Meet Them Where They Are

14 May

A fascinating story about the integration of the Hmong into American culture and western medicine. It resonates with me as I reflect about the change process and how far the Hmong have come as they learn to be who they are in a new society.

One Response to “Meet Them Where They Are”

  1. Mary Lou Donahoe May 14, 2012 at 9:33 pm #

    Each society has different ways to deal with illness, family issues and children. The bottom line is, in illness these Hmong peoples had a different view as to how to take care of their spirit and control a bad situation. The important fact to remember for us at Underhill when dealing with students who speak other languages ESOL culture and language do together. We may teach them different vowel sounds, but we are teaching them from our “monolingual mainstream culture lens”. Critical self reflection about our belief systems and that of the different culture of our students is important to help them achieve success. Loosing ones identity by acculturating is a very painful and difficult process hard to understand by most. In sociolinguistics that is called “cultural border crossing” the passage of leaving behind our culture of origin by embracing the new. Young children go through this process an its painful, when they learn English they cannot communicate with their parents in the same way. Some resistance to learning the new language may have to do with that sense of loss. That’s why it is important to “reflect” our belief system vs. theirs and understand what our young students may be going through. It is not that they are lazy or bad students, they are protecting themselves as well. Things are deeper than they seem. Good article.

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