Understanding our differences through an examination of the Karen Tribes People. University of Alberta EDPY 413 Cheryl Law, Sephora Sookram & Meagan Fleming A few volunteers will stand in a line at the front of the class to tell a story. The first person will begin the story by stating one sentence. The next person will continue the same story with another sentence. The story will continue in this manner. A fun twist: ◦ No one can use any words with the letters i, s or n. (Arias, 2008) “A way of being that allows individuals and organizations to interact effectively with people who differ from them” (Robins, Lindsey, Lindsey & Terrell, 2006, p. 2) Cultural proficiency model “is proactive, provides tools that can be used in any setting” Has a behavioural focus Can be used for both organizations and individuals (Robins et al., 2006). It is the policies and practices and values and behaviours of organizations and individuals that allow for effective interactions. The culture promotes inclusiveness and institutionalizes processes for learning about differences and for responding appropriately to differences. Educators need to welcome and create opportunities to better understand who they are as individuals. It is important to learn how to interact positively with people who differ from yourself. Remember that becoming culturally proficient takes time: time to think, reflect, decide and change. Begin by reflecting on your school and your own individual understandings and values. 4 Components 1. 2. 3. 4. The The The The Continuum Essential Elements Guiding Principles Barriers Cultural destructiveness 1. See the difference, stomp it out. Cultural incapacity 2. See the difference, make it wrong Cultural blindness 3. See the difference, act like you don’t Cultural pre-competence 4. See the difference, respond inadequately Cultural competence 5. See the difference, understand the difference that difference makes Cultural proficiency 6. See the difference and respond effectively in a variety of environments (Robins et al., 2006) Addressing the Differences ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ Assess the culture and name the differences Value diversity by claiming the differences Manage the dynamics of difference Adapt to diversity and train about differences Institutionalize cultural knowledge and allow change for the differences 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Culture is a prevalent force. People are served in varying degrees by the dominant culture. People have group identities that they want to have acknowledged. There is diversity between cultures and within cultures. Respect the unique needs of every culture. The presumption of entitlement ◦ All that you have you deserve by virtue of your merit alone Systems of oppression ◦ Examples include: racism, sexism, ageism ◦ Perpetuates domination and victimization Unawareness of the need to adapt ◦ Believing that others need to change but you do not Can you define culture? In small groups, brainstorm ideas and agree upon a definition of culture. “the set of common beliefs and practices that a person shares with a group” (Robins et al., 2006) All about Groupness Cultural identity is how people recognize where they belong You vs. Your Students Think about how your culture differs from the cultures of your students. Culture determines how you interact with your students and react to things that happen in the classroom. It is important to reflect upon and be aware of your cultural biases and differences. We often think that people in non-dominant cultures should change and learn the ways of the dominant culture. We must acknowledge differences and expect to learn from other cultures and expect that these cultures will learn from us. We need to try to adapt and adjust to differences between cultures. It’s all about compromise! What is Diversity? Think about the different cultures and sources of diversity in your classrooms. What kinds of diversity do you encounter in your classroom? Three sources of diversity 1. demographic characteristic culture, ethnicity, language, age, gender, social class, religion personal characteristics 2. age, gender, communication style, economic background, personality abilities and skills 3. social and technical (Johnson & Johnson, 2009, pp.443-444) On the petal, write something that is unique about yourself. In the interior, work with your group to write about similarities between the group members. Refugee Students in Edmonton’s Classrooms (Picture of Karen working in a rice field, Microsoft Corporation, 2005). The Karen Tribe people are an ethnic minority in Burma, that now consist of one of Thailand’s largest refugee groups. (Burma Map, Google Maps Canada, 2008). Burma, also known as Myanmar is a land of about 35 million people in Southeast Asia (Background Note: Burma, 2008). The population of Burma has a diversity of cultures and ethnicities. The largest group is of course the Burmans, but it is also home for the Kachins, Chins, Mons, Karenni, Shans, Arakanese, and Karen (Background Note: Burma, 2008). Burma has had one of the longest-running civil wars in world history (Bowles, 1998). Decades of military conflict and genocide in Burma has transformed the Karen people, as well as other cultures into refugees (Binkley, D. & M., 2007). The Karen Tribe, a usually peaceful people, fight for their own state, own political rule and their own ethnic identity (Buadaeng, 2007). Teachers need an understanding of Karen Tribal Culture: Traditions, Beliefs and Religion Education The difficult adaptation to life in Canada Karen Groups and Sub Groups The Karen are a Burmese hill-tribe people (McGill, 2007). There are four divisions of culture in the Karen Tribe. The two main tribal cultures are Sgaw and Pwo Karen. Sgaw Karen are the largest group of the four. The two smaller groups (only 1% of Thai Karen population) are the Pa O and Kavgah (Lewis, E. & P, 1984). (Karen Tribe, Classroom Clipart, 2007) Buddha, Cardinal Photo, 2008 The Karen people are: ◦ very spiritual and believe in many myths. ◦ superstitious and believe that everything is connected to a spirit (Sudhamongkol, n.d.). The Karen people believe: ◦ things they say or do have consequences and they are fearfully aware of their actions (Sudhamongkol, n.d.). ◦ babies do not have souls until they invite a spirit to present the soul to the child, where they then secure the soul by tying string around the babies’ wrists (Lewis, E. & P, 1984). Traditional Gods: ◦ “Lord of Land and Water” who owned the entire contents of the earth ◦ “Crop Grandmother” who watches over their fields The Karen tribe will offer meat and pray at shrines for the blessing of rice in their fields (Lewis, E. & P, 1984). Karen core religions: 1. Buddhism (believe in Karma) 2. Animism (where they believe that animals and plants also have spirits) 3. Christianity (Increasing, about 30%) (Lewis, E. & P, 1984). The Karen Tribe is very hospitable Karen that live in their own homes, mainly live with a nuclear family Marriage is stable, divorce is low Polygamy is prohibited Members often use nicknames when referring to one another. (Anderson, 1993). In the Karen language there are no first or last names (Allott et al., 2007). (Elder and Young Karen, Mekong, 2008). In Myanmar: ◦ “35% of secondary schoolaged children are enrolled in school…” ◦ “69% of children enrolled in the first grade at school go on to reach grade five” (Mortimer, 2004). In refugee camps: ◦ 2/3 of Karen have some type of education, at least elementary ◦ 1/3 had no education at all ◦ There is a high drop out rate in refugee schools due to: overcrowding, lack of materials and lack of job opportunities (Allott et al., 2007). (Children in Classroom at Burmese Refugee Camp in Thailand, Kindersley & Robertson, n.d.). Students are facing problems because the Thai government only allows minimum refugee assistance from the United Nations. Special needs are essentially ignored ◦ Teachers have no special needs training Educational influence from Thai and western cultures Transition to Canadian schools can be overwhelming (Some Camp Houses Images, Binkley, 2005). Characteristics of Karen refugees sent to Canada: ◦ Many are single-parent women ◦ Women who may have been sexually or violently abused ◦ Those not accepted in society ◦ Those who have family problems ◦ Refugees that were on opposing political sides ◦ Those in need of medical or psychological expertise ◦ Ethnic minorities abused in camps ◦ Those who have family in Canada ◦ In 2006, Canada began selecting Karen refugees. (Backgrounder, Group Resettlement to Canada, 2006). (Karen Refugee Family Citizenship and Immigration Canada, 2007). Karen refugees have difficulty adjusting to life in Canada after living in refugee camps Thailand did not let refugees find employment ◦ Many will begin their very first jobs when entering Canada. Karen refugees need to learn about banks, climate, food and technology. (Binkley, D. & M., 2007). Organizations offer orientations to life in Canada “ Avoid walking in front of others. Go behind those who are seated, or ask first and apologize.” “If you accidentally pick up something belonging to another person, apologize” “When Karen invite you to eat with them, refuse first. If they ask you repeatedly, accept, but do so gently” (Allott et al., 2007) As teachers,we must also realize that cultures use words with different meanings. For example, unlike other Asian groups who rarely say “no,” the Karen often say “no” as a way of being modest. They will also never show anger or any negative emotion because it is believed to be disgraceful. (Dailey et al., 2007) “The Karen are a reticent, even shy people, and many will be surprised and perhaps worried by directness of speech, voice levels, and body language.” “With the Karen, a quiet, low-key style of communication works best, peppered with lots of reassuring and friendly smiles.” “It is generally not good to approach issues too directly or straight forwardly, and it is good to re-ask a question to which no answer has yet been received, perhaps in different ways.” “When a Karen folds his arms in front of him while talking to you, it is a sign of respect, not aggression or defensiveness.” “In general, the Karen like to be very self-reliant and to pursue an independent lifestyle within their own culturally close-knit communities.” (Allot et al., 2007) “ If a Karen is offered something, he or she may be reluctant to take it, even if the item is needed.” “Persevere gently. Karen do not like to boast or put themselves forward. They also do not like to complain.” “In Karen families, males are generally the heads of household.” “It is good to be aware of the age and gender conventions when dealing with families, especially if it is easier—but not necessarily more tactful—to communicate with younger family members who may have more English.” (Allott et al., 2007). Consider CULTURE and LANGUAGE together… and separately! What do teachers need to know to help these learners feel comfortable in the classroom? What do teachers need to know to help these learners learn English? Expect overlap! Interculturalism entails: ◦ Living cultural experiences ◦ Taking responsibility for more than “acceptance” Allows us to better examine our own individual and collective identities Physical Appearance ◦ Seat the student next to another student who speaks the L1 Note: Karen languages differ from Tibeto-Burman languages but use Thai or Burmese scripts Many words are borrowed from the Thai, Burmese, Mon, & Shan cultures 2 main languages: Sgaw and Pwo not mutually intelligible! ◦ Recognition of students’ names Name Quilt or Name Snake Practice pronouncing names Creating a Culturally Sensitive Classroom Physical Appearance cont. ◦ Display a map of the world and have students plot where they are from (natively or ancestrally) ◦ Translate signs and labels into L1 ◦ Literacy Play Centres (Handout) Creating a Culturally Sensitive Classroom Rules and Procedures ◦ Ideal: translate list of rules and announcements ◦ Non-verbal classroom management Ex: Planned ignoring, proximity interference, signal interference ◦ Establish a cue Ex: Hand raised, squeaky hammer, clapping sequence ◦ Demonstrate procedures ◦ Assign partners rotating classroom responsibilities Ex: Clean the fish tank, tidy the bookshelves Creating a Culturally Sensitive Classroom Community of Learners ◦ Karen desire for harmony ◦ Positive attitude towards cultural and linguistic diversity Ex: Introduce student as “a speaker of x who is learning English,” encourage use of L1 orally and in print ◦ Bilingual partners & Peer tutors Give specific responsibilities and recognition to partners and tutors May involve peer note-taking ◦ Suggest ways other students can help Ex: School tour, learning some L1 expressions Creating a Culturally Sensitive Classroom Structure of Learning Activities ◦ Respect students may wish to work alone ◦ Cooperative learning activities Group brainstorming Think-pair-share Learning Teams Jigsaw ◦ Dr. Marcia Tate’s Brain-based Strategies (Handout) Music! ◦ Increase wait and activity time Creating a Culturally Sensitive Classroom Teaching Global Understanding ◦ Real life stories by students ◦ Guest speakers: family members and elders May also bring in cultural artifacts “Culture Table” ◦ Show & Tell of cultural artifacts ◦ Calendar of cultural celebrations Ex: Mark and celebrate the Karen New Year (Nee Saw Ko) and Karen National Day (February 11) Creating a Culturally Sensitive Classroom Multilingual reading materials? Children’s Literature ◦ Canada O Canada by Ted Harrison (I Like the Seasons!) What Happens in Winter? by Sara L. Latta ◦ Family Diversity The Family Book by Todd Parr ◦ Social & Cultural Issues Karenni by Anne Johnson The Cat from Kosovo by Mary-Jane Hampton The Sandwich by Ian Wallace If the World were a Village: A Book About the World’s People by David J. Smith ◦ Folktales The Rice Fairy: Karen Stories from Southeast Asia by Edward Norman Harris The Flying Canoe by Roch Carrier We have already explored two of the L2 learning principles: ◦ “A supportive environment is key to learning a second language.” AND ◦ “In and of itself, language can be a source of satisfaction and delight.” What are the others? We will use the principles as a framework (ESL K-9 Guide) “Language and concepts are developed together.” Implication: Teachers embed English language learning within a meaningful context Yay!! This is what content-area teachers do everyday Think social studies, science, mathematics, art, etc. Now think about how to create a content class that is language-sensitive… Principles and their Implications “Language must be adjusted so the student can understand what is being communicated.” Implication: Teachers must modify instruction and assignments in content areas Goal is Comprehensible Input and Output ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ Gestures Realia Key visuals Graphic Organizers Clear directions ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ Keep brief, emphasize key words, speak slowly Deliver in +1 modality Accompanying handouts Assignment models Build vocabulary (still to come) Note: Cooperative learning and meaningful context Lesson plan = Content objectives + language objectives ◦ Consider reading, writing, listening, and speaking demands of lesson ◦ Consult TESOL Standards to help develop language objectives ◦ Many students will be at the Beginning English Language Proficiency Level: Limited or no understanding of English Assignment modifications = Illustrative example Principles and their Implications “Students learn more effectively when they use language for a purpose. Language is learned through social interaction.” Implication: Teachers ensure their meaningful context includes opportunities for interaction ◦ Note: Cooperative learning ◦ Conversational strategies Ex: How to seek clarification, express an opinion, indicate disagreement (Handout) Principles and their Implications “Focus is on meaning versus form.” Implication: Teachers explicitly teach key vocabulary (in context) ◦ What words to choose? Words that are high-utility, relevant to the lesson, and relevant to home life Ex: “was,” “eggs,” “grocery store” High-frequency word lists Activities to develop vocabulary: ◦ Mini-lessons ◦ Word walls ◦ Portable word walls (Ring or file folder to practise reading and use in writing) ◦ Picture dictionaries ◦ Word Study Activities ◦ Word Posters, Word maps, Dramatizing words, Word sorts ◦ Shared reading ◦ Interactive read-alouds ◦ Buddy reading Principles and their Implications “Second language learning builds on previous knowledge and experience.” Implication: Teachers must support the continual development of the L1 ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ Encourage use of L1 in classroom Make self and world connections Picture dictionaries Work with parents to retain L1 at home Principles and their Implications “Language skills develop gradually.” Implication: Teachers must be patient and avoid self-doubt ◦ BICS (Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills) may take up to 2 years ◦ CALP (Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency) may take 5-7 years… if literate in L1 ◦ Set goals (adapted) ◦ Receptive vocabulary develops faster than expressive vocabulary ◦ Know you are making a difference! The Karen languages are very different from English There are few translators to help refugees overcome the language barrier when coming to Canada ◦ The Karen are not a large group of people ◦ Differences within the Karen languages Listen to their language at: http://www.metacafe.com/watch/1043970/amazing_grace_i n_the_karen_language/---amazing Only 1 syllable and 6 tones tones denote meaning ◦ Ex: maà – máa – mâa – ma’ Implication: Many English sounds do not exist ◦ Final consonants (hat) ◦ Final vowels (pie) ◦ No vowels (sky) Different grammar ◦ verbs are not conjugated ◦ adjectives may not exist BUT Sentence structure = Subject + Verb + Object Use “classifiers” ◦ Ex: “Three leaves” = “Leaves three pieces” So what does this mean for teachers? Concepts about the alphabet Letter knowledge Handwriting Phonemic awareness Phonics skills Grammar Burmese-English dictionaries (Presentation: Literacy Instruction for Div. 1). Websites: ◦ Refugees from Burma: Their Backgrounds and Refugee Experiences http://www.cal.org/co/pdffiles/refugeesfromburma .pdf ◦ Karen Website http://www.karen.org/ ◦ YOU MUST CHECK THESE OUT! Your Support Network Educational Documents: ESL K-9 Guide to Implementation, TESOL Standards EDPY 413 Course Textbook: 50 Strategies for Teaching English Language Learners (3rd ed.) by Adrienne L. Herrell & Michael Jordan Local Organizations: Edmonton Public, ELSSC (English Language Support Services Centre), Edmonton Catholic Schools ESL Centre, & EMCN (Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers) I have always liked M & M’s. The most diverse multicultural integrated candy in the world. You have your red ones, your yellow ones, your orange ones, your brown ones, and your green ones, (and the newest blue ones). All in one package, all co-existing Together One color doesn’t think that it is superior to the other. One color doesn’t discriminate against the other. All colors are the same size, shape, and weight. All colors look different on the outside, but have the same ingredients on the inside. M & M’s all have the same flavor, and they all taste G-o-o-o-d. Not all M & M’s are perfect though, some have Nuts!!! In the real world we call them racists, and bigots. Would it be nice if like M & M’s our prejudices, melted into the abyss like chocolate melts in our mouth? And all people were judged by what was inside, rather than the color you see on the outside??? If candy can be prejudice free WHY CAN’T WE??? Alberta Education. (2007). English as a second language kindergarten to grade 9 guide to implementation. Retrieved October 3, 2008, from http://www.education.alberta.ca /media/507659/eslkto9gi.pdf Allott, A. J., Barron, S., Ewers, K., Larkin, E., Okell, J., Swain, A., VanBik, K., & Yin, S.M. (2007, June). Refugees from Burma: Their backgrounds and refugee experiences. Retrieved October 6, 2008, from http://www.cal. org/co/pdffiles/refugeesfromburma.pdf Anderson, E. F. (1993). “The people of the hills.” Plants and People of the Golden Triangle: Ethnobotany of the Hill Tribes of Northern Thailand. Portland: Dioscorides Press. Pp.22-24. Arias, J. (2008). Multilingual students and language acquisition: Engaging activities for diversity training. English Journal, 97(3), 38-45.Retrieved October 21, 2008, from ERIC database. Backgrounder: Group resettlement to Canada: Karen Refugees in Mae La Oon Camp, Thailand. (2006, June). Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Retrieved October 6, 2008 from http://www.cic.gc.ca/EnGLIsh/department /media/backgrounders/2006/2006-06-20.asp Backgrounder, Karen Refugees. (2007, February). Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Retrieved 10/06, 2008, from http://www.cic.gc.ca/english /department/media/ backgrounders2007/2007-02-09.asp. Background Note: Burma. (2008, June). Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. Retrieved October 6, 2008 fromhttp://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/35910.htm. Binkley, D. & M. (2007, March). Why are the Karen Refugees? Retrieved October 11, 2008 from http://www.karenkonnection.org/Why%20are%20the%20Karen %20refugees.php3. Bowles, E. (1998, August). From village to camp: refugee camp life in transition on the Thailand-Burma Border. Force Migration Review. Retrieved October 9, 2008 from http://www.reliefweb.int/library/RSC_Oxford/data/FMR%5CE nglish%5CFMR02%5Cfmr203.pdf. Buadaeng, K. (2007). “Ethnic identities of the Karen peoples in Burma and Thailand.” In Inman, P.B., Peacock, J. L., & Thornton, P.M. (Eds.). Identity Matters: Ethnic and Secretarian Conflict. United States: Berghahn Books. Pp.73-98. Cooper, A. (2008). Course lectures. Presented to EDEL 335, University of Alberta. Dailey, J., Kemp C., Robinson, A., Smith, J. & Vu, M. (2007). Karen People: A Cultural Profile. Burma Refugees Site. Retrieved October 10, 2008 from http://agapeclinic.googlepages.com/karen_people. Karen and Lisu. (2008). Guide to Thailand. Retrieved October 12, 2008 from http://www.guidetothailand.com/northernthailand/northern-hill-tribes-lisu-karen.htm. Graceffo, A. (2007, October). Shackled by the Kneck. Go A Broad. Net. Retrieved October 4, 2008 from http://www.goabroad.net/Brooklynmonk/journals/795. Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, F. P. (2009). Joining together: Group theory and group skills (10th ed.) Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc. Karen Website. (2000). Retrieved October 3, 2008, from http://www.karen.org/. Lewis, E., & P. (1984). “Karen.” Peoples of the Golden Triangle: Six Tribes in Thailand. New York: Thames and Hudson Inc. pp. 68-99. McGill, D. (2007, February). The Town that Loves Refugees. Christianity Today. Feb2007, Vol. 51 Issue 2, p96-103. Mekong. (2008). Sgaw Karen Profile. Retrieved October 9, 2008 from http://www.infomekong.com/karen.htm Mortimer, A. A. (2004, August). An Examination of Current Provision of Education for Children with Special Educational Needs in Karen refugee camp schools at the Thai-Myanmar border. Retrieved October 20, 2008 from http://www.eenet.org.uk/keyissues/refugees/karenrefugees.doc News Release: Canada to welcome 2,000 more Karen refugees. (2007, February). Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Retrieved October 6, 2008 fromhttp://www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/media/releases/2 007/2007-02-09.asp Prasad, S. (2008, October 3). Lecture. Presented to EDEL 435, University of Alberta. Robins, K. N., Lindsey, R. B., Lindsey, D. B., & Terrell, R. D. (2006). Culturally proficient instruction: A guide for people who teach 2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. Salend, Spencer J. (2005). Differentiating large- and small- group instruction. In Inclusive education: Adapting instruction for students with special needs (pp. 276-310). Boston: Pearson Custom Publishing. Sudhamongkol, P., (n.d.) “The Karen”. 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Retrieved October 25, 2008 from http://www.metacafe.com/watch/1043970/amazing_grace_in_the_k aren_language/---amazing. Binkley, D. & M. (December, 2005). Some Camp Houses Images. Karen Connection Website Photo Gallery. Retrieved October 11, 2008 from http://karenkonnection.org/gallery/main.php?g2_itemId=1555. Buddha. (2008). Cardinal Photo. Retrieved October 27, 2008 from http://www.cardinalphoto.com/photos/dps-406/Pl_SagawaBurma_Resized.jpg. Burma Map. (2008). Google Maps Canada. Retrieved October 28, 2008 from http://maps.google.ca/maps?hl=en&q=map+Burma&um=1&ie=UTF8&sa=X&oi=geocode_result&resnum=1&ct=image. Elder and Young Karen. (2008). Mekong. Retrieved October 9, 2008 from http://www.infomekong.com/karen.htm. Fires Burn as Monks are Beaten by the Army. (September, 2007). Metro.co.uk News. Retrieved October 26, 2008 from http://www.metro.co.uk/news/article.html?in_article_id=67609&in_ page_id=34. Free Burma. (May, 2008). Defy Criminal Burmese Junta. 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