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lenguages lenguages is offline
 
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Overcoming Social Barriers
Old 02-21-2017, 10:04 AM
 
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I am teaching all ESL Newcomers this year. I have a 5th grade Syrian student who is HIGHLY disrespectful to me and other females in the building. He routinely pushes girls out of his way in line, takes badly about them, sneers and laughs at me, and, I know on one occasion, referred to me as a pig.
We have tried to contact the parents who claim we are discriminating towards their son, who is very stressed.
The biggest issue is that the other boys in the group do the same thing when he is around, although if he is not around they are fine. So I do not know if it is a cultural issue or not. I am trying to figure out how to address it, because it is causing quite a few problems. Any help/advice would be great! Thanks!


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Tiamat Tiamat is offline
 
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Old 02-21-2017, 02:01 PM
 
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How would you address this behaviour if it wasn't a new arrival? Would you let the parents say it's okay? No? Then deal with it as you would any other student showing this level of disrespect. Every time. He lives in America (I assume) now and this is not how we behave here. Consequence. Lather, rinse, repeat.

If you can get somebody from his community that he does respect to explain it in his language, that may help.

We dealt with this a few years ago when we had an influx of Afghani refugees. It isn't easy.

And now we have our government making boneheaded decisions like this:

http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/par...71d872b735b38b
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Not an easy task
Old 04-11-2017, 01:12 PM
 
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We have many middle-east refugees where I am, and it is not at all uncommon to see males behave this way, even in adults. My friend who works directly in the refugee community says that wife beating is much more common once a family immigrates.

The cultural differences between America and the Middle East are striking. Males have much more "power" over there, and the disruption in their cultural reality brings a lot of stress. It would be ideal if he could be introduced to a well-adjusted citizen that has been through the same stress...
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Sorry
Old 06-18-2017, 11:02 AM
 
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This just makes me mad. It is disgusting. This is our country and schools. I agree with the previous poster who said treat it just like you would any student who wasn't a newcomer.
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Old 06-18-2017, 04:01 PM
 
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I work at a K-5 school with a high ESL population. We had 40 new refugee students last year from 6 different countries.

Do you know anything about this student's school history? Most of our Syrian students have limited formal schooling (or at best interrupted schooling) because of the situations they were living in. Likewise, our older elementary refugee students are more likely to act out because they have seen HORRENDOUS things and dealt with enormous amounts of stress. (We had a 5th grade student from Iraq this past year who came to us with a diagnosis of PTSD after his best friend was blown up right in front of him in Iraq.)

I'm not saying he should be allowed to behave in a way that endangers other students. In our school, we have found it helpful to develop meaningful relationships with our newcomer families (and all families, though with newcomer families it takes more work!). Our ESL teacher does a home visit with every monolingual family when they enroll (most are refugees, some are new immigrants). She and her team work hard to get to know the families so that when there are concerns like the one you posted about, she can find out what is really going on and they problem solve together as a team rather than seeming to come at them with problems only (or "discriminating towards their child").

In terms of in the moment behavior, at our school newcomer students follow the same behavior expectations and consequences as any other student AS LONG AS THEY UNDERSTAND WHAT THOSE EXPECTATIONS ARE. With some of our youngest newcomers or students who have never been in school, this can be an issue. At times, decisions are made about what is best for the child/children as people. Taking some time to talk about safety or respect concerns, practice expectations and get to know each other/show that you care about the student, will go a long way to help with behavior management going forward.

One last thing: We have 10+ Syrian students at our school right now, most are male. We also have more than 50 students from Iraq, Iran, or Turkey. We do not have issues at all with disrespect towards women from students from these cultures. In general, the families are extremely responsive to our teachers, they want to know what they can do to support their child learning in English, and they have high expectations for their children in terms of both academics and behavior at school. Respect is a HUGE thing. If it isn't happening, I would suggest a conference with an in-person translator to work on building a relationship with the family as soon as you can.


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Welp...
Old 06-18-2017, 05:53 PM
 
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Syria has been a dumpster fire since the 1990s.

5th graders are hormonal meat heads on a good day. I think this kid has a huge dose of hormones and trauma.

We have H-1B visa Syrians where I live, and Syrians being sponsored by family members. My sister's district has the people from the refugee camps. My area doesn't get those families.

My Syrian neighbor didn't live in the camps, but had family members who did, had relatives bombed out of their homes, or killed by gunfire.

IF this kid was in a camp, all the macho BS is a survival tactic. Who knows how much he has seen. Who knows if he had to steal to keep himself going. School was most likely not a concern when getting food and water trumps reading.

Where I live, at least one Syrian family member has a university degree. Those Syrian families are extremely hard core about education. The city my sister lives in, the true camp refugees may be functionally illiterate in their own language. Dad may have went to school until age 10 and was working in a family business. Mom may have grew up on a farm, and can only sign her name. Those families don't "get" education. They get hustling to survive. In their own country, that 5th grader would have been pulled out of school to work in the family restaurant if he was a PITA at school.

My social work friend in my sister's district treats refugee kids like how you would handle a foster care child. Just because you put a kid in a crushy home with nice parents doesn't undue the 10 years of trauma from the bio parents. Just because a kid hits the universe lotto to get into the US, doesn't eraser all the nonsense he saw in his home country. Both types of kids hard core act out because they have learned to only depend on themselves. I put on a big show because the weak get bullied and tormented or don't eat.

If mom and dad are clueless about school, you may have to just drive it home to him, this is how we act here. It may be a hot mess at home if the parents don't know any English and have a minimal support system. This kid may be coming from messy home situation to drowning at school.

About the culture...

Personally, Syrians aren't much different from the Polish and Italian families I knew growing in the 1970s. My friends' fathers ruled the roost with an iron fist. Dad made the decisions, and everyone went along. He said if mom could work. Girls didn't go out with any guy who showed up on the porch. No way in hell did you wear make up or short skirts. Everyone's butt better be to church at 10 am. Dad decide if the girls would go to college or get a job in the family business. Syrian culture is very much the man is in charge, but my neighbor wasn't anymore over the top than my friend Maria's dad from Poland in 1976.

This kid is like an onion. Once you start peeling back some layers, I bet it's not he likes to yank everyone's chain, but a whole garbage truck of issues. Where I live, the Syrian fathers handle everything with the teachers. The moms try to smooth out problems because no one wants to see the husband/father blow up.

HTH..
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Old 06-20-2017, 07:34 AM
 
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Most of my ELLs are from middle eastern countries, half of them male and I have never experienced anything like that. The most gender specific thing I've experienced is a fifth grade boy from Iraq who insists on holding the door open for me.
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