In “Aria: Memoir of a Bilingual Childhood”, Richard Rodriguez discusses two educational philosophies regarding bilingual education. (main topic and support)
A. The philosophy of supporting Bilingual Education was to help Students acquire the skills of a classroom crucial for public success.
a. Children miss out a great deal by not being taught in their family’s language.
i. “They say that children who use their family language in school will retain a sense of their individuality — their ethnic heritage and cultural ties.” (Kindle Locations 6236-6237).
a. Children will have a sense of individuality that retains their family’s language. Giving children something to feel different and have something special.
i. “But then there was Spanish. Español: my family’s language. Español: the language that seemed to be a private language.” (Kindle Locations 5982-5983)
a. Rodriguez shared how it was hard fighting between assimilating to American culture and keeping his connection and heritage alive within him.
A. Rodriguez gave many reasons why one would not be a supporter of bilingual education. By giving these examples from his life. What he lived and went through, finding himself and his voice.
a. By only speaking Hispanic, Rodriguez had a hard time learning, and transitioning into American Culture. Rodriguez felt held back, not able to learn to the full potential.
i. “child, I considered Spanish to be a private language. What I needed to learn in school was that I had the right —
Rodriguez struggles to fit in the “American Society” because he is bilingual. He feels the most safe when he speaks Spanish, hearing or speaking English sets fear in him. The first fear he encounters when hearing or speaking English that
Bilingual education offers a completely different world for students of different ethnic background and thus creates a comfort zone limiting the risk-taking factor necessary for the maturation of a child to an adult. Rodriguez argues supporters of bilingualism fail to realize "while one suffers a
Rodriguez's parents think they are doing the best job possible raising their three children. Being a lower class family, money was not something that was always available. His mother and father can always supply them with love and nurturing. The way they let their children know they are special and close is to talk to them in their private language. His parents could not speak good English; they could not translate their terms of endearment for the children without the saying losing its meaning. "Using Spanish, he (the father) was quickly effusive...his voice would spark, flicker, flare alive with varied sounds." Only speaking English, the father is a completely different person. Speaking Spanish is was a loud vivid man, only using English changed him into a quiet, often thought shy person. In society's eyes, speaking Spanish at home further damages their children's' chance at a bright future. "My mother grew restless, seemed troubled and anxious at the scarceness of words exchanged in the house." His mother carries a burden of frustration for what she thinks is best for her children. It is puzzling why they didn't set aside a special family time for only speaking in Spanish. Were the nuns and society so intimidating to Rodriguez's
By contrast, Richard Rodriquez, in his article entitled "Aria", strongly believes in surrendering to learning the proper English language, despite how strongly he feels his native tongue is a private language that once functioned to unite his family. Rodriguez creates a division of a public and a private discourse. He feels that he has a right to learn the public language of los gringos'. He creates a visual clash of two worlds: a public world as represented by school and the need to learn English; and a private world as represented by his family and the use of Spanish within the home. He feels that in order to adapt and create assimilation that he needs to abandon the comfort of using Spanish to communicate and force himself to learn English even if it meant alienating his family members.
With all the negative thoughts and feelings about his family, Rodriguez never took the time to repair his relationship with him and his family, because books were very important to him than his family. As Rodriguez begin to separate from his family and culture, his Spanish accent also begin to disappear, which he felt very excited. In the beginning of his article he talked about the first day, he enters the class and could “barely able to speak English” (239). Rodriguez felt that he did not fit in with the rest
Rodriguez begins to become more involved in his classroom by his new grip on the English language. He shares fewer and fewer words with his mother and father. His tone now transforms into guilt. As Rodriguez's public language becomes more fluent, he forgets how to speak Spanish. "I would have been happier about my public success had I not recalled, sometimes, what it had been like earlier, when my family conveyed its intimacy through a set of conveniently private sound.? He begins to break out of the cocoon as a slow or disadvantaged child and blooms into a regular kid in his white society that only uses English. He feels a great sense of betrayal of his Mexican past. His connection that held him so close to his family is destabilized.
This separation from his family caused a longing in his life. But this longing was superseded by what he suspected his teachers could give him. Rodriguez develops a double personality of sorts. The person he is at home, the polite child who lovingly does what his parents ask of him. And then the academic persona he
The particular focus of Rodriguez’s story is that in order to feel like he belonged to the “public society” he had to restrict his individuality. Throughout his story, Rodriguez discussed such topics as assimilation and heritage. He goes into depth about the pros and the cons of being forced to assimilate to the American culture. Growing up Hispanic in America was a struggle for Rodriguez. This was due to the fact that he was a Spanish-speaking boy living in an English-speaking society, and he felt like he was different than the other children. Rodriguez writes, “I was fated to be the ‘problem student’ in class” (Rodriguez 62). This is referring to Rodriguez’s improper knowledge of English. It made him stand out as the kid that was behind. He wanted to find the balance between the public and private face. He believed both were important to develop. As I read this story it changed the way I looked at people who speak different languages, and how it must be hard to fit in with society if you are not all fluent in English.
As a child, I was simultaneously immersed in three completely different cultures. My mother was Chinese, yet spoke Vietnamese, my father was white, and I lived in a predominantly Spanish community. These contrasting lifestyles and cultures truly showed me the difference between a public and a private identity, and the importance behind bilingualism in the world today. However, before I can recount what I’ve learned, we must first discuss two contrasting concepts about bilingualism from two very accomplished and controversial writers: Martín Espada and Richard Rodriguez.
During his childhood, he felt English was an obligation to fit in. As his family’s proficiency with English increased, their close ties with being solely Spanish speakers diminished: “We remained a loving family, but one greatly changed. No longer so close; no longer bound tight by the pleasing and troubling knowledge of our public separateness,” (lines 127-130). Growing apart from his family illustrates native Spanish speakers lose bonds because their shared identity no longer separates them from American
Rodriguez builds a formidable case against bilingual education with his bilingual childhood experiences. Rodriguez grew up speaking Spanish, but then learned how to speak English later in life so he knows what effects bilingual education has on bilingual kids who grew up speaking a private language at homes. When Rodriguez first came to the United States in Sacramento, California he understood “about fifty stray English words” (Richard Rodriguez “Aria: A Memoir of a Bilingual Childhood”). He was a Mexican immigrant whose family only knew how to speak Spanish. The neighbors of Rodriguez’s family didn’t like them, so when they were out walking they would tell Rodriguez’s parents “Keep your brats away from my sidewalk!” (Rodriguez 571). Rodriguez loses the “special feeling of closeness at home” when he learned English (Rodriguez 577). Personal experiences are what makes him a credible author. Rodriguez used strong ethos and pathos appeals, but he didn’t use strong logos appeals. He didn’t use facts or reasoning in his memoir to prove his points against bilingual education.
The challenges he faced during his transition from the Spanish Language to English. The challenges you will face with starting a new routine or “Life change” to fit into today’s society. Even though he had his family to share his language with, He was almost trapped in the American society with not being able to communicate. Getting the awareness out about his views on Bilingual Education and share his story on how it affected him in the beginning. That even by teaching children in their home language sounds like a great idea, you are just taking away from their ability to learn. He had something special by being able to understand Spanish after losing the ability to speak it. But that just gave him something over his classmates. I do believe he achieves his point. Education is a huge part of our lives. Yes, believing a child will do better in school using
Rodriguez was torn apart his “private” life and his “public” life. Private as in referring to the language spoken and home and the Spanish heritage at home. Public as in referring to his quite life at school where Rodriguez was intimidated by “high syllables” and the way people talked fast English. This quote illustrated how the need of
Rodriguez took on tremendous amount of responsibility for these changes. He took more responsibility than he probably should have; due to circumstances beyond his control he reached the stage he was in. Rodriguez portrayed this feeling when he mentioned, “I felt that I had shattered the intimate bond that had once held the family close. This original sin against my family told whenever anyone addressed me in Spanish and I responded confounded.” (231) His family members and his Americanization had taken that bond away. He felt that losing his ability to speak Spanish removed his ability to communicate with his family on an intimate level. Spanish used to be a secret bond between them and what tied them together.