Language and identity(II)Family languagepractices, displacement, language and identity ofimmigrant kids
OverviewYour voicesGuest Speaker: Dr. Hyun- Sook Kang(introduced by Melinda)A step from heaven: Class discussionA Step from heaven: Acting out the characters!Incorporating Immigrant stories in to classrooms
Melissa saysI enjoyed reading this book (A Step from Heaven) so much, not onlydoes it help me realize the problems of a Korean immigrant living inthe U.S, but also lets me reflect on the fact that I have to realize mykids can encounter several struggles outside of my classroom, suchas I would not know how their families treat them (only if I woulddecide to intrude), the language problems they stumble upon withAmericans when they need to get important documents to follow U.S.laws, such as speaking with the immigration services, the need for abetter living condition, if they are eating healthy meals outside ofschool, or even the cultural shocks they encounter. Every kid bringstheir own culture and experiences to the classroom, as a languageteacher, I need to be considerate to every aspect of every child’s life.This book is so inspirational because it helps me realize the problemsELL students can encounter outside of the classroom.I like how the author embraces the Korean language in the book, bymentioning words such as: Halbugi, Halmoni, Apa and Uhmma, aswell as using Korean and kid language such as when the teachersays “Tees es Yung”, to picture how the child interprets the Englishlanguage in her own words. I also like how the author writes the bookfrom when the family is in Korea until she reaches college. It willprobably use this book as a source someday.
Jasmine says…Though I do find it interesting that studies have found thatchildren incorporated more English into their speakinglanguage regardless of the parent efforts of speaking the"home language". This is a very similar situation back in myhome between English and Mandarin-Chinese. My siblingsand I would utilize code-switching between these twolanguages, using English as our L1, and would produce thehybrid language of "Chinglish". This combination of twolanguages would be spoken to our parents, but sadlywould sometimes be ineffective in communication with mymother. Even though my mother knows how to speakEnglish and can communication enough especially at herpart time job, she is just at the point where she is lessinsecure about her English. She would rather speak inMandarin-Chinese to us and tells us to do the same, to useless English while talking to her because "we need topractice".
Laura Muro saysReading the article and seeing the extremity parentsare doing to teach their children their native languageit’s very intriguing. My question is how and what aretheir children feeling or thinking when they are goingthrough this and trying to assimilate in two differentcultures? The article also discussed about theparents wanting to implement in their children whothey are and where they are coming from byenforcing to learn their native language.However, reflecting on their own teaching of their ownlanguage was it difficult for the parents to try to createthis idea of bilingualism in their home, and what werethey struggles trying to do this? Overall, I believe thatit is very important for students to try to keep andmaintain their native language because it identifiestheir identity, in which it is very important, but just theextremities parents have to go through its soshocking.
Brian saysIf the Parks had not cloistered themselves away fromtheir Korean friends, or if they had started toparticipate in the Korean church community whenthey first entered the US then perhaps Apa would nothave felt such intense pressure to support everythingon his own. Also, if Young Ju’s parents had embracedother American’s like the Doyle family, perhaps theywould have discovered ways to navigate Americanculture more easily. But I do not think the fault liescompletely with the Park parents, for if Young Juwould have not felt so ashamed of her family’sdifference from American culture perhaps she couldhave helped her parents make moreconnections, again for example the Doyle family.
Amy saysWhen I was reading the article, I saw many connections withthe book, such as the importance to the parents that thechildren are bilingual, yet only speak Korean in the home. Weread about the reasoning behind this as well as saw someexamples in the book: some make the home like a Koreanisland in order to preserve tradition and see it as an identitymarker, some moms are homemakers and dont have theability to learn as fast and see language as a barrier, andsome see the possibility of returning one day because offamily or economical purposes. No matte what the reasoningis, we saw similar intervention strategies, such as immediatefeedback (either linguistically or culturally), provision ofdefinitions, and language mixing. Over all, the article that weread helped me to see the book I liked so much from theeducational perspective. I loved being able to see both sidesof it. I am hoping that the Dr. Kang will be able to give ussome pointers at how to help parents become less of ahinderance and more of an advocate for bilingualism andbeing culturally appreciative, accepting, and open.
Melinda says…Dr. Kang’s study fits with our reading of this text in that theparticipants are Korean-American parents attempting tomaintain the Korean language as a heritage language fortheir American-born children. The reasons behind this (orthe motivation) include maintaining a sense of Koreanheritage (traditions), but Dr. Kang mentions also thateconomics definitely play a part. If the family determinesthat it is economically advantageous to return to Korea (orif there is an extended family need for them to return), thenit is important that the children are fluent in the heritagelanguage. Thus, Dr. Kang examines the “family languagepolicy” of these families (she defines family language policyas “explicit and implicit planning in relation to acquisition oflanguage skills in home settings, in contrast to thoseespoused by the state or other organizations,”Kang, 2012). Dr. Kang’s study examined how Korean-American families “employ language interventionstrategies” to facilitate their children’s bilingual skills.
Overview of post-structural approaches to “identity”This view rejects the conception of identity as static and recognizes thecentrality of “interaction”, “power dynamics”, and “social activities”.According to changing social circumstances, identities intersect orcontrast with each other.Languages are not only markers of identity, but also sites ofresistance, empowerment, solidarity, or discrimination.Our identities are reflexively organized information about possible waysof life (how to act and how to be). What a person is understood to bevaries across cultures.One’s identity is not set and stone; it is not only in the behavior orpeople’s reactions, but it’s in the narrative you tell about yourself. Itintegrates events which occur in your world—It’s an ongoing story about“self”.
A Step from Heaven (1-60) What’s the significance of Mi Gook for Young Ju? (see pages 9-16) Why do you thin Uhmma attempts to “Americanize Young Ju? What does “curling her hair” symbolize? Examine Young Ju’s initial experiences in school.(30- 34) What are the indications of family’s financial situation? How is Young Ju reacting to family violence? Discuss the universality of the birth of a baby and analyze Young Ju’s feelings when Apa speaks of his baby son’s future.
A Step from Heaven (50- 90)Analyze the children’s relationship with their father.Analyze the episode of Apa’s violence toward Joon (66-71).Examine Joon and Young Ju’s experiences with Harry, thebird. What do you think Harry symbolizes?Analyze Apa’s reaction when they go to the Department ofImmigration and Naturalization Services. What’s theconsequence of the communication breakdown? How is itfixed? What are the social repercussions of Young Ju’sstepping up? What’s the significance and role of “PianoFingers” in this episode?Analyze Young Ju’s statement “ In that moment, when thepapers pass from his hands to mine, our eyes meet and Iknow. His will always be a face washed and dressed bysun” (p. 89)
A Step from Heaven (90- 125)Examine the effects of Halmoni’s death on the family (93-96)Discuss the significance of Apa’s violence to Uhmma.Analyze the symbolism of the picture frame (97-99).Discuss why Uhmma takes children to church. What arethe effects of community resources such aschurches, Sunday schools on immigrant children?Why were Uhmma and Apa resisted Young Ju’s intersest inAmanda’s beach party? What are they afraid of? (110-112)Examine Apa’s deterioration and the impact of it on thefamily.Discuss the awards’ assembly and its significance. Whatare Uhmma’s and Apa’s reactions?
A Step from Heaven (125- end)Analyze the effects of Apa’s escalatingalcoholism and violence on his family. (125-136)Examine the cause and effect of Apa’s arrest andthe ensuing events (142-145)Discuss the changes in the family after Apareturns to Korea (145-148)Examine the significance of the title of theepilogue, “Hands”.
For all groupsWhat are some of the implications of yourreadings this week?How can we make students as researchers oflanguage, culture and identity in their owncommunities? What are the benefits of this?What are some of the challenges you foresee?
Acting out a step from heaven Put yourself in one of the character’s shoes. In fact, be that character, and write his/her stream of consciousness from that character’s standpoint:Characters to act out: YoungJu, Joon, Apa, Uhmma, Amanda, Young Joo’s teacherIssues:1) Moving to Mi Gook. Becoming too American. Cultural Assimilation.2) Language practices at home and in the community (The use of English and Korean). Language and Culture maintenance.3) What the future will hold for him/her?
New Immigrants Share Their StoriesSee the documentary and discuss some of thebenefits of using life stories (life writing/speaking) ofELLs in the classroom. How would you connect thisdocumentary to class readings? http://www.youtube.com/watch v=33OINi3xVbc&feature=related