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Culture Through Children's Literature Article

Essay by   •  April 4, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  902 Words (4 Pages)  •  2,853 Views

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United States has been made out of immigrants. Due to all the different cultures brought to America, United States has developed a culture that differentiates from other cultures of the world. As future teachers for the Florida system of Education, we need to be aware that Florida is one of the most diverse states in USA. We will probably have recent immigrants in our classrooms and we have to learn ways to help these students "grow their full and true potential" (Clayton 2003).

"All areas of development depends on the context of the children's life" (McDevitt 2007). This is why it is so important that the environment we provide for our future students in the classrooms is full of understanding of diversity. The article "Supporting Immigrant Students..." (Akrofi 2008) explains about the recent immigrant student in US classrooms. Akrofi says that a student needs to understand and to be able to "associate themselves with the dominant culture" (2008). The nurture (environmental conditions) we provide to these recent immigrant students will help them become part of the culture. Not by changing their basic believes, but by helping them understand and integrate.

One effective way to help the students is through literature. Usually these students are English learners. Because of that, this group has greater difficulties integrating and socializing with other peers in the classroom. "Literature can help them "meet these new people" in their classroom, learn the expectations of their classmates and their teacher, and generally learn to adapt to their new culture" (Akrofi 2008).

The study focused in the processes and activities that provide the necessary environment for a person to integrate to the culture. This project was based in two areas of inquiry. One of the areas focuses on the way a person sees himself in relation to the new culture. Students not only face problems with the language, but they also face problems adjusting to the culture. Usually, experiences in school will help them develop the language skills but will not focus in the cultural dilemma for this students. The second area of the project focused on literature for teaching of culture to English language learners (ELLs), based in the concept that literature can help them with social integration. By reading, children "assume an integrative orientation and gain access to cultural understanding in their new classrooms by exposing them to portrayals of dominant U.S. cultural content." (Akrofi 2008) For this research, it was used content analysis and analytical observations as the techniques of data collection. The content was done by analyzing children's book and categorizing them in to the four main categories (Gall, Gall, & Born 2003, 2007). The analytical observations were done by reading fiction to gain access of the culture (Schur, 1997).

Based on the Sociocultural Theory, children learn through practice with other people. The cultural exposure through literature can help



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