There are three reasons that Asian students get good grades and seem to master English sooner and more effectively: Asians are eager to assimilate into white American culture while Latinos view assimilation negatively, teachers tend to view Asian students as hard working and disciplined while Latino students are viewed as not as hard working, and that both groups view learning English as a power struggle. Asian students view assimilation into white American culture as something positive. They feel that learning English and learning American customs as something worth achieving.
Asians have such pride in their educational heritage that learning English should be no more difficult than any other subject. They work together within their learning communities to provide information on how to assimilate into the mainstream school culture. Students often talk to newcomers about how to dress, how to avoid speaking out to prevent others from detecting their accents, how to make American friends, etc. Latino students view assimilation as a slap at their native culture.
They view their fellow Latino students who speak English well as ¦all stuck up. Who do they think they are¦they think theyre better than us. Asian students are usually perceived by teachers as hard working and disciplined. Asian students generally looked at their American teachers as nicer, more polite and less strict than the teachers in their homeland. Therefore, Asian students tend to feel more accepted and capable. Latino students generally look at their teachers as too strict and unaccepting of their native culture and language.
Their teachers tend to view them with sadness because they seem to transform from ¦well behaved modest children to disruptive students. Teachers sometimes view learning English as a ¦prerequisite to any academic achievement To Asian students, learning English means power. It means access to academic and social status in the American mainstream. There is also a power issue for Latinos, but their power can be in not learning. There is a view that assimilation is intrinsically discriminatory and therefore viewed negatively.
By not learning English, in their minds they remain true to their heritage and culture. On a personal level, let me once again state that I am a Michigan Hillbilly. The only language that I speak is English. I teach at a very culturally diverse school. I see examples of these observations in my classes every day. While I have never really commented on them out loud because I dont want to be labeled a redneck, it was interesting to read Dr. Brittans views on the matter. She was able to help me gather my own thoughts on these matters.