ERIC Number: ED442714
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2000-Mar
Teaching about Arab Americans: What Social Studies Teachers Should Know.
External influences in the universal culture have significantly affected the image of Arab Americans and their children. Although Arab Americans are less visible than other minorities, the anti-Arab perception in the media makes them more visible in a negative way. Based on an ethnographic study investigating the experiences of Arabic-speaking students in U.S. schools, the findings and implications for teaching are presented in this paper. The paper outlines the ways that social conditioning has shaped the evolution of scapegoating, stereotyping and prejudice and how it has affected intercultural relations in U.S. public schools. It examines causes and effects of the "identity crisis" in terms of the negative impact cultural conditioning has on the self-image of the Arabic-speaking child. Finally, the paper focuses on fostering a more positive learning/teaching environment in culturally diverse classrooms, presenting implications for social studies teachers on how to invite mutual trust, develop empathy, reduce prejudice, and empower Arab minority children through the social harmonizing process. It attempts to provide a microsociological account of some important cultural information about Arabic speakers that, hopefully, will assist teachers with a point of departure from which to understand their students and their families. An appendix offers a Middle-Eastern awareness record test. (Contains 43 references.) (BT)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Portions of this paper were presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Social Science Association (Las Vegas, NV, March 26-28, 2000).