Wednesday, October 12, 2011
As most people know, America has become an extremely diverse country over the past century. More schools are becoming diverse with children from all over the world. The question is, are schools adapting there ways to accommodate ESL students, and others so they can succeed? According to our textbook, 'Hispanic, Native American, and African American students score consistently lower on standardized tests than do their Asian and white classmates.' 'In Houston, Oakland, Cleveland, and New York, with large populations of poor and students of color, between 60 and 70 percent of the students do not graduate high school.' This problem can become worse as time goes on if schools do not start making their tests and curriculum to fit these students. There are several theories that explain why some students do good in school, and why others struggle. The deficit theory discusses how students struggle due to social or linguistic problems. Not all students speak English as there first language, so this puts them at a disadvantage for reading and writing. The expectation theory states that students do poorly because there teachers do not expect much from certain racial and ethnic groups. The teacher will teach these students differently thinking they are doing the right thing, but in reality they are making it worse. If the student does poorly on the test, the teacher believes it's because they are from a certain racial or ethnic group. The last theory is called the cultural difference theory which tries to explain how academic problems can be fixed it we study the cultural gap between the students home life, and their life at school. If I had to choose a theory based on which decreases the students chances to succeed, it would be the deficit theory. While doing my 256 field experience at Brewster High School in Putnam County, I got the chance to observe a former ESL student. Both of her parents were from separate, Spanish speaking countries, and raised their children to speak Spanish because that was the only language they knew at the time. She went on to tell me how it was hard growing up trying to learn a new language, and at the same time trying to learn what the class was learning. As a teacher, you have to be aware of the student's in your class, and adjust or modify the lesson so these students can succeed as well.