Friday, 20 November 2009

Pursuing the American Dream

“America was where all my mother's hopes lay. She had come here in 1949 after losing everything in China: her mother and father, her family home, her first husband, and two daughters, twin baby girls. But she never looked back with regret. There were so many ways for things to get better.” From Amy Tan, “Two Kinds”

onion_imagearticle1128We all know that the people living in the USA come from every corner of the world and that the US is a multicultural nation indeed. Still, what most of my student mention when they are to describe Americans is either extremely obese people, or wealthy white Americans living in mansions and having more money than most of us can ever dream of. This week, this image of the American people was challenged in class. Rather than putting the focus on the stereotypical American, we have had a look at various groups of immigrants in the USA. Concepts like the “melting pot” and “the salad bowl” have been central, and I have also made an attempt at making the students see that the American Dream is still alive today, even if its nature has changed since the term was first introduced.

As my starting point I have used resources from the NDLA, Nasjonal Digital Læringsarena. I found that they have several interesting factual texts on the topic, like this introductory text about immigration inthe USA. It is not too long, not too complicated, and the questions following the text can provide food for thought for all the students (at least all the students in my class). Further, I have used texts about Norwegian immigration to the USA and the “Melting Pot”. What I plan to do next week, is turn to the experience of different groups of immigrants in the US, and we will read Amy Tan’s story “Two Kinds”. This text can also be found on the NDLA pages along with a reading of the story and various tasks. I also plan on using some of the activities on this page as we read the story (thank you, Ann, for the tip on your blog!). I have not sorted everything out yet, so I will come back to more details and some lines about how things worked in the classroom later on. My hope, however, is that all these texts can help my students understand that the American Dream comes in different colours, and that the US society is way more complex than what the Hollywood movies can show us.

No comments:

Post a Comment