We don’t have a father-son relationship. We are two good friends.

(Adalberto, 21)

the role of former caregivers
The Role of Former Caregivers

[S]he don't want to see me in the positions she sees on the TV, like a lot of deportations, a lot of killings…the only thing I have to give to her is love, and respect...

(Adilson, 24)

possible implications suarez orozco 2002
Possible Implications (Suarez-Orozco, 2002)
  • Depression
  • Amicable relationship with parent
  • Hostile relationship with parent
  • Sibling rivalry/perception of preferential treatment
  • Lack of communication at home, which may lead to family instability
and or
And/or…
  • A stronger determination to succeed
  • A maturity beyond their years
  • Respect for educational process
  • Respect for authority figures
  • Appreciation for the opportunities available in the U.S.
my experience
In Cape Verde:

Creole

Portuguese

French

English

In the US:

Creole (home, school)

Portuguese (home, school)

English (school)

My Experience
slide13

Linguistic Acrobatics

My stepfather speaks Cape Verdean Creole, but my mother speaks both English and Creole, and Spanish. My mother spoke English with [my brother] and she spoke Creole with us. (Adilson, 24)

slide14

Linguistic Power

I can really you know, understand, but sometimes I keep it. I hold back…I can say it [in Creole], but sometimes I act like I’m stupid too, because I don’t want to talk about it. (Carlitos, 18)

role reversal
Role Reversal

[Letters from school are sent] [i]n English. I read them and in some occasions when it's things [my parents] need to know, [I translate].

(Carlitos, 18)

possible linguistic outcomes
Possible Linguistic Outcomes
  • Multilingual
  • Resourceful and savvy in their social context
  • Skillful translators and interpreters
  • Mature, given the level of responsibility at home
slide17
Or…
  • Develop linguistic problems that may lead to cognitive issues
  • Become the authority at home at a very early age
  • Resent the role of language brokers
implications for educators
Identifying the problem

Referring student for counseling

Communicating with parents

Discussing general “issues” related to families in the classroom

Encouraging the student to “hang on”

Allowing students time to “sort out” the myriad languages in their lives

Watching for issues that may be linguistic and not cognitive or vise-versa

Translating/interpreting resources within the school

Implications for Educators
the school context
The School Context
  • The Role of Bilingual Programs
  • Teachers and School Personnel as Agents of Socialization
the familiar
The Familiar

I think the whole environment [bilingual class]…I was feeling more comfortable because like after I came here, you know, came to the school, and we found Cape Verdean people. (Denzel, 21)

the role of teachers
The Role of Teachers

It was very good because [teachers] take their time when I didn't understand and stuff like that. They always made sure that we learn[ed] something.

(Adalberto, 22)

the challenges
The Challenges

I didn’t know anything about school. The next day I was in school. So fear, you know being nervous…I was always getting into fights as soon as I got there.

(Miguel, 28)

teachers as agents of socialization
Teachers as Agents of Socialization

Ideological clarity refers to the process by which individuals struggle to identify and compare their own explanations for the existing socioeconomic and political hierarchy with the dominant society’s. (Bartolome, 1994, p.1)

when cultures collide
When Cultures Collide

The first day [of school] you come [with] all tight [clothes]…and few days later you want a jersey because you see [other students] in jerseys. You have the jersey but you still have tight pants, you have to go little by little.

(Adilson, 24)

the compromise
The Compromise

[I]t's different, Hip Hop culture, and then I don't want to pick it up, but I have to pick it up, to fit in because if I don't, I won't fit in the culture.

(Adilson, 24)

a teacher s guidance
A Teacher’s Guidance

Don't push yourself too far; don't push yourself too hard to get in that position. It might be a good position, it might be a bad position, but don't push too hard. Don't focus on that, focus on your grades.

(Pedro, 21)

implications for educators1
Implications for Educators
  • Orientation for parents and students
  • Thematic curricula about the integration of youth in the U.S.
  • Awareness of what new immigrants experience
  • Awareness of students’ environment
  • Knowledge of resources to assist the students
the community neighborhood context
The Community (Neighborhood) Context
  • The “Environment”
  • Community Resources (the Teen Center)
the neighborhoods
The Neighborhoods

At any moment, you know, you can be in your house and get shot, you know, it's a constant danger to your life out here.

(Albertino, 24)

urban insulation
Urban Insulation

Friends told me about [the teen center]. I used to mostly to stay home. So I came here and they said there were people that was offering help on homework, so I came here and started playing sports. (Angelo, 18)

what worked
What Worked
  • Friends with the same language and culture
  • Avoidance of situations/locations where they can be discriminated against
  • Avoidance of conflicts with authorities
  • Participation in political and cultural events
  • Membership in a center that provides support
implications for educators2
Implications for Educators
  • Know the resources available in the community
  • Refer students to the resources
  • Communicate with students about their needs
  • Watch for students’ fear, anger, and frustration
  • Speak to the students: they are the greatest resources for educators
recommendations
Recommendations
  • Orientation for parents/children
  • Orientation for schools around immigration issues
  • Curricula rich in cultural awareness and strategies for integration
  • ESL classes for parents
  • Information about schooling (booklets, videos)
  • Awareness of resources available in the community