Supporting Immigrant Students’ Understanding of U.S. Culture Through Children’s Literature

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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 new 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 (2008) says that a student needs to understand and to be able to “associate themselves with the dominant culture”. 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...
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