5 Language, Immigration, and Geography

Discussion / Reflection Activities

Discussion Prompt: Impressions of Immigration

Using a photo compilation application (like Pic Stitch or Pic Jointer, which are free apps to download), create a photo collage of a minimum of three pictures that represent things that shape your views of immigration.  These can be images that come to mind when you think of immigration or images that represent things that have helped form the way you consider immigration today. Upload your photo into a comment here, and then provide a three to four sentence description of the images you chose and why.

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Discussion Prompt: Immigration Issues

You have read several articles discussing some of the challenges regarding immigration.  Hopefully you noticed in ‘Let Them In’ the significant wait times facing many groups who would like to immigrate to the U.S. legally, as well as some of the challenges presented by Jose’ Vargas in his story, ‘My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant’.

Given all of this information, how do you think the U.S. sends mixed messages regarding the way we handle immigrants, and particularly students?  Describe one way you think immigration policy or practice could be improved and the biggest barriers to you see to implementing your recommendation.  Be sure to comment on your peers’ posts you think offer strong solutions.

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Written Response: Reflection Paper Topic

Some activists have suggested that the languages of instruction should be in the dialect of students’ cultures. Others argue that Standard English should be the only acceptable language within the classroom. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each approach? Do you think teachers should at least be familiar with the dialects used by students in the classroom? Why or why not? How do you plan to respond to different dialects in your classroom?

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Discussion Prompt: Accents and Dialects

Review the language and dialects case study, and then respond to the following questions.  How does teacher evaluation based on language and pronunciation make you feel?  Is this something that should be evaluated in teachers?  How would you handle this situation?

External Readings & Resources

Pedagogy of the Oppressed – Chapter 2

While not unique to language and immigration issues, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, does speak to the role of education in offering freedom to those whose lack of education is a type of oppression. In this specific excerpt, Friere contrasts the banking-concept of education with problem-posing education as means of empowering all students in more effective learning environments.

Freire, P. (2000). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York : Continuum, c2000.

‘What Should Teachers Do?’

Lisa Delpit asks the question, ‘What should teachers do?’ in the context of students speaking Ebonics in the classroom. She makes the case that there is a role for Ebonics and legitimizing the dialect, while simultaneously providing strategies for teachers working with students who speak in Ebonics but who need to learn standard English for testing and assessment requirements.

Vargas, J. (2011, June 22). My life as an undocumented immigrant. The New York Times.

Jose Vargas gives an honest account of his life story in this biographical piece about his undocumented entry into the United States as a child and subsequent challenges to remain and make a home in the face of discrimination and restrictive policies in the United States today.