Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Teaching Multilingual Children (Extended Comments)

After reading Melissa's blog, I realized that I too made many of the same connections between Richard Rodriguez's article, "Aria", Virginia Collier's article, "Teaching Multilingual Children", and the article we previously read by Lisa Delpit.  I felt as though Delpit outlines a sort of umbrella topic of the 'culture of power', while Rodriguez and Collier explore one of the aspects of our culture than can greatly affect one's power within our world: language.  Melissa was able to succinctly describe the article that was written by Richard Rodriguez.  He used his own personal experiences to describe what it was like to learn English as a second language, how it made him feel as an individual, and the affect that it had on his family.  He also was able to realize and describe how learning English in school ostracized him from his parents who were not taught English in the same way, but learned a few words here or there from their children.  Therefore, the parents did not hold the same amoung of power in the community as their children did because they were unable to speak the language.


Melissa describes Virginia Collier's article as supporting bilingual education.  She also decribes Collier's writing as "emphasizing the importance of appreciating the different languages and cultures that are present in the classroom."  Collier also describes the difficulties that bilingual teachers encounter, such as how to teacher enough English in less than one year?  How do you teach English in a way that still supports and encourages the languages and dialects that our students speak within the home?  Collier provided guidelines that she believes give educators the opportunity to better understand how teaching English to second-language learners can be beneficial.  This is where I made the connection, like Melissa did, again to Delpit.  In a way, Collier is struggling to find a way to provide our students with the resources that they need to be powerful and successful in school.  She is attempting to find the best way to reach these students so that they are provided with equal opportunities to their peers.  Collier is simply highlighting one of the factors that plays into Delpit's description of the 'culture of power'. 

I agree with Melissa in that both Collier and Rodriguez expressed that they thought children should be taught English because it is the primary language here and will provide students with more opportunities.  Melissa stated that Delpit feels as though educators need to be aware of how the 'culture of power' can negatively affect childen within the minority population.  I think that she summarizes that well and that teachers do need to be aware of their students feelings towards the 'culture of power' and be sure to validate the culture of our students so that they can still hold on to the uniqueness of that as well.  Melissa summarized the connections between the authors very well when she said, "A child's unique culture and language should be acknowledged and appreciated, but in order to be successful within today's society a child need to be explicitly taught the values of the 'culture of power.'"

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