Assimilation In Schools Essay, Research Paper
I believe that the most common of these three is assimilation. Assimilation occurs in many different ways in our schools, and it is unfortunately a part of life that we all have to learn to accept, no matter the consequences. America is more commonly known as the melting pot, one would assume automatically that the schools would consists of numerous cultures yet we still insist on forcing the American way of life onto many of our students. The process of assimilation can occur through language and culture.
The language barrier that affects many residents in the southern states should not be seen as a handicap but as a way of learning from our students. These students are forced into an English-speaking classroom and expected to assimilate to our language with very little help from educators. The educators are not to blame, the demand for teachers is extremely high and the teachers we have fill the gaps, whether they share a language with their students or not. In the San Diego area many of the students speak a language other than English at home and have difficulty comprehending daily lessons. Many are placed, for a limited time, in a bilingual class and then thrown into an English dominated class and expected to achieve as if it were their first language. Those who cannot keep up become discouraged and many become withdrawn from the class activities, perhaps being labeled slow or difficult. If this problem does not scream the need for more ESL programs I’m not sure what will.
The second area of assimilation in our schools is culture. I have heard many say that the differences of cultures do not raise problems in our schools, in response to that I wonder what schools they have visited. The introduction of any different culture causes many to raise their eyebrows to the different practices. One example is food, as part of a Jewish family I have experienced these raised eyebrows, especially during the celebration of Passover. The Jewish holiday of Passover requires eliminating any yeast-based products from your diet, leaving you with mostly vegetables and matzo (a Jewish substitute for bread). Bringing matzo into the school and workplace causes questions for many and sometime the feeling of being an outcast. Many children in this situation take the criticisms they experience to heart and give up many of their cultural practices in order to “fit in” with the norm. Our schools should offer more education backgrounds of the cultures they serve in order to eliminate prejudices and criticisms that are made simply out of being uninformed.