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Educating immigrant students sample essay

A Study Critic of “Made in America: Immigrant students in our pubic schools” The dispute over sending immigrant students into public schools in the United States has continued to separate Americans. Its proponents advance the educational rights of qualified foreign students who have left their respective countries and faced being “Americanized” just to be able to learn American civilization as their second culture.

Those opposing the system, however, argue that the white Americans should still be the priority since immigrant students are only second rate compared to them despite the immigrants’ earnest efforts to fit into the American society. It was also stressed that in order to be a part of the real American community, the immigrant students must set aside their native cultures and be ready to be customized as a true-blooded American. In so doing, however, it would be inevitable to expose problems or issues related to educating immigrant students.

These include their differences with the Native Americans and hardships in allowing themselves to be made as American citizens. In addition, educating immigrant students in the U. S. present bigger issues such as racial discrimination, cross-cultural conflict and unfair learning system which are detrimental to the overall personality of an immigrant student. The problems mentioned above are what the book, “Made in America: Immigrant students in our pubic schools” by Laurie Olsen, has accurately presented.

A qualitative study book that looks into the system of educating immigrant students in American public schools, it is a concrete proof that such problems and conflicts indeed exist. It is good to note, however, that the system is still salvageable. All it needs is honest to goodness solid training of teachers, additional support programs for the immigrant students and ultimately, an environment that allows them to keep to their native cultures while at the same time keeping at par with their white American classmates (Olsen, 1997). An Overview of the Study.

The 1997 study book by Olsen is a survey on the lives of the immigrant students who are being educated and Americanized in an urban high school institution. It likewise presents the relationships of the immigrants with their teachers who are responsible for the immigrants’ learning program and Native American classmates who pose a challenge into their goal to adapt the American culture. The study was presented under a circumstance that the students with varying cultures are studying in a California high school wherein the promise and challenge of diversity are significantly increasing in a multinational society.

The book shows that, because of their poor English speaking skills, the immigrant students are deprived of chances to seriously study and interact with their counterparts. Moreover, the immigrant students are classified or categorized according to their varying complexions and social classes which have definitely affected their chances in their future lives (Olsen, 1997). Meanwhile, majority of the teachers promote combination of multicultural students as well as the practice of justice and equal chances by having the students’ liberty to join in school.

However, the teachers do not realize that exclusion and classification among students actually exist and is being practiced by the native white Americans against the immigrant students who originated from other races such as the Asians, Europeans and even the black Americans. In effect, the study presented in the book revealed the continuity of an unbalanced American community (Olsen, 1997). However, it likewise showed the potentialities of having dragging but specified changes.

By studying the life stories of immigrant students and their interactions with their teachers and classmates, one can learn the modern interpretation or way of Americanizing multicultural students. It also reveals a complicated procedure that in the end necessitates them to surrender their respective culture as well as national recognitions and native dialects just to fit into a theoretical and cultural domain. Such a world ironically refuses the total involvement of immigrant students in the real American culture.

The author depicts immigrant students as ones being made or created in America only to realize that to be Americanized is to endure being placed on the American racial map (Olsen, 1997) Methodology of the Study In the study book, Olsen (1997) carried out her research by centering on Madison High, the first American public high school wherein more than 20 percent of the students’ population is composed of natives of other countries. This is in addition to a significant number of students who are not fluent in English language or are part of households in which English is totally not used.

The exploration was done so that the public outside the school can look into what it feels like studying and teaching in a school which is characterized by escalating complicated or multicultural relations (Olsen, 1997). Utilizing regular ethnographic procedures, Olsen (1997) recorded her functions as narrator, anthropologist, and proponent in three official journals. The author interviewed not only the main subjects (immigrant students) but their parents, teachers, and officials of the school as well.

In this manner, Olsen was able to investigate several issues concerning the diversities and complexities of multilingual learning as well as having a population of multinational students. She was also able to discover other equally related issues such as racial discrimination, social conflicts, and unfair education practices accorded to the different sets of students who are the immigrant students and native white Americans (Olsen, 1997). In particular, Olsen (1997) stayed or allotted two and a half years in the said public high school where she actually attended classes and made the interviews.

Madison High was chosen as the venue of the study because it has witnessed some sociological changes for the last 20 years such as an upsurge of Latino enrollees and a rise in the number of students whose second language is English or what is called the ESL population. During the period of study, Olsen noted that the school population is composed of 33 percent white Americans, 26 percent Spanish-American or the Latinos, 14 percent black Americans and the 26 percent is a combination of immigrants coming from the Pacific Islands, Philippines, Japan, and China.

The author also took into consideration that various native languages aside from English are spoken by around one half of the population (Olsen, 1997). Relative to the above composition, Olsen (1997) further noted the apparent positioning or mapping of students according to their races. Upon arrival in Madison High, new immigrant students are correctly placed or positioned to their respective racial structures.

Based from these racial maps, Olsen (1999) learned the various indicators or factors that led foreign students to study in Madison High and their corresponding implications. The study then proceeded by asking the students the reasons why they chose to study in the U. S. and what prompted them to study the English language and eventually adapt the American culture or be Americanized. Thereafter, the research also unveiled that the white Americans actually perceive that the system rob them of opportunities which they believe are for them.

They blatantly expressed that immigrant students take away their chances of having a good quality of education and eventually getting a good job. In the end, Olsen (1999) summarized her study by recognizing that new immigrant students undergo the Americanization process based on theoretical classifications, the need to speak fluent English against all odds, requirement to surrender their local dialect so that one can be involved in Madison High’s academic and cultural life, and repetitive force to have a place in the American racial map (Olsen, 1997).

Analysis of the Study Olsen’s study showed immigrant students’ tales which are abundant with sociological items and which have enabled the readers the chance to look into the challenges of studying in an escalating diverse society. The research has proven to be a very rich material for Olsen to come up with her study book. This is because it was done taking into consideration the perspective of the concerned immigrant students as well as their relationship with their teachers and classmates.

The study book has effectively analyzed the difficulties of the immigrant students and the efforts of the teachers to accommodate the students which turned out to be not enough. The study can also be credited with its flexibility by also considering the roles performed by the teachers and school officials in offering a fair treatment and comprehensive curriculum for the immigrant students.

Although the overall result of the study did not achieve much, its effort to open to the public the real educational condition of immigrant students is enough for Olsen and her research to earn recognition. Conclusion The issues concerning bilingual education that accommodated multicultural set-up and dialect diversity as well as the advent of immigrant students into American education system have encouraged separation among students which can be a threat to the learning structure.

The study of Olsen is inclined towards a future wherein American immigration and cross cultural policies seem to fight it out with the educational system and institutions catering to immigrant students. Although the research did not totally achieve its ultimate goal, the fact that it enabled the awakening of the public with the existing educational condition is a turning point in which the government can take its clue to take action.

Despite the grim reality wherein new immigrant students who are not fluent in English are placed in racial map and subjected to unjust learning practices, there are still ways to overcome the situation. It is in this manner that the study book of Olsen has proven to be of value because it alerts the public to the demands and instead invigorate the readers of the potential of having a fairer and more flexible American public education system.

Reference Olsen, L. (1997). Made in America: Immigrant students in our pubic schools. New York: The New Press.

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