Monday, October 22, 2012

The danger of the single story Sociocultural Aspects of Schooling for ELs

One of the social or cultural issue that English language learner faces is the stereotype which Nigerian writer Chimamanda Adichie, calls The Danger of a  Single Story. Too often in our rush to incorporate multicultural text or social facts about a culture we find out self-spreading stereotypes about people and their habits. We introduce stories about other cultures as true statements about everyone one in that culture. For example how many Mexican American stories are there about Mexicans who love to farm or grow fruits, or the Native American who seem connected to the land in a magical way. While these stories have relevancy and cultural perspectives that are important in the right framework. They are ultimately the story of one person, the writer. It is culturally irrespirable to present these stories as truths about a whole culture or a people. It makes students from these cultures into stereotypes and makes them harder to fit in or to be seen as more than just “the other culture". So I plan to always present these texts as part of the writer’s truths. To tell students, that the customs and heritage which are represented in literature are not indicative of all people of that culture but of the writer and his family. In this way one can help eliminate preconceived notions about a students cultural experience and place them in a box as if we understand them.

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