Teacher: Mrs. Farmer
Chapter 7 Writing Assignment
Immigration, Acculturation, and Acculturative Stress
How do people cope when everything they know has changed, when the language they speak is unintelligible to many of the people around them? Their mannerisms and customs make others treat them as if they were dangerous, suspicious, odd, and maybe even less intelligent. Over time, they begin to adjust, but the only way to fit in is to give up parts of their previous culture, language, and customs. This adjustment is difficult and painful, causing stress and sometimes maladaptive coping responses.
Acculturation is defined as the process of adaptation an individual experiences when making behavioral and attitudinal changes in order to identify with a new culture. Does this mean that acculturation is problematic, or can it be beneficial? Some believe that acculturation is beneficial, because it allows immigrants to fit in. However, acculturative stress often results from this process, perhaps making acculturation a worse choice than maintaining a strong ethnic identity. On the other hand, bicultural identity theories assert that maintaining one’s ethnic identity and establishing an identity with the new culture is better for one’s psychological health.
Ask your students to write about a time when they felt they did not fit in with those around them, such as moving to a new school or being an outcast because they were different. How did they cope? How did they adjust in order to fit in? What did they have to give up in order to fit in? Were they successful in the end, or did they remain on the periphery of the group?
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