For my response to Aria by Richard Rodriguez I would like to focus on the following quote, "today I hear bilingual educators say that children lose a degree if "individuality" by becoming assimilated into public society."
I have seemed to gravitate toward the idea that, while learning to live within another culture you lose your sense of self and own cultures, from the text because without my own heritage it would be difficult to be the person that I am today. * I am of course not saying that I would fall apart without my connection to my culture, but I can not imagine living without the connection. This is due to the feeling of community that one feels when they are connected with the people that share the same morals and ideals with. This sense of security that one feels when a community stands behind you is not something that can easily be replaced, which is why the author's acceptance of his new culture was surprising to me.
Throughout the beginning of the text as Richard is growing up he slowly accepts the "gringo" culture, but all the while he describes the things that he looses by doing so. For example he finds it harder and harder for him to communicate with his parents, thus creating a strained relationship. By being so accepting of this I feel as though one looses their connection to their past, which is a huge part of making up who we are today. However in the end Richard makes this final point, "that while one suffers a diminished sense of private individuality by becoming assimilated into public society, such assimilation makes possible the achievement of public individuality." With his final point made I question the idea that maybe there is a happy medium, where you do not loose your cultural past, but still learn to become an individual within the public community.
This of course can be answered in Collier's article, Teaching Multilingual Children, where she stress the rules in which to follow when teaching multilingual children. She describes a delicate balance between respecting the child's first language, while teaching them their second language. She states that, "One must teach in two languages, affirm the cultural values of both home and school, teach standardized forms of the two languages but respect the multiple varieties and dialects represented among students in class..." The method described here is easy to bring into the classroom and can change the way English is taught within the classroom for the better.
*Here is a little bit about my heritage. On my mother's side my family is dated back to be upon the original trip made by the Mayflower and founded a small farming town in Maine ( then of course it was Massachusetts ). With my ancestors being such an important part of the United State's history, it is hard not to feel a strong connection. On my father's side the story is much less valiant. They were poor potato farmers from Ireland that sought a better life in America. This of course is much similar to other's stories.
**This is not my ancestor's house, but it is another farmhouse within the town of Turner.