ERIC Number: ED211250
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981
Reference Count: 0
The Country School and the Americanization of Ethnic Groups in North Dakota. Country School Legacy: Humanities on the Frontier.
Carlson, Mary C.; Carlson, Robert L.
In North Dakota, the schools played the major role in imparting American culture to the immigrants who by 1920 numbered 67% of North Dakota's population, but rural schools were not ideally suited to the task. The immigrants tended to cluster in nationality groups in geographic areas of the state, giving communities distinct ethnic identities. The largest ethnic groups were comprised of Germans from Russia and Norwegians. The inability of teacher and immigrant student to communicate led to humorous, and occasionally traumatic, incidents. Although children struggled to use English in school lessons, they reverted to their native language when out of school. Some county superintendents, recognizing that students would learn English more rapidly if forced to use it on the playground, instructed teachers to forbid the speaking of any foreign language at school. Memorization and repetition were commonly used to teach English. Some schools also offered classes in English to adults. In addition to teaching English, the schools were charged with the responsibility of inspiring patriotism in the immigrants. Some immigrants retained strong cultural ties with the old country and viewed Americanization as corruption of traditional values. Many did not value education for their children. However, in time, the rural school Americanized the immigrants' children. (Author/CM)
Descriptors: Acculturation, Adult Education, Bilingualism, Cultural Influences, Cultural Interrelationships, Educational History, Elementary Secondary Education, English (Second Language), Ethnic Groups, Immigrants, Language Dominance, Language Role, Oral History, Regional Characteristics, Rural Education, Rural Schools, School Role, Second Language Instruction, Small Schools, Sociocultural Patterns, State History, Teacher Attitudes, Teacher Role
Publication Type: Historical Materials
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Endowment for the Humanities (NFAH), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Mountain Plains Library Association, Silt, CO. Country School Legacy Project.
Identifiers: Country School Legacy Project; North Dakota
Note: For related documents, see RC 013 047-058 and RC 013 070-084.