Rodriguez argues in this article that you must change in order to fit into society and you must be English speaking. Even if that means to "get rid of" your native language, it is expected that you communicate in English. He says, "What I needed to learn in school was that I had the right- and the obligation- to speak the public language of los gringos." (34) He talks about the changes in his household of how strict it became when three nuns from his school came to have a "chat" with his parents and insist on the importance of speaking English only at home. Unfortunately it became almost uncomfortable and the new "game" was not so fun anymore. Rodriguez believed that because he lived in a community of the English language, the only way to feel confident in public was to be just like them. He also believes that cutting out the first language from a student is not the way to teach them a second language. He tells his own example as to why there are negative effects to eliminating ones first language. In Teaching Multilingual Children, Virginia Collier would agree with Rodriguez. She lists her seven guidelines to, "...better understand how teaching English to second-language learners can become an enriching experience when appreciating students' different languages and life situations."(223) I think the two guidelines that fit with Rodriguez is #3 "Don't teach a second language in any way that challenges or seeks to eliminate the first language." (227) and #5 "Do not forbid young students from code-switching in the classroom. Understand the functions that code-switching serves."(229) If Rodriguez had been taught in this environment, he might not have "lost" his native language and could have embraced and carried on his heritage, language, and traditions. Also, if he had been taught both languages from birth, he may never have felt "socially disadvantaged."
Questions/Comments: How else could "we", as future teachers, teach non English speaking students and help them embrace their first language and customs?
This video I found is about a social experiment that was done in the 1950's to approximately 22 children living in Greenland. They were sent to Denmark to be re-educated as model Danish citizens. They were not allowed to speak their native language and when they were returned to Greenland several years later, they were unable to communicate with their families because they now only spoke Danish. It was extremely heartbreaking for these children and the long term damage stayed with them throughout the lives of the ones who survived.
Here it is, it takes a minute to come in (I couldn't embed it):
1950's Social Experiment