Who Are the Somali Bantu and How Can We Help Them Feel Successful? ENL Linguistics by Linda DeJong
What experiences have you had inworking with Somali Bantu families whospeak the MaayMaay (MaiMai) language?
The Somali Bantu in Africa The Somali Bantu of Africa is one of the refugee groups most represented Somali Bantu have had to face many hardships while in Africa: slavery, being forced from their homes, enduring life in refugee camps
While in refugee camps, the Somali Bantu faced: Nighttime attacks by bandits Women were raped while gathering wood Stealing of food supplies Being forced into military fighting Watching family members be executed
What about the Somali Bantu children? Forced to fight in the military at young ages Forced to do physical labor Unable to receive education Watch family members die
If the children were fortunate enough to attend school in Somalia, a typicalschool would look like: (double click box to view video) 170 students taught by four teachers School ending by 10:30 a.m. so that children could earn money for their families by doing physical labor or shining shoes Learning Somali and Arabic languages Outdoor or indoor classrooms could be made of mud and twigs Today, approximately 11% of elementary age children can attend formal education-one of the lowest rates in the world
What type of refugees are the Somali Bantu? The Somali Bantu could be either: Anticipatory Refugees-fled their country when they could see problems rising-May have had an opportunity to learn some language of the country theywere fleeing to Acute Refugees-Fled immediately with nothing-no preparation of language-lacked education, job skills, and finances
Somali Bantu in South Dakota The number of Somali Bantu in SD make us 3rd ranked in the nation per capita During the years 2000-2004, 173 Somali Bantu came to SD with the majority resettling in Sioux Falls More than 600 live in SD #1 Minnesota: 116.798 per 100,000 people #2 Vermont: 23.433 per 100,000 people #3 South Dakota: 22.296 per 100,000 people # 4 Utah: 20.813 per 100,000 people
Language of the Somali Bantu Africa contains more languages than any other continent over 2000 languages spoken by 480 people Africa is a land of Lingua Franca: a communication system for people who speak different 1st languages The Somalian mother tongue could be 5000 years old Exact number of speakers in unknown: estimated 7.78 million speakers in Somalia, 12.56 million speakers globally Several Somali dialects with AF Maay (Mai Mai) and Af Maxaa most common AF Maay of Mai Mai is the dialect most spoken by refugees in Sioux Falls
AF Maay or MaiMai dialect (pronounced my my) alef ( ba ( ta ( ja ( xa ( kha ( deel ( ra ( sa ( shiin( dha ( or cayn ( ga ( fa ( qaaf ( kaaf ( laan ( miim ( nun ( waw ( ha ( ya ( a, e, i, o, u. Based on Cushitic Uses Latin alphabet, containing 24 consonants and 5 vowels, with 15 of the consonants pronounced almost as in English: b, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, sh, t, w, y Contains 3 consonant digraphs: DH, KH, SH Ieh-common ending in nouns and verbs Long vowels are made by doubling them: aa, ee, etc.
Can you match the days of theweek in MaiMai to English(Use pen with Smartboard)MaiMai English Ehed Sunday Sabtih Monday Telaadih Tuesday Isniin Wednesday Kamiis Thursday Arbaa Friday Jumaa Saturday
How did you do? Ehed=Sunday Isniing=Monday Telaadih=Tuesday Arbaa=Wednesday Kamiis=Thursday Jumaa=Friday Sabtih=Saturday
Somali Lanuguages: Use euphemisms, indirect words and phrases (meanings different than literal meanings) Speak heavily in proverbs and poems Use SVO (subjectverbobject) and SOV (subjectobjectverb) forms of sentences Use complex verb forms-showing morphology with suffixes Use prefixes to show negation
Stages of learning English as a newlanguage for the Somali Bantu Stage 1: First 3-6 months-”withdrawl stage”-children may fear being abandoned-feelings on insecurity Stage 2: Next 6-9 months-”despondency stage”-feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem, dejection-may describe self as “stupid”-may be aggressive at school Stage 3: between 12-16 months-”adaptation phase”-view themselves comfortable with new language-may refuse to speak native language to fit in Stage 4: next 2-3 years-”integrating language phase-refugee students may move forward /backward in these stages asthey aquire new language
Some things to keep in mind asrefugees struggle to acculturate Trauma can cause behavioral issues in students-aggression Living space may be overcrowded in homes-high noise levels-unable to do school work with organization Come to school already behind peers-never had experience with writing or reading Somalis have the lowest performance when compared to other ethnic groups “Khat” or “qat” may have been used in Somalia by older students or parents to deal with life’s problems. Khat is a shrub in Somalia whose leaves are chewed and spit the same as tobacco. The chemical cathinone is released and is like that of amphetamine. Khat can cause hallucinations and its use is beginning to surface in America
Other problems refugees may face -Lack of parental support due to language barrier -Socially deprived due to racism or stereotyping -Feeling invisible, not having their own identity -Young refugee children may be responsible for making financial decisions, interpret for parents -Children may have learned to manipulate parents with controlling language -Males may lack respect for female authority figures -Males may be involved in gang activity due to feeling inferior to females as females become career oriented -Females may feel inferior to their peers due to circumcision that was preformed before coming to America (female circumcision is done between ages 5-10 as a way to show purity and right of passage -Females may have difficulty adjusting to the rules of society with clothing-wear “hijab” to cover all of their bodies but face hands and feet. Fashions in America bare more skin
Description from one girl as she waslearning to live in her new home:“Living here is like being a turtle: you have to learn to liveon both land land and water-at home and at school!”
So what can Sioux Falls teachersdo to help? Remember that language acquisition can’t be rushed-may take more than 5 years to acquire a new language Educator need to know student’s language proficiency levels to know where to begin and facilitate progress Know where they are in the BICS and CALP scales Know the cultures their students are from–let students share their culture with others Connect cultures to classroom activities: play music. Read books, have speakers from other countries Provide cooperative learning opportunities to help them feel more comfortable in sharing Let them be “naturally curious”-give them opportunities to explore
Teachers can also: Use the WIDA “can do” descriptors to pinpoint language skills to be dropped at the students levels Use writing as a tool to promote language development by aligning writing assignments to the students’ language needs to build language skills, let students paint, draw, write, or act out experiences Use TUCKER sign, SIOP strategies, TPR, realia, hands-on materials, pictures and other visuals, technology to keep learning activities meaningful Use varied vocabulary activities throughout the day
Stay connected to native cultures(double click in box to view video)
Literature to help students stayconnected to their culture: Tumblebooks- currently17 stories about various cultures including: Bintou’s Braids, Moishe’s Miracle, One is a Drummer: A Book Of Numbers, etc. Amazon.com lists children’s literature by country or continent includes: Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears, Anansi the Spider, Mama Panya’s Pancakes, Africa is Not a Country, and many many more District Portaportal.com lists catergories for ELL students, and teachers
Our Challenge: “To educate and prepare each studentto succeed in a changing world.” “America as the melting pot of the modern world, needs to facilitate the success of all her children, as they are the ingredients that will influence the future or a constantly evolving American culture.” Quoted from the psychiatry story: “Growing Up Whole” Could our mission statement for the Sioux Falls School District include any of these words: cultures, global, world, international? What do you think?
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