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ERIC Number: EJ905531
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Sep
Pages: 29
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 77
ISSN: ISSN-0039-8322
Narrating America: Socializing Adult ESL Learners into Idealized Views of the United States during Citizenship Preparation Classes
Griswold, Olga V.
TESOL Quarterly: A Journal for Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages and of Standard English as a Second Dialect, v44 n3 p488-516 Sep 2010
Applicants for U.S. citizenship must pass the naturalization test on U.S. history, government structure, constitutional principles, and basic English skills. Although no formal preparation for the exam is required, many immigrants, especially those with limited English proficiency, avail themselves of citizenship classes offered by community adult schools. Citizenship curricula at such schools, however, rarely have room for extensive English as a second language instruction, and teachers frequently resort to linguistic and discursive adjustments to make the course content on civics accessible to their students. This paper investigates one such adjustment--namely, narratives used to make abstract constitutional principles more concrete and relevant to the students' lives. Based on the analysis of narratives selected from 28 hours of videotaped classroom interaction, I argue that, in addition to serving as explanatory devices, narratives also reproduce a dominant U.S. ideology of individualism. They contribute to the construction of the U.S. as a nation where the rights of individuals are supreme and where individuals are seen as primary agents of historic change. Because these views are not culturally universal, teachers need to be aware of their own ideological positions and their possible effect on the students' understanding and acceptance of the course material. (Contains 9 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A