Richard Rodriguez A Perspective on Bilingualism By Stacey A. Murray & HannahBergeman
Background Author• Born on July 31, 1944• Migrated to San Francisco, California and raised in Sacramento, California• Mexican-American• Attended Catholic school at age 6 and graduated from Sacramentos Christian Brothers High School• Earned a B.A. from Stanford University and M.A. from Columbia University• He was a Ph.D. candidate in English Renaissance literature at the University of California, Berkeley• Attended the Warburg Institute in London as a Fulbright fellow
Rodriguez Written Works• Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez (1981)• A collection of autobiographical essays• Mexico’s Children (1990)• Days of Obligation: An Argument With My Mexican Father (1992)• Nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in non-fiction• Brown: The Last Discovery of America(2002)• Rodriguezs works have also been published in Harpers Magazine, Mother Jones, and Time Magazine.
History of Bilingual Education in AmericaPlease click on the link below and watch this video about the history of Bilingual Education in AmericaQuestions:1. Is the initial goal of bilingual education identical or different from its goal in schools today? How?2. Does bilingual education serve a specific purpose in educating first-generation American students or can schools do without it?
Vocabulary Terms from Rodriguez1. Public Speech- a shared language, customs, and mannerisms used in public individuals in a specific country or region2. Private Speech- an intimate, shared language, customs, and mannerisms used by members of the same household to communicate3. Public Identity- a classification of one self that is owned, showcased, and recognized by oneself and others4. Private Identity- a classification of oneself that is owned, showcased, and recognized solely by oneself and family members only within their household5. Americanization- the process adopting American English language, customs, and rituals, while ultimately identifying oneself as an American.
Rodriguez on Bilingual Education1. Public and Private Identity are separate things, and school must focus on teaching public identity2. Translation: the difficulty is helping a student understand not just what the words mean, but also how they are being said3. Be aware that students may be facing a disassociation with their family language, causing the learning of English to ostracize them from their families
Implications of Rodriguez Work• Rodriguez considers a native language private speech• Educators should not impose speaking English within students households• Americanization has both cultural gains and losses for students and their families• Americanization can create a communication barrier between individuals who share a Native language and culture
Criticism of Rodriguez Many other Hispanics have responded that they do not agree with Rodriguezs claims about what they need from education. Norma Mota-Altman, a teacher, writes: Con Respecto, I am Not Richard Rodriguez Question: How do we know, as teachers, how each student needs to be approached to be successful?
Criticism of RodriguezNorma Mota-Altman and others argue that learning one language gives you tools to understand concepts in another language
What can a teacher do?"The simple fact that we are unlike each other is a terrifying notion. Where diversity is shared - where I share with you my difference - that can be valuable." - Rodriguez(Click here for the remainder of the interview)Rodriguez Urges:1. Teach diversity, even when not in curriculum2. Understand your role in teaching "public identity"3. Give students enough tools to be successful in the new language, so they are not caught in "homelessness" with no language at all
How is language linked to culture?"All my other classmates, including myself, although fluent in more than [one] language, eventually chose one dominant language. I put chose in quotation, because the choice is more of an indirect one. It depends on what language you choose to explore art, what language you use to communicate, what language you use to satisfy your curiosity..." - Matteo Catanzano(This quote comes from a TED Conversation surrounding the importance of teaching students to be bilingual. Click here for the remainder of the conversation)Questions:1. How does teaching language change, when the goal is for students to understand far more than simply words?2. What role do teachers have in determining what language students use for things like curiosity? Do we need that to be English?
Reflection Questions1. What right do teachers have in determining the cultural and linguistic foundations of a child? Is it enough to work toward teaching them a public identity?2. How should teachers work with families to increase student success in learning English? Were Rodriguezs teachers and parents right to force him to speak only English?3. Does learning English force students to become more Americanized?
ReferencesDestinationcb. (2009, May 22). A history of bilingual education. July 18, 2012 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tIppleeIjkCatanzano, M. (2011, December 03). Re: Does the future of education lie in bilingualism? Is it even possible? [Online forum comment.] Retrieved from TED Conversations: http://www.ted.com/conversations/7509/does_the_future_of_education_l.htmlIs bilingualism a problem? (n.d.). Retrieved July 20, 2012, from Language Enhancing the Acheivement of Pasifika: http://leap.tki.org.nz/Is-bilingualism-a-problemMota-Altman, N. (2003). Con Respeto, I am Not Richard Rodriguez. The Voice , 8 (5).Rodriguez, R. (1997, August). A View From the Melting Pot: An Interview with Richard Rodriguez. (S. London, Interviewer). http://www.scottlondon.com/interviews/ rodriguez.html.Rodriguez, R. (1982). Hunger of Memory. New York: Bantam Books.