Monday September 14, 2009 | The Immigrant Experience at CMS

September 11, 2009 at 11:51 am | Posted in Coming Up | 6 Comments

Children from all over the county are back in school, but for many students, school in America will be a new and different experience than they anticipated. CMS educates a wide variety of immigrant children, and English is a second language for most of them. We’ll look at the challenges to educators and to the immigrant children in the school system from three experts who study student diversity.
Guests
Dr. Rosemary Traore
– Asst. Professor, Urban Education at UNC Charlotte
Dr. Lan Quach – Asst. Professor, Middle, Secondary, K12 Education at UNC Charlotte
Jose Hernandez-Paris
– Diversity Specialist, Parent University at CMS

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  1. Mike,

    Thanks for this program.

    1. When it comes to getting materials, not having a car, having no money to purchase materials, not having the knowledge of how to purchase the right materials, etc. happens also to our “native” students. Too often teachers do not realize this problem. (ex. Assigning a “family tree” activity would have been an activity assigned when we were in school. Today, too many kids have no idea who is on their biological family trees.) …too many parents in prison, kids being reared by grandparents, etc.

    (Several years ago a secretary at my school talked about what her family had done to help her son witha project. One of his classmates
    – didn’t know who his dad was
    – his mom was in prison
    – he lived with his grandmother
    – she could not read
    – she could not drive
    How could the student succeed?)

    2. Another huge problem with teachers is that we see immigrant children seeming to communicate well with their peers. However, communicating on “the street” and having academic vocabulary are two different things.

    I never realized this until one of my Hispanic students and I were talking outside the classroom. When I would say something that seemed “normal” to me, he would ask me what I meant.

    Many times children like this are seen as not trying.

    3. Some way we need to encourage immigrant parents to learn English as they can – even if it means the child teaching the parent a few words. If parents could have an “English” hour each day when the family attempts to speak English, it would help the children.

    4. One of the biggest problems is the awful attitude of many Americans about our immigrants. Every immigrant – especially Hispanic – is assumed to be illegal and treated as such.

    How can we cure Americans of this attitude of hatred?

    Thanks for your programs! I love them!!
    Rebecca

  2. For Mr. Hernandez: Are there diversity seminars available for area teachers to learn best practices?

    • Josh,

      Thanks for your question. The Curriculum and Instruction department of CMS offers workshops related to instructional strategies. I am lworking on putting together some workshops for teachers that will be offered after the holidays. If you are a CMS teacher please look at MyPD for information. If you are not please let me know and may be I can loan you some great up-to-date material. :0)

  3. I administer an ESL adult program here in Charlotte. This is our fifth year and I can state that we have seen a great turnover in our students during each session. They will attend for several evenings and then stop. Obviously this impacts their learning. This year we are asking the students to pay for books which we hope will encourage them to continue attending class and use the books at home as well. We did a survey at the end of last year and almost every student said they did not practice English outside the classroom. This is due to a variety of reasons, but observations also show there is a comfort level everyone needs, as well as a timidity about using a foreing language, English in this case, outside the classroom. People can be downright cruel toward people they may perceive as foreigners with no rights to be here, which is another issue I hope is resolved humanely affording those who are here, working their tails off to provide levels of service we citizens now expect, to be provided a pathway to citizenship.

    • I posted this on Charlotte Public Radio Station. They are saying that people here are cruel to foreigners-those choose not to speak English. Hope I made you proud:)
      Hello, I spotted one sentence in your comment-“We did a survey at the end of last year and almost every student said they did not practice English outside the classroom.” I am a legal immigrant of 27 years. Once this great country gave us a chance to live normal life, we made it our most important goal to fit in-not the other way around,sorry that is the only right way I know. Our daughters, one came at age of 8 months, one was born here, they both speak Polish-that is their way of staying in touch with Grandparents -keeping them posted of what is happening in their lives-Grandparents should know and be able to advice if needed,also my daughters know where their parents came from-respect that-know the complex history of Poland…
      It can be done- contributing to the society we live in and keeping our heritage intact. Yes it takes a little work-isn’t that what this country was build on? Why stop now? There is that saying… Ask not what your country can do for you…
      Could we start there, please?
      USA and English does not need to be force fed. The immigrants made their choice coming here-I hope legally, there are plenty of good people and programs around.One needs to want to find them. From my own experience, I am telling you that I found “what goes around…” be so true. We did and are trying very hard to keep on doing right. Guess what? USA IS our HOME and all it took was a little effort. So, before you judge the Americans as being cruel… Ask the Parents of those children to decide-is this their home country? Are they willing to get involved in guiding their children to become productive members of this society?
      Sincerely,
      Halina

  4. Thank you for addressing the challenges faced by immigrant children and the schools as well. The obstacles are daunting, but the opportunities are great.

    Greetings from Lima, Peru.

    Saludos,

    Vernon J. Menard


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