The Inner World of the Immigrant Child

The Inner World of the Immigrant Child

The Inner World of the Immigrant Child

The Inner World of the Immigrant Child

Synopsis

This powerful book tells the story of one teacher's odyssey to understand the inner world of immigrant children, and to create a learning environment that is responsive to these students' feelings and their needs. Featuring the voices and artwork of many immigrant children, this text portrays the immigrant experience of uprooting, culture shock, and adjustment to a new world, and then describes cultural, academic, and psychological interventions that facilitate learning as immigrant students make the transition to a new language and culture. Particularly relevant for courses dealing with multicultural and bilingual education, foundations of education, and literacy curriculum and instruction, this text is essential reading for allteachers who will -- or currently do -- work in today's school environment.

Excerpt

what goes on in the inner world of the immigrant child? Would it help the child if the teacher knew? Would the teacher's approach and methodologies be different? Or would the teacher use the same ones, but with a different purpose?

When immigrant children leave the country that was their home -- a familiar language, culture, community, and social system -- they experience a variety of emotional and cognitive adjustments to the reality of life in a new country. How dry and clinical that sentence sounds! It doesn't even begin to convey the paralyzing fear in a little boy from Afghanistan that he will never fully understand English, that he will always be on the outside, looking in. It doesn't explain why an achievement-oriented girl from Vietnam will intentionally fail tests that might advance her in the educational system. And it certainly doesn't tell all you need to know about the intense loneliness of a little girl from South America who, caught between two cultures and moved from class to class, school to school, cannot communicate easily in any language. As a teacher of immigrant children myself, I have worked with children like these for many years.

The Inner World of the Immigrant Child is about experience. It is not about the larger economic, social, and historical circumstances of immigration -- although, of course, these are important and cannot be ignored. It is not about empirical "scientific" research on child development, learning theories, and teaching methods. It is, in essence, an account of qualitative research that reveals what goes on in the hearts and minds of immigrant children.

This text shares one teacher's world -- my own. It is written in narrative form so the reader can understand not only the development of the immigrant child but also the development of a teacher . . .

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