Cross Cultural Education
The information gathered was mostly from my grandparents and my parents. From the interviews conducted, I found out that my ancestors came to the United States in 1850. The main reason why they came to the United States is due to famine. According to information obtained, at the time, Ireland was facing a severe famine, owing to upsetting crop disasters. Due to lack of food for lengthy periods, my ancestors were left with no other option but to move to the United States. However, there are quite a number of challenges they faced upon arrival. To begin with, they had no expertise and no preceding experience in becoming accustomed to a new nation. In addition, they also faced the challenge of having no cash, minimal clothes and lack of education. Another distinctive challenge that they faced upon arrival to the United States was a great deal of prejudice. This was because of their religious affiliation to Catholicism. This religion was not taken serious in the U.S. as the natives considered it to be false, owing to the use of prayer beads, praying to Mary and also using oils and statues. They also faced chauvinism by being perceived by Americans as incessantly drunk and ignorant people.
Our family values regarding education is that we should perceive school and education as being a priority and always working hard to succeed in school. Our father is responsible for these family values on education. This is because he understood the significance of education in the contemporary, with regard to obtaining prospects to succeed in life. Our great grandfather experienced challenges in obtaining work opportunities because he had not obtained proper education. Therefore, the family considerably values education as a component that is significant in life. More so, in the present world, education is necessary as it helps one to conduct himself or herself in a proper manner. Families are involved in the education of children. They play a significant role in ensuring that the child grows up with moral values. The reason for this is because through the involvement of parents and families, the child’s self-esteem increases, it enhances the relationship and association between the child and parent and also ensures that they cultivate a positive attitude towards school and education (Van Roekel, 2008).
My family’s culture goes down to love, friendship and togetherness. A significant element of culture within the family is always being kind to people. This goes particularly with regard to how young children and the elderlies are treated. Since childhood and what I see now with my cousins is that children are shown the importance of love and friendship from a young age. This in particular is rooted in my family’s past as my grandparents always insisted that the family should come first. Therefore, my parents always made sure they were there for me at all times and this is a family tradition that is bound to continue in the forthcoming periods. The family of origin is also an important custom. Within the family, this implies that even if one does not have similar beliefs and values as the parents, they still have to be given the utmost respect and looked out for on a frequent basis. In light of this, there are barely any conflicts or arguments within the family. This is rooted in the family’s past as I can see the manner in which my parents and their siblings are close to each other until the present day in their adult life.
There are some languages that were lost. In particular, these included Celtic and Goidelic languages. These two languages were spoken three to four generations before. These are some of the languages that were in my family’s past. The language gained was American English, subsequent to moving to the United States from Ireland. My family’s values about language and language learning are to first and foremost fully grasp languages that are significant for education. However, my parents are not keen on us studying the old Irish languages as they are barely spoken by family members. However, they do insist on understanding a few words and phrases that are valuable. The value of the family encompasses encouraging us to learn new languages, such as French and Spanish, which might be used in the forthcoming periods.
The artifact that is emblematic of my family and its past and an heirloom or family treasure is a Claddagh ring. This particular bequest dates back to four generations, and has been passed down since. In tradition, this ring is passed down from a mother down to her daughter, especially when she is getting married. I expect to be passed down this ring when I get engaged or when I get married. This indicates that my family treasures love and family values. The Claddagh ring in essence gives the meaning of love and friendship to endure forever. This shows that my family is really keen on having lasting love, friendship and loyalty, aspects that have grown to become scarce as the days have gone by. Therefore, by handing down the ring from one generation to another, it signifies togetherness and love that is purposed to last for more and more years to come (Colin and O’Dea, 2006).
This section compares and contrasts the Irish culture with the Hispanic culture of the ELLs that I serve. One of the ways in which they are complementary is the significance of family and togetherness. One of the evidences of culture integrated in current learning standards is that it takes into account the different diversities. In both of these cultures, a significant emphasis is laid on family as the main source of a person’s identity and protection against any challenges that one faces in life. In addition, the cultures are keen on loyalty and togetherness at all times, and therefore showing support if and when needed. However, the major difference between the two cultures in this regard is that the Hispanic culture extends this element of family to cousins, distant cousins and even individuals that are not biologically related. This is not the case with the Irish culture as it only takes into account close relatives. Another element of similarity goes down to respect. Both of these cultures value loyalty and respect. They show and expect it to be reciprocated. However, there is a significant element of difference between the two cultures when it comes to the level of respect that is shown. In the Hispanic culture, people have a tendency of expecting dissimilarities in rank between members of a society, an aspect that is largely different in the Irish culture. For instance, Hispanic people more often than not give a great deal of respect and reverence to individuals on the basis of their position within the society, their financial status and also position of power. A good example is taking the word of a general practitioner without questioning it, as it would be deemed disrespectful. This is not the case in the Irish culture as respect is shown to the elders, but at the same time, it is a two-way channel. Another aspect of contrast between the two cultures is the informality that exists among the Irish people. This is different from the Hispanic culture as in most instances it would be regarded as disrespectful.
Community Member Interview Project
Mr. Bernie Shine is a 40-year-old Mexican man that moved to the United States about two decades ago. He speaks Spanish as a minority language. He has experience in acquiring more than one language. Mr. Shine is a member of a community in which I am interested in working. Bernie has one wife and two children, a son and a daughter, who are five and three years old, respectively. His parents live back in Mexico, where the majority of his close and distant relatives subsist. Having been brought up in Mexico, and in a Hispanic cultural background, Bernie values the role of a family and strong ties amongst the members. He points out that he always makes sure that they sit down and have dinner together as a family every single night, as that “draws them together.” From where he was brought up, a significant emphasis is laid on the family as the main source of a person’s identity and protection against any challenges that one might face in life. In addition, the cultures are keen on loyalty and togetherness at all times and therefore showing support if and when needed. More so, this protracts to family, cousins, distant cousins and even individuals that are not biologically related.
Bernie also pointed out his experiences with cultural adjustment. Initially, when he set foot into the United States, it was the most joyous moment. This was an exciting and pleasant opportunity, and he was going to “live the American dream.” However, it was not all rosy, as he pointed out. One of the significant problems that he faced was hostility, owing to the reason that he had problems with language and communication. One of the reactions he faced was rudeness, with some people claiming they did not understand a word he said. In addition, Bernie did mention additional elements of culture shock. A significant difference was the way people in the United States placed a great deal of their self-confidence and pride on their work. In Mexico, he was used to people laying value on family and togetherness. Bernie also explained that one of the challenges that he faced was the experience of acculturative stress and problems with adjustment to the new environment of the United States. Some of the stressors he faced included language barriers, isolation, racism, and also learning problems. There are numerous times he would miss home and his family; this would take a toll on him and he would get depressed. However, he is keen on admitting that he has become acculturated to the American culture, taking into consideration that he fundamentally works in an American school, spends time with his American neighbors and friends and shares some of their interests.
Mr. Shine’s perception of the United States society is that it is culturally diverse. It continues to astound him as to how he met different people from different backgrounds all residing in one neighborhood. This makes it possible for one to understand the different ways of life and the traditions that go along with them. From his cultural point-of-view, he considers the U.S. society to lack distinctive values that they can hold on to. In addition, there are several aspects that he considers to be different. One aspect that he still finds surprising is the lack of formality within the U.S. society. People here easily call others by their first names, even before they get to know them. This is completely different from the Hispanic and Mexican culture as this would be deemed to be a sign of disrespect.
English has played a great role in Mr. Shine’s life. In particular, he terms it to be important in unifying language and culture. Life has become much easier after learning English. This is because communication has become much easier and more prospects have opened up more. He points out that it is difficult to get a proper job in America if one cannot speak English as it is the national language being spoken. Community languages also played an important role in his life. This is the way in which education of the language offered by means of the community, facilitates, in a number of instances, extra backing and support, network activities and cohesion projects amongst members of the community. The community languages offered much more than teaching and learning language. Rather, they acted as a pillar and an element of bringing the community together. This in turn made him feel much more connected.
In conclusion, I have grasped that there is a significant association between language and culture. A foretelling way is the significance of community language and how much influence it can have. There are ways in which I could use the information learned to involve culturally and linguistically diverse families in schools, and incorporate cultural differences in schools. It is one of the ways in which the development and establishment of support networks are purposed to ensure the sustenance of culture and language. In addition, another element is through the formation of individual relations between the teacher and the parents, which in turn generates more prospects for the parents to gain accessibility to the school as a sustenance provision to connect them to information, backing and culturally pertinent activities.
The visit encompassed touring a local immigrant community in Chicago. The local community selected is the Chinese community. To begin with, Chicago is a montage, a city of vicinities developed by influences of immigrants who came in to dig its watercourses, construct its train track and operate in its abattoirs. To get to this community, I headed southward to Chinatown. The first thing I did was to enter the Phoenix Restaurant, a Chinese eating place that is well-known for the Chinese dumpling Dim Sum. One of the interesting things I saw in the restaurant is that immediately after getting a table, Chinese women came around rolling drays of bite-sized food on tableware and in cane baskets. Taking into consideration that I was eager to taste just about everything they had to offer, plus the ladies appeared to be let down if I did not select something. In no time I found myself encircled by different biting such as shrimp rolls, pork balls and sesame buns. Addressing the pangs of my cravings, I ordered a plate of the chicken I had earlier seen on another client’s table. They looked so delicious and they were quite chilly as I had been warned. However, I did manage to devour it without any complaints. Lastly, for dessert, I ate almond jelly, a popular dish in the restaurant. The best aspect of it all is how cheap the entire meal was. I had no clue how much it would all amount to but when I got the bill, I only had to pay $30. That made me regret why I had not eaten more.
The next stop of the tour was down the street to Chinatown Square. This was such a fascinating and beautiful edifice, structured in design by fantastically carved animals of the Chinese calendar. Thereafter, I walked past stores playing music to look through different items that were on offer in the Chinese grocery stores. Further down, I passed the Chinatown Gate, which led to a shopping avenue that was full of activity. This expanse is referred to as Wentworth. The area was filled with numerous tourists of diverse nationalities. There were also Chinese-American teens walking around drinking juices and dressed up school kids that stood outside the PuiTak Christian School. One of the interesting things that I keenly noted was that when the time came for their worship, they were all strict to such timing and graciously went on with the practices.
One of the things that I learnt about the Chinese community’s culture, values, and beliefs from the visit is that they largely value modesty. I knew this from the way I saw the Chinese in the restaurant insisting on their guests to take seats first. In addition, the Chinese chefs showed modesty by being humble even when given compliments. In accordance to Zhu (2008), when being given a compliment, a Chinese over and over again repudiates his or her proficiency so as to be humble. For that reason, modesty is shown by declining a commendation of an element in Chinese culture. Another significant value of the Chinese culture is that of harmony. This basically implies having proper and poised organization between different elements and it takes into account sensibility, suitability and assimilation. The Chinese also hold high regard family ties and blood relatives. In according to this culture, a family that maintains peace is bound to succeed and thrive. This element disseminates to encompass friendships and social affiliations.
There are aspects of the culture that might challenge the learning of students or influence their involvement in the American educational system. To begin with, in comparison with English-speaking learners, Chinese learners necessitate a huge number of facts to be dedicated to recollection. This dissimilarity mirrors the distinctive features of Asian cultural notions of literacy acquisition (Derderian-Aghajanian and Wang, 2012). Another aspect is that Chinese students are familiarized to get accustomed to teacher-centered classrooms yet in the United States, it is student-centered. Another aspect is the element of acculturalization and assimilation. On one hand, assimilation necessitates for the complete understanding of English devoid of trying to learn any other language. On the other hand, acculturalization permits for the learning of both languages.
I plan on using the information learned to support culturally diverse education of my students through the appreciation of their different backgrounds. In particular, I will ensure that I am sensitive to and offer support for diversity in culture, background, language and leaning into the everyday activities and practices of the classroom. Different elements of culture can directly have an influence on verbal and non-verbal communication, and it is imperative for me as a teacher to comprehend, espouse and celebrate the cultural background and differences of all their students, predominantly their ethnical and linguistical diversity. Through the visit, I plan on incorporating very important elements that can be easily understood by the students such as the foods, the traditions, the sacred buildings and also events. For instance, I would request the students to come up with a list of their favorite cultural meals, the traditional values that go along with them and also any sacred buildings. More so, I would make certain that classroom materials mirror the features, values, and practices of diverse cultural groups. One of the ways is to ensure that, for instance, any pictorials made signify a wide scale of races, cultures, for both male and female students. In addition, passing by the distinct areas of worship also inculcated the notion that I as a teacher will have to acknowledge and take into account the cultural and religious practices of the diverse students. More so, there will be sharing of cultural traditions within the classroom and in the course of the program with regard to particular cultural activities that they take part in.
My score after completing the sorting activity was 8 out of 20. What I learnt about making suppositions that I did not already know is that the appearance of an individual does not always completely reveal his or her lineage and self-identity. Centered on the score that I attained, I have significantly learned that it is quite difficult to make any precise forecasts on the basis of solely appearance. It is easy to judge or make assumptions about a person’s racial category from their appearance and how they look. However, as perceived from this particular activity, we are not always right and we can easily be wrong on several instances. This exercise might considerably help me in teaching and learning. In particular, it is beneficial in understanding that the race of an individual, for instance a student, cannot tell me what he or she is logically good at or how their mannerisms might be. However, through racial categorization, it becomes possible to perceive the individuals or students currently facing discrimination, for instance, black students, and also those who lack particular prospects. Therefore, as a teacher, it aids me not to easily make any assumptions about students.
In my own words, I can define culture to be the different values, beliefs and philosophies that people within a community become accustomed to as time goes by and in turn conveyed to the younger generation when the time comes. One of the best examples I would employ is the Indian culture, which encompasses aspects such as Buddhism, and which is passed down from one generation to the other. On the other hand, I can delineate multicultural education to be the different approaches employed within the educational sector to take into consideration the constantly transforming aspects of all students to make certain that they all attain the best education level.
Being of Irish decent, one of the main traditions is St. Patrick’s Day, which is a day slotted for remembering St. Patrick who spread Christianity across Ireland. Another major tradition that is celebrated is the existence of leprechauns who are deemed to have magical powers that can grant wishes. In addition, the Irish also largely believe in the Halloween tradition where it is believed that there is a squeaky boundary in which the dead are able to come back to the world. This is quite similar to Hispanic culture, which is that of the ELLs. This is in the sense that the Spanish celebrate Cinco de Mayo, which is quite similar to Halloween. Another similarity between the two cultures is how much they value family and togetherness.
I know culture shock to be the feeling or experience faced by an individual, owing to getting used to a new culture and a new way of living. On the other hand, assimilation can be basically defined as the similarity and likeness of one culture that comes to be akin to another. Lastly, I consider acculturation to be the practice of cultural alteration as well as mental change that comes about when two cultures come together. One of the strategies I would use or have used to value and validate the culture, customs, traditions, values, and beliefs of my ELL students and their families is to question students how certain topics are in connection to their lives. In addition, the strategy encompasses asking students to bring different aspects of art and music from their different cultures and delineate the importance and connotation to their different classmates. I believe this strategy is significant because every student is a separate individual and their experiences might or might not be equivalent to the group they represent.
I am a middle 30’s white female. My social class is of the middle class and my religious affiliation is Catholicism. My sexual preference is of the opposite gender. I am learning disabled. I believe that both my dominant and subordinate identities have fashioned my sense of self. In particular, being female, white and heterosexual makes me to be intrinsically dominant. However, being learning disabled, particularly at my age makes me subordinate as it is largely expected for someone to be educated at this point in time. With regard to some of the students that I serve, I believe subordinate identities, largely being not able to speak proper English fashion their sense of self. This is for the reason that they are inclined to be more cognizant of their lack of proper English in a community where the majority of the people speak it. This sort of makes them feel like having a deficiency (Tatum, 2000).
The following are some of the privileges and also ways in which I am oppressed on the basis of my socio-political status.
1. Privilege 1 — I gain the advantages of confirmatory action systems that permit me accessibility to low-priced business credits and female-friendly fellowship programs and scholarships that hand me an edge over my male peers. This is a privilege I get for being a white female in America.
2. Privilege 2 — I have the freedom of speech and press. This is a privilege that I experience for being an America.
3. Oppression 1 — I constantly lack resources that aid me in learning. In addition, my ability for higher jobs is constantly questioned. I am oppressed based on my status as a learning disabled.
4. Oppression 2 — I face constant prejudice for my religious views and ways of praying. I face this oppression for being a Catholic, since majority of Americans are Protestants (McDonald et al., 2007).
My reaction while watching the video series is just how simple and easy it is for people to discriminate, yet they themselves would not wish to experience the same. My feeling was that of being appalled that when this experiment was conducted on the correction department, adults that were both black and white with brown eyes showed prejudice to the individuals with blue eyes, insisting that they were useless, rude and ignorant. In relation to my practice as an educator, I believe this is a remarkable way of showing kids that one cannot judge another over physical features, such as color of the skin, the color of the eyes or a certain physical feature that is deemed different. I believe it enables the students to understand that judgement cannot be made until one goes through such experiences themselves (Frontline, n.d).
How were you socialized?
Dominant Identity = White Female
Subordinate Identity =
What is the earliest socialization you recall?
Being called princess
The earliest socialization I can remember is being picked on and ostracized as early as age 14
Who were the institutional and cultural Reinforcers (family, schools, health care, media, neighborhood, worship)?
Family and Media
School and neighborhood
Who enforced the privileges and disadvantages?
My family constantly got me white dresses and tiaras. Cartoons such as Snow White made me feel dominant
My peers in the school and kids within the neighborhood
What were your feelings, beliefs, confusions?
Internal confusion, embarrassment, low self-esteem and a bit of depression
How was the status quo maintained/sustained?
Being taken out on dates.
Constantly being last on the pecking order for different social activities
Was there a moment where you perceived directions or actions for change?
No there was not.
I attempted to go through a recreational program that offers therapy
Any other contributions?
Being female makes it much easier as I can draw upon feelings
I largely depended on my parents, who completely understood my experiences.
Centered on Harro’s model, one of the constant fears that make it hard for me to break out of is simply not being good enough and constantly being labeled as a learning disabled. Being constantly seen as being different continues to plough that fear, which makes it difficult for me to change that cycle.
I believe it is imperative to prepare all children to harmoniously co-exist and be productive in tandem with others who signify different and several racial and cultural groups, capabilities and different backgrounds within the community. Taking this into consideration, there are ways in which I will help students overcome hurt and susceptibility that they might have as a result of experiencing discrimination. One of them is helping the students to become sensitive towards the feelings of other people. This will be through showing them instances through books and stories that aid them comprehend the perspectives of other people. I will also encourage them to consider the feelings of other people. One of the ways to help them overcome the hurt is by constantly reminding them that they are not different and that they are special and unique in their own way. This is to make certain that they do not hate themselves for any features they have.
Designing Culturally Relevant Instruction Across Content Areas and the Arts — Grade = PreK
Overview: We will be studying animals to identify different features of animals and also where they live. Students will learn about A for Ant, B for Bee, and C for Cat patterns and be able to follow through until the end.
Learning Objective/Standard: Students will be able to recognize and duplicate simple patterns in various formats until the end of the alphabet.
Assessment: Student will use letters to draw animals beginning with such letters.
Cultural Modification: When studying animals, materials from several nations will be employed in learning to identify which animals are common in the different cultures.
Social justice in the classroom encompasses creating a community within the classroom that connects to the lives of the students and creates change. My initial definition of multicultural education did promote liberation and social justice in the sense that it only accounted for students achieving their level best. What can be added is an understanding of children’s diverse background and creating a classroom community. I would incorporate technology into a culturally relevant instruction by having a supportive environment. I would ensure that the technology employed by students can be accessed by all of them at the same time and does not necessitate them using it one at a time. This will be through an app.
The group selected is the Hispanic cultural group. The non-verbal language that is similar to the nonverbal cues in the United States is eye contact. In these two cultures, the lack of eye contact whilst speaking to someone is deemed to be of suspicious nature and even a sign of disrespect to some extent. On the other hand, there is a dissimilarity of nonverbal language in Hispanic to nonverbal cues in the U.S. One of them is the hand gesture for come here. Whilst this might be considered as a sign for come here in the United States, for the Hispanic group this is deemed a solicitation and a sign for being romantically interest in someone. One time I faced a mismatch in nonverbal cultural communication was when I handed a Muslim friend of mine an object with my left hand. Apparently, this was disrespectful, an aspect I had not yet known. It made the conversation uncomfortable and I had to apologize. This will be beneficial as an educator of ELL students and their families as it ensures that there are no major differences that can cause disagreements within the classroom.
Colin, M., O’Dea, M. (2006). The Feckin’ Book of Everything Irish. New York, Barnes & Noble.
Derderian-Aghajanian, A., & Wang, C. C. (2012). How culture affects on English language learners'(ELL’s) outcomes, with Chinese and Middle Eastern Immigrant Students. International Journal of Business and Social Science, 3(5).
Frontline. (n.d). A Class Divided. PBS. Retrieved from: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/class-divided/
McDonald, K. E., Keys, C. B., & Balcazar, F. E. (2007). Disability, race/ethnicity and gender: themes of cultural oppression, acts of individual resistance. American Journal of Community Psychology, 39(1-2), 145-161.
Tatum, B. D. (2000). The complexity of identity: Who am I. Readings for diversity and social justice, 9-14.
Van Roekel, N. P. D. (2008). Parent, family, community involvement in education. Policy Brief. Washington, DC: National education Association.
Zhu, B. (2008). Chinese cultural values and Chinese language pedagogy (Doctoral dissertation, The Ohio State University).