Collier argues that when teaching multilingual children, everything comes down to one concept, "the key is the true appreciation of the different linguistic and cultural values that students bring into the classroom." (223) She stresses the need for teachers to be accepting of the different elements students bring with them to the classroom rather than tossing them aside and teaching the rules of the dominant language. If we as educators strictly focus on the dominant language and rules, we will lose the multilingual students' attention and desire to be in the classroom. Therefore we must provide support, encouragement, and various tools of writing and speech in order for the students to develop and become a valuable member of the classroom. Not only will these strategies help the ESL students but they will ultimately benefit the other students as they we work to find ways to integrate elements of various cultures in the classroom.
Richard Rodriguez's piece echoes Collier's ideas from a more personal view point. He describes his upbringing and how he was stripped of his natural language and forced to conform to the rules and guidelines of the dominant culture. He felt saddened and longed for his youth when asked for directions by a Mexican farmworker and on other occasions when he heard the Spanish nuns and family speaking. Rodriguez's most powerful line during his excerpt for me was on page 35 where he writes, "I also needed my teachers to keep my attention from straying in class by calling out, 'Rich-heard' - their English voices slowly prying loose my ties to my other name, its three notes, 'Ri-car-do'." His identity, his culture, and his individuality was taken from him by the dominant culture. He received a full year of "special attention" and his family life was intruded upon. The fact that his perception of his father was altered because of language barriers is heart-breaking. He only saw his father come alive in his speech when he was in his natural language. The role reversals Rodriguez's family members underwent is difficult to swallow and poses the infamous question of "what can we do as educators to further support our students and their families?" By the end of his excerpt his natural language and the feeling of being comfortable at home or in public with his family had slipped through his fingers. He became embarrassed by the broken English or the improper use of words by his parents. His cultural was taken away and exchanged for the dominant ideology.