IDEAS INTO PRACTICE

The following is an activity which sets the previous issue in a more realistic classroom setting. This activity places educator in a hypothetical situation where the educator is placed in an unfamiliar situation of settling an obviously upset new immigrant student. It aims to encourage thinking from the student’s perspective, identify cultural issues and reinforce methods given above.

OUTCOMES

  • Thinking from the child’s perspective
  • Identify the issues that a child from a different culture faces
  • Use the methods given above to increase cultural diversity in classrooms

SCENARIO

Jessica is a new student in a Year 4 class located in a suburb with lower numbers of immigrants. She had just moved to Perth from her home town in Beijing, China where she lived all 10 years of her life. In Beijing, she was raised by her Grandparents and only saw her parents twice a year as they were working in Perth, Australia. She has been in her new class for two months now, she has little english knowledge but is a bright and outgoing girl. In the first few weeks of her arrival in school, Ms Jones noticed her outgoing personality. She went around during lunch and recess trying to talk to anyone and everyone with her limited english. Sometimes she would use the wrong words and the other students would laugh at her but that did not stop her from continuing her conversation with them. However, recently Ms Jones started to notice Jessica being less outgoing and initiative in starting conversation. Instead of engaging with her friends, Jessica would sit quietly by Ms Jones during recess and lunch.

When that happens Ms Jones, engages Jessica in a conversation. Jessica would say things like ‘Nobody understands what I am going through.’ ‘I have to be a different person at school than at home.’ ‘They always laugh at my english and make fun of things I do.’ Ms Jones being a middle class Australian who does not own a passport, does not understand why Jessica suddenly hates being here so much. Ms Jones imagined that the Australian school system is much more relaxed than China’s and Jessica should be enjoying her life here.

Using this scenario, discuss and answer the following questions. Provide detailed explanations where needed.

  1. Identify the feelings Jessica might be going through? Why is she feeling this way? (Change of sense in place)
  2. What might be the reason for her sudden change in attitude?
  3. What can Ms Jones do for a) Jessica? b) her classroom? c) herself to better understand Jessica’s situation?
  4. Consider and reflect on your interactions with newly immigrant children. Share your experiences.
  5. Watch a TED Talk on ‘My Immigration Story’ and discuss how this similarity and differences  to Jessica’s  story.