Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"Lessons from Research with Language-Minority Children"

I had many problems when reading this article. Many of which became problems because I have grown up in a household held together by a teacher. I have seen the frustrations and the joys that come with the job and I have witnessed the hard work and dedication it takes for young children to succeed. This article I feel undermines all the reasons of school and learning and therefore undermines the ability and dedication of teachers across the states.

The beginning of the article portrays an environment that allows and encourages a bilingual learning atmosphere, of which I am completely pro. However, I cannot help but disagree with the practices allowed in the teacher's classroom. Being on the linguistic track of my English degree, I am learning how second language learner acquire their language. I understand children may need to take notes and create projects in their first language but I don't agree and won't understand why it is consider ok for that child to turn in projects and papers in their first language. However heartless this may sound, we are in the United States, and to function in this country, one needs to know how to learn in,. read, and write in English. To overlook this seems to be an injustice to the children.

If a teacher wants to practice a bilingual teaching style that is great but how are children expected to learn the language of the country if they aren't taught to read, write, and learn in that language. Practicing duality in literacy is one thing to discuss but the examples given are not practicing duality but rather allowinf children to revert to what is easier for them, their first language. I admitt the children are reading the texts in English, but when will the child learn to write in English? Is it possible to give no value to our language and uphold the languages of other countries above our own? I find many flaws in that type of teaching.

The other main point of the article revolves around ideas of interacting with the multitude of cultures represented by the children in your class. Once again, maybe I'm too prideful, but how is it completely the teacher's responsibility to encourage parents to be involved in THEIR child's classroom. Granted surveys may not encourage parents to be involved, and bring their cultural knowledge to the classroom, but shouldn't, as a parent, that want and drive to be involved in their child's schooling be there any way? I find no fault in the teacher not begging parents to join the classroom but rather point the finger in the direction of the parents themselves. The examples highlighted in the article are one of a kind parents and the article fails to realize parents do not, in my opinion, give enough value to their child's education. And that lack of involvement is not due to lack of teacher need or outreach but in faults of the parents.

I may seem hostile but at some point blame needs to put on someone else's shoulders. Teachers are to teach and parents are to encourage the learning in all aspects of life; whether it be in the classroom or at home. Without the two working together, I feel the child has been failed and left to fight on his own.

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