Being born in America and growing up in Nigeria-Africa; culture is a close friend. Both worlds are opposite in all aspects- spirituality, education, clothing, housing, governmental systems, the list goes on and on. Anyone that has traveled out of their normal place of location knows how two worlds apart cultures can be. The difference can make or break productive understanding of a group of people.
Ensuring that the difference in culture is not a hindrance to progress of any kind, there needs to be a resolve against making conclusions or inferences based on perceptions. Last weekend I had the opportunity to meet the language translators and some of the precious immigrant families. Two cultures present itself for this study- our definition of what family literacy is here in our American culture and what family literacy means in the lives of immigrant families. It is very easy for those of us that can read and write in our American culture to think literacy is the same all around the world. Talk about a clash of cultures!!
Teachers of students with other languages other than English, know first hand the struggle that comes with teaching immigrant students who cannot read and write. What moves me to action is high school students that struggle with school because they cannot read and write. This is because these students have to earn credits towards high school graduation just like their peers. There is no special plans aside from what the Texas Education Agency requires for all students to graduate. They have to meet the same plans of graduation at the same time as learning English, how to read and write. Many of these immigrant students end up dropping out of school- a big problem for our nation at this point on all levels. Check out Time Magazine story written in 2006: Dropout Nation http://ti.me/qjmT1K via @TIME. This is 2011 and things have not changed since the article was written. Things have deteriorated; just ask any high school administrator preparing students for re-take assessment for graduations. Some students are re-taking their exit assessments for the third time; without which they cannot graduate. Just think about this from the shoes of these students.Teachers know first hand this problem, they work with all students from every walk of life. Our public schools do not turn anyone away. So we look for solutions in our American culture for our immigrant families who have a different culture than we do almost in all aspects of life-especially literacy.