On Monday, we discussed Foner’s chapter on education and immigration as well as the NY Times article on the same topic. This was understandably, a very difficult issue to broach. There are so many things to consider and so many different viewpoints depending on what one’s role is in the education system. The first question brought up was how should kids who first arrive to the U.S. speaking no English be taught? I thought that this seemingly simple question is actually very hard to answer in a way that would benefit everyone. It seems like in each answer, there’s always someone who will be giving up something or losing out on something. Personally at first, I thought that it should’ve been that these foreign students should be placed into ESL classes, but still be taught the other subjects in their native language so they don’t fall behind in the curriculum. This is important because we want these students to graduate on time and get a diploma. For many immigrants, the main reason why they come to the U.S. is for a better education and job opportunities. If these students aren’t able to graduate on time with their diplomas, it seems like their efforts in coming to a new country is wasted. But, as the NY Times article pointed out, is it really better for the students in the long run to be isolated from the actual class just to push them towards graduation? In reality and from stories that I’ve heard, many foreign students are just put into the regular class with everyone else and through that they’re forced to learn the language. Even though they fall behind a little bit in the beginning because they don’t know the language, in the long run, it’s better for their English speaking abilities. It’s similar to the idea when parents throw their children into the water to force them to learn how to swim. This is a similar concept and these foreign students can only improve from that point onwards. However, another problem arises. The parents of the other students in the class might complain that that these immigrant children are pushing the class behind and that the teacher is devoting more time to those students and neglecting the others. All of these are very plausible reasons and this just shows how there’s no single way of teaching foreign students that would make everyone satisfied. It’s also important to determine if forcing these immigrant students to get a diploma on time is more beneficial in the long run or throwing them into a class and forcing them to adapt and learn the language in that way would be better for them. It’s all very subjective and it just proves how difficult it is to agree on single way of implementing a teaching system for immigrant students.
Week 14 (beginning May 8)
- Amanda C.
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