Professor emeritus/author, CSU Sacramento. Worked with Mien student population in Washington Unified School District. Currently living in Davis, California.
00:00 – Introduction
00:45 – Clip 1
Lorie reflects back to the 1980s when she began working (at Washington Unified’s Newcomers Center at Golden State Middle School) with the hill tribes people (mainly Hmong, Mien, Lao, and some Cambodians) who were settling into West Sacramento.
02:58 – Clip 2
Recommends that when you have the challenge of meeting the needs of a completely new community and culture, look for the knowledge they bring with them.
07:13 – Clip 3
Explains how abstract the elementary school concept of literacy was to parents who had not attended school nor did they have a written language – and how challenging their situation was to have moved to an apartment complex under a freeway, where they could no longer grow their own food and be self-sustaining. Depression was common. Lorie responded to the need for Mien population to have a garden by arranging through school district to allow for community gardens.
16:06 – Clip 4
Explains that her middle school students, as they learned English, were able to interview their parents and then write books to record traditional knowledge about food and other components of Mien culture. In honor of Mien oral traditions, schools built storytelling huts in the gardens. Through the garden projects, all components of curriculum were addressed.
17:47 – Clip 5
Reflects on Mien parents’ “funds of knowledge.” Talks about Lou, her main “informant” (go-between from parents and school), who invited Lorie to accompany her twice back to area in Thailand, near Laotian border, where her family had remained hidden since the end of the Vietnam War, never going to a refugee camp or attempting to return to Laos (which was still too dangerous for Hmong or Mien to visit).
26:35 – Clip 6
Describes how amazed and intrigued family and village members were by Lou’s first return, after a 20-year separation. For days, villagers would come into the family’s hut to simply watch Lou, Lorie, and Lorie’s daughter. Gained tremendous respect for villagers’ skills at negotiating the jungle. Learned that “knowledge is relative to where you are.”
31:16 – Clip 7
Explains the importance of learning about another culture to truly understand your own. Suggests that although history tends to be presented as some sort of text, set in stone, “in actuality, the process of history is the process of being an historian.”
42:03 – Clip 8
Provides tips for working with non-English speaking parents, such as having an “informant” (go-between who can translate back and forth between parents and teachers). Recommends home visits. Suggests switching parent conferences to home visits.
46:42 – Clip 9
Stresses importance of thinking how you would deal differently with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd generation immigrants/refugees.
50:29 – Clip 10
Talks about 1st generation language challenges compared to 2nd generation, which is very different in that students may appear “totally like Americans,” but yet at home, they are not “mainstream.”
54:34 – Clip 11
References work of teacher/author Larry Ferlazzo, who has tasked the 2nd and 3rd generation Hmong students to help teach literacy to 1st generation immigrants/refugees, who were their parents or neighbors.
56:24 – Clip 12
Addresses importance of cultural competence in the classroom. When working with a multicultural populations, teachers need ability to analyze in cultural terms situations occurring in their classrooms and to have an understanding of how culture is affecting students. Recommends teachers start first by getting to know the community and neighborhood outside of school.
1:03:30 – Clip 13
Stresses importance of including students’ prior knowledge. If community practices become part of the curriculum, the school then becomes in service to its community. The community will support the school, if the school actually supports the community.
1:07:13 – Clip 14
Stresses value of oral history projects in support of the Common Core State Standards and to provide students with collaborative projects that can be shared back with the community (providing an authentic audience).
1:09:55 – Clip 15
Suggests need to offer students memorable projects, such as doing oral histories. Skills become meaningful when learned through engaging learning. Suggests we take a different view on how we regulate our time in teaching. It is “real” events (field trips, science experiments) that are memorable to students.
1:12:09 – Credits