Thursday, February 18, 2010

Talking Point 2

"Aria" by Richard Rodriguez

1. "Because I wrongly imagined that English was intrinsically a public language and Spanish an intrinsically a private one, I easily noted the difference between classroom language and the language at home."
-Richard speaks Spanish at home and he can see in school the dominant language is English; something he nor his parents are used to speaking. Richard is used to speaking Spanish privately at home. This shows the separation of language in the schools and at home. Schools shouldnt assume that all students can walk in and speaking perfect english anymore, but as a society everyone is very diverse.

2. "Without question, it would have pleased me to hear my teachers address me in Spanish when i entered the classroom. I would have felt much less afraid. I would have trusted them..."
-For Richard to feel welcome in his classroom, it would have been best for him to have a Spanish teacher to respond to him in his first language. However, this doesnt happen and it is sad that he has to feel afraid to enter the class room, which should be the most inviting atmosphere for a child to learn and feel comfortable in. It is even more sad that he is delayed in his speaking because he cannot speak English well.

3. "At last, seven years old, i came to believe what had been technically true since my birth: I was an American citizen."
-Wow. In order for Richard to fully believe that he was an American citizen, he felt that he needed to speak English well. I can see and understand why he would feel like this because the majority of Americans do speak english. On the other hand, as Richard says, he was an American all along and it seems like him learning the english language proved it to himself.

-I found the article very interesting to read. I was interested when Richard was talking about how his parents reacted to speaking english at home more. First off, everyone had much more confidence. While his mother was restless and a little anxious about using english at home, he father was a little bit more relaxed and also quiet about the situation. It seemed like it was a difficult situation for everyone when Richard was encouraged to speak more english at home as well as in school. His parents although they did speak much english, they expressed their feelings in more detail when they spoke in Spanish. Im sure that had to be a bit of an uncomfortable situation at times. i think that it is important for students to learn and know more than one language. however, if a student does learn a second language, the first known language should not be forgotten and still cherished. I know some friends that came into elementary school knowing only spanish, just like Richard. The reactions that my friends had to learning english were very similar to Richards; feeling more welcomed, not so afraid to speak anymore, and American.
I think that bilingual education is an important and benefitting subject in schools to address. A YouTube video that i found shows a school in which children, that have english as their first language, are learning spanish, chinese, and japanese. The mother who sends her children to the school states how it is such a success and enrichment in their learning. The children in the school are taught in a different language and learning about diverse cultures too, and not only the language. I think it is very interesting to see so definitely check the video out!


  1. Although I agree that Richard would have felt more comfortable with a Spanish-speaking teacher, that kind of an approach is simply impractical if not impossible. Although I realize that most immigrants are Spanish, they are certainly not the only ones. My ESL classroom in Manchester New Hampshire was very diverse: we had people from Europe, Middle East, South and Central America, as well as many parts of Africa. It certainly would have been impossible to accommodate all these students in such a way. I realize that most classrooms are not as diverse, but even in a class full of Spanish speakers there are bound to be some kids from Southeast Asia. Are you going to get a separate teacher just for them?

  2. I liked your last quote I found it interesting that he thought the only way to be a citizen is to speak English. I agree with you that the first language should not be forgotten but cherished.

  3. I agree with what you said about him finally realizing that he was an American citizen. I think it's kinda sad that he can't be American and speak two languages, even though he was born here.

  4. Brittany,
    I also agree with what you said about him realizing he is an American citizen because he can speak English (even though he was born here). I feel so bad for the people who have to live like this and not feel that they are citizens.