Friday, 27 January 2012

Immigration to the United States

I have chosen to look at the following website that is aimed at teachers of 5th graders (10-11 year olds) as an aid in teaching immigration to the United States.

The part of the site I focused on was called “Relive a boys journey”. The website allows you to go through page by page discovering what is was like for a boy of just 8 years of age to leave Poland for America. One thing that is clearly noticeable is the simplicity of the language and how concise each part of the story is, this is a reflection of the age group that the website is aimed to teach. This is also evidenced by the continual use of pictures that link to what is happening in the boy's story at the time.

In the section “New life in New York” the young boy is talking about how he used to sing at school and one of the first songs he learned was “The Star-Spangled Banner.” This being the U.S national anthem and still sung across schools in America today is a way in which the immigrant’s story relates to that of the children that are being taught about him. I also thought it was interesting that this was mentioned as it seems a way of reinforcing national unity even in 2012.

The website also contains activities for the children to do such as “find Poland on a map” or “write about how your ancestors got here.” This an intriguing aspect of the website as it suggests that teachers are informing the children that they are all immigrants originally but they are using this in a positive and almost celebratory way.

This website presents this aspect of U.S history in quite a positive light. It shows how America welcomed the immigrants and how even though this young boy had a cold when he arrived he was not sent back to Poland but recovered and then made it as a star of Yiddish theatre. The website suggests a strong sense of America is the land of the free and the land of opportunity. It seems as if it is trying to reinforce to 5th graders that because you are in America you are able to be a success, even if you were not born here or your parents were not born here you are now in America and that will allow you to make something of yourself.

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