Sunday, September 21, 2014

Aria - Rodriguez, Teaching Multilingual Children - Collier

         The article, "Aria" by Richard Rodriguez, describes his personal journey as a immigrant attempting to learn the English language. He remembers that at first as a bilingual student, he struggled in school to become comfortable with English. After a parent-teacher meeting at his home, his family agreed to speak English in the home in hopes to improve his academic performance at school. After coming accustomed to hearing English more and more in both his home and school life, Rodriguez became more accustomed to the language. Although Rodriguez, encourages immigrants who are in his same situation to make English their main language, he explains how it separated his connection with his family. He also details his deep sadness in no longer speaking his native tongue on a day to day basis.
            Reading Rodriguez's article reminded me of an personal experience I had with a bilingual class mate of mine. I remember on my first day of first grade, I was seated next to an unfamiliar face. I looked at the boy's name tag on his desk and saw that his name was Achille. As I tried to speak to him and get to know him better, I realized that he became overwhelmed and began to cry. I later in the day found out that he was a new student from France and that he knew no English. As the year went on, he became more familiar with the English language, he accounted it to the fact that his parents also made an effort to speak English at home. Within a couple years of being at our school he became fluent in English and even admitted to not remembering a lot of French. It was apparent, that that much like Rodriguez that even though he knew that he needed to speak English to be successful in America, he passionately missed his French roots. I never realized what a struggle it would be for a bilingual student to give up their native tongue, which once brought them so much comfort.  
                                "Once upon a time there was a grown-up who loved children. 
One child who came to know this person was eager to find out 
about many things. Together they discovered the intimate secrets 
of time and space and nature and the way things work. They 
played with language. They both grew in wisdom and they 
learned how infinite and mysterious knowledge is ..." (222)
       The other article, "Teaching Multilingual Children" by Virginia Collier was consistent with Rodriguez's argument. The article discusses the difficulty of being a teacher in a multilingual classroom and the challenges that it comes along with, such as teaching two languages or confirming the cultural values at home and at school. The article provides helpful tips to teachers who want to help teach English to their students as well as create a rewarding experience for themselves. One of the tips that I really appreciated was, "3. Don't teach the language in a way that challenges or seeks to eliminate the first language"(227). I found this tip to be extremely helpful as an inspiring teacher who will have to deal with multilingual students in the future. This was a tool that Rodriguez's teachers did not seem to use since they made him feel that he was wrong for his usage of his "home language" at school. Collier explains that as a teacher, our mission is to help our students become fluent in their academic language but also give them the tools to continue sufficiently speaking their native language in the outside world. I found this article to be very informative, and I thought it was really  stimulating to be able to learn some tips that could not only benefit my future students but myself as a future teacher as well.
Richard Rodriguez
Virginia Collier


  1. Was this a reflection? And you might want to edit this because he isn't french...

    1. Yes, this was a reflection because as a future teacher I think its important to reflect on these articles and not just read them. And no, I don't need to edit it. If you re-read my post, I never said Rodriguez was French. I said my classmate was bilingual but he happened to be French.....

  2. I like how you related Rodriguez's difficulty with the French transfer student in your class. I also liked how you linked both of the readings together.

  3. I really enjoyed the connection you made to th exchange student in your class. It was a great relation to Rodriguez and his struggle within his classroom experience. I can only imagine how I would feel if I were in an exchange student's shoes, having to go to another country and learn a different, I would be vey overwhelmed and nervous. Having the readings included into your reflection helped me to better understand Rodriguez's story. Great job!