125. I am a non-traditional Spanish teacher at a High School. We do not have any Hispanic children in our school. I don't know if you will be able to answer this question, but when it comes to culture my biggest problem is I can't get my American students to understand why Hispanic children are coming over and why we are learning their language! How can I help these students understand that we are learning their language (Spanish) for ourselves as well as for them?

Dear Spanish teacher: You have asked an extraordinary question. Your honesty --and frustration-- reveal you are a very concerned person, an ideal teacher, and an ideal language teacher.

You may wish to help your students through economics: Everything they eat, everything they wear, everything they buy at Wal-Mart, for example, probably comes from some where else.  Students need to understand that they depend on everyone else in the world to survive in Arkansas. You may wish to also ask your students WHAT is produced in Arkansas that keeps them alive during the winter, for example. Where does the food they eat all winter long come from? How about electronic equipment for entertainment -- where does it come from? 

Ask your students to compile a list of everything they own, they have, they eat, they wear, etc., indicating where it comes from. And if it is made in the USA, maybe some research may be in order to find out where the raw materials come from. For example, they may be wearing a shirt "manufactured" in the USA. But where did the material/the cloth to make the shirt come from?

A chapter from any economics textbook may provide the figures showing that we IMPORT a lot more than we EXPORT -- that is why we have the largest trade deficit in our history.  

For example: Did you --or your students-- know that every single "M&M" candy they eat is totally produced and manufactured in Brazil? Read the information on any M&M little bag and you will see it does NOT say "USA." They are eating candies made elsewhere!!!!! (I know because the husband of one of the teachers I trained in Duplin County, NC, travels constantly to the factory in Brazil to supervise production!!!!) You may wish to show your students who are some of our BIGGEST trading partners --Mexico and Canada.

Maybe after they understand their dependence on others, you may wish to talk about population growth in this country. Talk about what would happen if this country would not "grow."  Where would their future jobs come from? Show how the immigrant population is needed so their own families can have jobs. You may wish to team with the Social Studies teacher to do this project together.

Maybe you can show your students that everyone in this country, except the Native Americans, came from somewhere else. Maybe you should discuss if Native Americans should have prevented all of us from coming here. Why did we all come? And why were the Native Americans pushed into reservations? Are "old" reasons for coming here different from the "new" reasons the new wave of immigrants have? Seek the assistance of the English teacher so students can read some literature about immigrants, both voluntary and "forced" immigrants.

Finally, you may wish to invite community members who have traveled within and outside the USA.  Why should we travel? How do we enrich our lives by traveling? What do we learn when we travel? Above all, invite your local banker, your local businessmen and businesswomen who wish to expand their businesses to foreign markets. Invite the top executives at TYSON and WAL-MART so they can explain why they have business with all corners of the world.

Then, you may wish to team with the music teacher and try to teach your students:
(1) that many of the songs/the music, they know and enjoy have been written by "foreign" composers, both classical and popular songs and music; and
(2) that dances, gestures, body language are all part of who we are and where we come from. The more we know the better we will succeed.



For more in-depth information, classroom demonstrations, and "coaching" of new and/or experienced teachers, Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK offers:

1. Cognitive - Academic Language and Vocabulary Development
2. Cross Cultural Diversity - Multicultural Strategies
3. Effective Instruction for English Learners (L.E.P. students) Parts 1, 2, 3, 4
4. Promoting Academic Success in Language Minority Students
5. Cognitive - Academic Language and Vocabulary Development
6. Oral Language / Literacy Skills / Higher Order Thinking Skills
7. 50/50 Dual Language Programs: design, planning and implementation
8. The Structure of English / The Structure of Spanish
9. Transition: Introduction to English Reading

Web Site Programs for Teachers: Numbers 1, 5, 7, 8, and 9.
Web Site Programs for
Paraprofessionals: Number 3.
Web Site Programs for
New Teachers:
Enhanced Cultural Sensitivity - The Challenge of Students Diversity
Identifying / Responding to Students' Language Needs
Phonemic Awareness: Teaching English phonics to L.E.P. students
Relationship Between Reading, Writing and Spelling
Improving Reading Performance -- Building Oral Language Skills)

Write and e-mail any additional questions you may have, and Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK will establish with you, your school or district a Technical Assistance Service Contract. Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK will answer all your questions promptly and to your satisfaction.


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