Language Students

While I’m on the subject of education, I thought I’d pass on a little anecdote. In one of my wife’s California classrooms her pupils had six different primary or only languages: English, Spanish, Arabic, Farsi, Creole French, and Chinese (I don’t know which “dialect”). Spanish was in multiple dialects, too, IIRC. I always think of this when I read about France or Germany’s immigration problems.

2 comments… add one
  • stuhlmann Link

    I’d be curious if schools in New York, Chicago, and even in California had similar situations 100 years ago when immigrants from Italy, Poland, Yugoslavia, Russia, Japan, China, and elsewhere were pouring into the country. The children and grandchildren of these immigrants went on to become fine, English speaking Americans. Why would we expect things to be different with children of the new immigrants?

    Regarding European immigration problems, I think these are often overblown by the media. Yes there are some difficulties, but it takes time for the melting pot to break down and blend in new ingredients.

  • They didn’t. But the objectives and methods of a century ago were enormously different, too. Have you ever read John Dewey? The modern public education system was established with the explicit objective of converting unruly immigrant children into “fine, English speaking Americans”, at least in part by separating them from their families. The objective has eroded in a century.

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