Talking Points #2 - Quotes
The article I decided to explore this week was Aria by Richard Rodriquez because I found it to be an interesting and personal depiction of a english language learner. There were parts that I totally found heart breaking and I felt for Richard.
1."Without question, it would have pleased me to hear my teachers address me in Spanish when I entered the classroom. I would have felt much less afraid. I would have trusted them and responded with ease. But I would have delayed---for how long postponed?---having to learn the language of public society. I would have evaded---and for how long could I have afforded to delay?---learning the great lesson of school, that I had a public identity." (p.34)
- I feel like this quote sets the reader up for the main point of this entire article. This article is about a young boy struggling to find his identity as a spanish speaker in America. I have to say some things did bother me while reading this text which I will get to later. All he wanted to hear was that he had the right to be allowed to learn the public language of "los gringos." This article stresses the issue with the melting pot! We focus too much on changing someone's culture. Instead, we should embrace it!
2. "The family's quiet was partly due to the fact that, as we children learned more and more English, we shared fewer and fewer words with our parents." (p.37)
- I couldn't help feel really sad for Richard! Even though, he was learning English and able to communicate with his peers, he was growing distant to his immediate family. At one point, he said in the article that the loss of his spanish culture and those endearing words drove a wedge in between the closeness of his family. I couldn't help but wonder how hard that must've been.
3. "They do not seem to realize that there are two ways a person is individualized. So they do not realize that while one suffers a diminished sense of private individuality by becoming assimilated into public society such assimilation makes possible the achievement of public individuality." (p.38-39)
- Richard Rodriguez makes the argument for the necessity of assimilation. He states that someone can be an individual in two ways through private and public displays. Therefore, he argues that one can maintain their private and close culture while joining a bigger culture. He says their are ways to integrate the two together. You don't need to lose yourself and your heritage to be assimilated.
It was hard to just pick one article this week because I believe this article and the other one by Virginia Collier are great companions to one another. I read Aria first and while I was reading Teaching Multilingual Children I kept thinking back to the Rodriguez piece. If Rodriquez's teachers followed some of the steps that Collier, presented in her piece then I think he would've still been able to maintain his closeness to his family. Take for example, Collier's third rule for ESL teachers "Don't teach a second language in any way that challenges or seeks to eliminate the first language." This was the big mistake that the nuns made at the very beginning by implying to Richard's parents that he was a bad student because his English wasn't as good yet. They wanted his parents to only speak English which kind of diminished the culture of the family a little bit.
I found this article to be very interesting because it provided me with a different viewpoint for all people that are trying to learn English as a second language. This made me think of my Mom because when she was young, she came to America from Portugal and had to learn English. I never realized how difficult that must've been for her or how much she felt like she was giving up of her own self-identity. I mean I know it's hard to learn English but I never realized how much more than just learning the language is involved; it's a very personal thing. You really have to struggle to find your identity, so I have a tons more respect for all the English Language Learners out there!
Point to Share:
The point that I believe is essential to share is the points that Rodriguez was trying to make. Is it ok for someone to feel like they're losing a part of who they are to be assimilated to the American Culture? What are some things that we can implement in schooling systems that will be more beneficial to the English Language Learners?