Thursday, April 1, 2010


I agree with Rodriguez's argument, bilingualism is important. Schools should not push students to get rid of their culture. Though Rodriguez and his siblings did better in school when they focused strictly on English, their relationships with their parents suffered.

Rodriguez did not really know his father. On page 37, he discussed a moment when he realized his father was not shy, "But my father was not shy, I realized, when I'd watch him speaking Spanish with relatives. Using Spanish, he was quickly effusive. Especially when talking with other men, his voice would spark, flicker, flare alive with sounds. In Spanish, he expressed ideas and feelings he rarely revealed in English."

Learning English is very important, but it should not replace your culture or traditions. Students should be proud of their heritage.

I remember a couple weeks ago I had a student who stayed after school to make-up a test. She called her Mom for a ride home and covered her mouth as she spoke to her in Spanish. When she got off the phone, she laughed and apologized for her Mom only understanding Spanish. I asked her why she was sorry and explained that it is not to apologize for. I went on to explain she should be proud of her culture and proud that she is bilingual.

Both private and public individuality are important.


  1. Kristin,
    I have had the same experiences when students staying after school. They are either really embarassed or make fun of their culture. One student complained about her mother, "She is always so loud and says the same things!" Spainsh women are always portrayed as being loud and I think she was trying to make excuses for her mother. No one even commented on her mother but she was very defensive from the beginning.

  2. It is amazing how students will feel embarrassed about their parents ESL skills. I hear comments from students regarding their parents attendance, or lack there of, at conferences. Students will be embarrassed an apologize for them, just like your student did. As teachers it is so important that we keep correcting that negative stigma in order to incorporate the amazing diversity we have access to, instead of oppressing it.