Scholar promotes bilingual education

By Staff Writer
February 12, 2004

Traipsing across campus with English professor Amy DeBlasis at his side, Tony Davila, a bilingual middle school social studies teacher of Springfield, Mass., joined several groups to spark thought concerning the ever-increasing changes in urban classrooms across the United States on Monday, Feb. 9 and Tuesday, Feb. 10.

Opening some forums speaking in Spanish, he received the response he was precisely expecting. Students in DeBlasis’ Sem 100 class were said to feel “frustrated,” “stupid”, “anxious” and “wishing they could speak the language” when they were excluded from the attention of the central person speaking in class.

This is exactly how students feel who have recently immigrated to the United States feel when they see their teacher in the front of the classroom. They are left to fall into the cracks of the education system. The No Child Left Behind Act directly affects these students when they don’t perform to the standards imposed on each school district.

Students were encouraged to devise a set of questions that they were most curious to arrive at educated responses before Davila came to campus. Questions like, “how do we conquer the language barrier?,” “do you tell the children that it is positive to be bilingual?” and what is the appropriate terminology, Latino or Hispanic?”

Davila answered each question with respect to the present political and racial climate. Davila believes that teachers and community activists like leaders, philanthropists, and tutors should understand that their students do not just want to be tolerated. They must learn how to work together but not at the risk of compromising their identities.

Urban settings hone a large number of immigrant groups, therefore concentrating creating unique problems. The No Child Left Behind Act spells out four different models for bilingual programs.

Davila believes that it is the goal of every student and organization that is civically minded and community-oriented to return to their communities and contribute to the improvement of the schools that sent them in the direction of higher education. It is also a goal for those who do not come from disadvantaged communities to spread the message of what they have learned in their service to help advance those who need it most.

“I’m glad to see so much of the faculty committed to promoting diversity and providing multicultural classrooms,” Davila said

Posted to the web by Shawn Rice

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