The Asian-American Learning Experience: Are Asian Americans Being Misunderstood in the American Classroom?

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Newly immigrated Asian-American students are often misunderstood by their classroom behavior.  They may hesitate or give short responses to questions, use a soft voice, decline to openly volunteer information, and avoid eye contact.  Their facial expressions may be mistaken for displeasure rather than concentration, such as frowning when hard at work.  They may become embarrassed when praised.

All of these examples are often misinterpreted by teachers due to ignorance.  These children are merely abiding by the social rules of their Asian culture, which may be unfamiliar to many Americans.  It is important to understand Asian cultural norms so that children are not thought to be impolite when they are actually
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 Asian-American children who have been schooled in their home country before coming to the United States may be shocked at the informality of American schools.  Here children speak out, misbehave, and may not respect their teacher as an authority figure.  In most Asian cultures, teachers have a high status and give instruction rather than encourage creativity.  Again it's a conflict between being an independent "American" student or a dependent and controlled Asian student.

The "model minority" is a common stereotype of Asian-Americans.  Unfortunately, this causes many Asian-American children to be labeled as "whiz kids."  Teachers consequently expect perfect work and behavior.  Each child should be considered an individual who is not above having problems in school.  In fact, Asian-American children may have difficulties due to culture shock, language barriers, or just general learning issues or lack of motivation.

Language and communication can be difficult for English as a Second Language (ESL) students.  Many Asian languages are written in symbols representing an idea, which is very different from English, which is written in letters representing sounds.  Asian ESL students may also have problems with plurals as many of their languages use the same form for both singular and plural.  Japanese, for example, does not have both long and short

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