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Mesquakie Renegade Makes Good



Case Study-Graduate Students
 


You are to post your standards based case studies here.
Criterion discussed in class March 18th. assignment DUE April 15th.

G. Myhlhousen-Leak

Response:

Author Name: Sandra Hugus
Title of Case: Mesquakie Renegade Makes Good
Grade Level(s): 10

Subject : Tim
and/or
Teaching topic:

Community Factors:

General Population- drawn from all over the state

Diversity : Culture/Ethnicity – black, Hispanic, Indian, and white

Diversity: Religion- Students were taken to the churches of their faith by various staff members if they expressed an interest in going. Few did, but we were willing. Some used it as an outing rather than being very religious. Jewish, Catholic and protestant churches were available in Marshalltown and Tama-Toledo. At that time, if we had anyone of any more exotic faith, it was undeclared.

Economics- lower economic level to below poverty line, but I do remember one son of a superintendent of schools who was briefly there when Tim was.

School Factors:

Building and facilities of School- Herbert Hoover High School at the Iowa State Juvenile Home, opened Sept. 1, 1920, in Toledo.

Age- Before that, the school was the site of a college. The actual school building and cafeteria are from a later period, but the residence cottages are still original.

Computer labs- At the time Tim was there, computers had yet to be invented.

Student population- 150 at any one time, but over 350 would float through during any one academic year.

Teacher population- 10, Caucasians except for one Asian who spoke Tagalo as well as English. (Two were ex-ministers, and one an ex-nun.)



ESL Teacher(s)- None. (I’d never heard of that field at that time.) I taught Spanish, which was the only foreign language. Fewer than ten students, and generally under five would be interested in it. Generally, if they were not in a language in the school they came from, they were not put in one at Herbert Hoover (the school part of the Iowa Juvenile Home.) We were more concerned with getting basic skills up to a decent level.

ESL Paraprofessional(s)- 0, but plenty of special people and individualized programs.


Achievement testing- Iowa Basic Skills tests were given regularly. A staff-designed battery of placement tests were administered during the first week of each student’s stay.

Curricular and extra curricular emphases- Providing a good background in basic skill areas and core courses was the focus. Students were given individualized programs that were dovetailed with their areas of greatest need. Most were in some kind of a reading class, which I occasionally taught, a basic English class (I taught all of them) and Speech.

We competed in the area in football, basketball, track, baseball, softball, and my girlfriend and I ran horsemanship programs and took students around the state to horse shows. Any staff resource was used if the opportunity arose. Lifetime activities were stressed in the PE and recreation programs, things they could do on their own without benefit of teams. Archery, badminton bowling, swimming, etc.

Recent reforms-(No Child Left Behind) (I’ve been away from there since 1976…)

Teacher Attitudes- One time when a new Hispanic student was admitted, he was stuck into my 9th grade English class. He could not read the sentence, “Having a friend and being a friend are two of life’s greatest pleasures.”

It came out as “have friend, be friend.” I dropped the level of his material. When he could not read the word “garage”, I took another look at the kid's well-tanned skin, straight black hair, and warm chocolate eyes and said, “garaje.” (Spanish for garage.)

Bingo. After class, I beat it down to the principal’s office and chewed a bit in rage at doing that to a student without warning his staff. He was afraid we’d be prejudiced, but I quickly pointed out that without going to EXTREME MEASURES, nobody on his staff was going to be able to communicate with him at all, much less well enough to express prejudice. Only two of us, the Philippino history teacher and I, could communicate well with him. As so often happened with students we had there, he disappeared back into the juvenile justice system within a few days, as uneducated as when he came.

Since I was at the Juvenile Home for 9 years, and that was the only time I can remember having a non-Indian, non-native English speaker, I am assuming our Iowa population was simply less diverse back then than it is now.

Teachers met to discuss every student every Friday after classes. We could do 150 kids in 30 minutes, trading techniques, insights, festerings, keeping focused on the plan for each and how they were doing. A school psychologist was also present at the meetings.

Student Attitudes- Fights were rare, as the discipline was quite strong, and behaviors far less serious were handled immediately, so it was rare for things to escalate into an actual fight. I saw two in the classroom in nine years. In the public school where I am now, we have more (not actually IN the classrooms, but during the school day). We do more like two a semester most years. Students who were reading reluctant and learning reluctant when they entered generally learned to at least TRY, as the incentives to do so were all one way and enforced in the cottage as well as the school. Everyone was rowing the boat in the same direction…so most students stayed on board. Compliance was their ticket OUT.

Classroom Factors:

Social distance: (Use a low-moderate-high degree scale to categorize social distance factors)

Social dominance- Dominantly Caucasian, with never more than 25% black, and 5% Indian. No Asians among the students during this period, and only the one non-English proficient Hispanic. Whichever group had the oldest/biggest kids ruled when adults were out of sight, which was RARE. Since some of our kids were 21, our football line was HUGE, but not very adept at team plays, so we didn’t dominate most of the time.

Integration pattern- full integration of each student, regardless of race, etc. Nobody got to sit it out.

Enclosure- Well, very few students went home during their stay, then only toward the end to see how they could get along back in the home communities where the problems that sent them to us had developed, so this one just doesn’t seem to apply. The kids developed an institutional language to talk about their situations. “When I was on the outs, I…” (“Before I was sent up”, or “In my home community…”)

Cohesiveness- Once the students had been in SJH for a while, they were pretty adjusted, but since there were always new ones coming, and old ones earning release, no one class was ever cohesive. The average stay at SJH was three months, but some came for a three week evaluation period, whereas others were with us for a year or rarely a year and a half. More common was release and a period of some months away, then a return for whatever reasons. If they were too disruptive for our setting (not locked in, go to and from school and sometimes town unsupervised), they were sent to Mitchellville or Eldora.

Size- 150 in grades 9-12 on average (Or maybe that was the at one time capacity of the cottages.)

Cultural congruence- as varied as the population of Iowa. All came in knowing nobody, or nearly nobody, from anywhere in the state.

Attitude- Every child came in highly negative, defensive, and wounded in some way, but after a while, they’d learn that EVERYBODY on staff was there to help them, and they were constantly taught techniques that would help them to help themselves. Focusing on what they could have done differently, how the incident could be avoided, what they learned, and no success at blaming others for their plight generally worked in the staff’s favor. We were not in the punishment business.

Intended length of residence- As short as possible, keeping in mind that we wanted to effect permanent attitude/behavioral changes.

Level of Staffing- student/teacher ratio was generally 10/1 or so. We’d have peak times of the
year when things would pile up, but the flow stayed pretty steady.

Resources & Material

Traditional- Standard curriculum

Computer Based- (not invented yet)

Parental Involvement –

In class- none

Out class- none to negative

Contacts- usually arranged by their social worker. If these kids had adequate parenting, most would not have been in the situations they were and we would never have seen them.


Teacher Characteristics:
Age-between 21-30 while teaching at SJH

Sex- female

Country of Origin- USA

Grade level(s)- high school English and Spanish. I also on occasion taught overflow reading and speech.

Degree(s) and endorsements- BA, English major, Spanish minor, now have reading as well, but then I did not.

Post-graduate years of experience teaching- I started there right out of college and stayed 9 years. I have now been teaching for 37 years.

Number of years in current position- 28

Years of experience with ESOL students- Currently, I have one Russian student, but his English is fairly decent and he gets along well. I’ve never had one that I couldn’t talk to some way.

Variety of experience with ESOL students-

Once a missionary came home with children who had been born all over the world, Peru, Turkey, Italy, and spoke those languages, but their English was rusty to decidedly ODD. Again, I used Spanish simple commands with logic and got along great with the 9th grade girl who was fluent in Italian and could remember some Spanish from Peru.

Outside of school, I have taught English to highly motivated Japanese business men who were employed by IBM (beginning in 7th grade), and taught Polish nationals working on 13 month work visas during the cold war period.

Student Characteristics:

Age- 14-15

Sex- male

Grade- 10th

Country of origin- Mesquakie Indian Settlement (they are the only tribe to own their own land.) within the state of Iowa.

Culture/ethnic origin- Mesquakie

Number of years in schools- up to 8th grade was taught by Native teachers in the native language on the settlement. Most of the students also spoke English, but not well, as to go shopping, etc. they had to leave the settlement and do it in “regular” stores.

Number of years in American schools- 2 (in the public school system)

Number of languages the student can speak other than English- 1

Level of proficiency in native tongue-L1- I don’t really know, but I would guess that it was high, as he was a very verbal child.

Level of proficiency in English- fluent

Family Structure-(list all those present in the home)
Parents- SJH students were invariably wards of the state, but he had Indian parents who could have come to see him, but did not.

Siblings- unknown, as I do not read the student’s files unless they ask me to – too depressing for little or no reward generally.

Housing- Homes on the settlement were built by the US government in many cases, but allowed to fall into disrepair in many cases. Tim’s was normal for the area.

Social Economic Level- low

Educational Level of primary caregiver(s)- (well, all our staff were certified, etc. but the parents would have been low.)

Curriculum Characteristics (Select emphasis based on curricular focus,& rank order selections)

Emphasis on a coordinated curriculum (9-12)-2
Emphasis determined by interest of the teacher-x
Emphasis on practical knowledge and use outside of school-3
Emphasis on remedial work-1
Emphasis on preparation for post-secondary education-4

Story:
My ninth/tenth grade English class had a variety of ages, colors, ethnic backgrounds, and underlying problems. When we hit the unit on speech, required for a semester by the state curriculum guidelines, nobody would get up and talk.

I took a cardboard pencil box and emptied it, filling it with tiny slips of paper, each of which had a topic on it. They were simple, one word topics that anyone would know something about.

As the students entered the classroom, I had them file into a line and adorn the blackboard instead of sitting down. They got to sit AFTER they talked. On topic.

One student gave a memorable speech. Tim was a Mesquakie Indian boy who grew up on the Mesquakie settlement right outside of Tama, Iowa. The Indian students were taught by Mesquakie teachers for the first eight years, in an Indian language of the Sauk-Fox language group. Many had very poor English skills when they hit high school, even though they grew up surrounded by people who only spoke English once they got off the tribe’s 800 acres, more or less. Frequently, movements came up to require the Mesquakie teachers to be certified like the other schools, but the tribe owned their own land and claimed tribal rights to keep their language and culture going. (This was long before the casino…)

I do not know what Tim did to get himself sent to the State Juvenile Home in Toledo, Tama’s sister city, occupying the land basically on the north of Highway 30, while Tama had the south, where Highways 63 and 30 junctioned.

Since Tim was quite articulate and had a great sense of humor, it was always hard to keep this sunny dispositioned trouble maker on task. He could do far better than he would. A talented mimic, he once impersonated Mr. Killstoff’s deep, vibrant voice so closely that the students in his room dashed to their seats and opened their history books, then looked around, confused, as Mr. K. was NOT yet in the room.

Tim’s topic was "polls". But he started talking about poles, and how to build a POLE BARN from discarded telephone poles. He ran several minutes over before he got them all set and the supporting crosspieces screwed in… Nobody minded. He made you want to climb into the tractor’s rickety bucket and try to drill into that old post yourself. He was an engaging story teller.

Tim was one of only two Indian students at the Juvenile Home at that time. The other was a beautiful girl who was the top of the class even when she chose to "hide". Holly wore pony beads on a string, turquoise and slightly larger than the head of a pin. One day, while we were taking a test, she began putting her finger between her neck and the beads, running it back and forth, putting outward pressure on the necklace as she worked steadily away on her test.

Suddenly into the quite of the room came the sound of the beads popping and bouncing all around the front of the room. Holly turned her test over, carefully began collecting the beads and pouring them into a conical shaped piece of notebook paper she’d made to store them. When she’d gotten them all, she lay the paper on the desk and went back to her test. Soon, the pull of the beads was too strong for her, and she again turned her paper over and began to restring the beads. Before anyone else had finished the test, they were all back on the string. Tying the end, she slipped the necklace back on and again went to work on her test. Forgetting about the break in the string, she was soon again running her finger back and forth over the beads.

They again popped, scattering and bouncing in the silent classroom.

Tim quipped, "Well, I guess Holly flunks Indian bead work!"

He put his fluency, wit, and voices to good work. After he got out, I saw him once more.
"Guess what I’m doing?"

"I’m just relieved it’s not the HARD TIME you always claimed you wouldn’t mind doing!"

He laughed. "I’m the 7 a.m. DJ at WHO on Sunday mornings."

"Oh, what a perfect job for you! Do you like it?"



"Perfect. I’m even in college now."


Everyone needs to hear about a few successes along the way.
Talking shop with a Tama-Toledo high school teacher once, I was surprised to hear how much of a trouble- maker Tim was in their school, and in her class. Her main complaint was that he would not use English. Of course, he had other Indians from his tribe in that school system, some with very poor language skills, so "hiding" must have been easier. He would have been under pressure not to make the other Indian students look bad if they could not perform up to his ability. I think half of the reason that he did not hide at the Juvenile home had more to do with his obvious crush on Holly, who was BRIGHT and not from his tribe, so she had to share things with him in English, not his native language. He did NOT want her to view him as a fool. Clown, okay, but a witty, loveable one. If Tim picked up his English competence in a year or two, to the ability he showed in language word play, nuance, and understanding, he must have been very proficient in his first language at the Mesquakie school, judging from the research quoted in the Piper text. The Mesquakies legitimately fear losing their tribal language, as have many other tribes that become engulfed by the mainstream culture around them. Life on the settlement is pretty basic. The bright kids tend to leave, dropping their “Indianness” in the bargain. Without working for Whites, decent employment opportunities were few before the casino opened. Students who stayed on the settlement did not need to master English for the day to day living.

TEOSL Practitioner Standard Focus: : 2: Culture Domain. 2b. Cultural groups and Identity.


Questions for Reflection: (You should include three or four questions.)
1. What factors contributed to the local school’s Indian population’s lack of
desire to speak English?
2. Should the teacher have interrupted Tim’s presentation to correct his
understanding of polls by explaining the spelling difference between the
homonyms? Why or why not?
3. How did the teacher encourage the students to talk in front of each other?
What other techniques could she have used?
4. What techniques did Tim use to make an activity his audience had probably never engaged in feel as if they were there?

Activities for Extended Thinking: (You should include one or two activities)
1. Do other groups also face cultural pressure to present a “united front” to outsiders? Does this sometimes go against their own self-interest? Share your answers with people in your group.
2. Is there a benefit to retaining ancient customs, languages, and ways of life that may have outlived their obvious usefulness to the holders of these customs? Give concrete examples.

Responses to Questions for Reflection: (List examples of acceptable and unacceptable responses to case questions.)
Acceptable
1.
•Emphasis on L1 in their early schooling on the settlement by Indian teachers, ignoring the L2 students would soon need to find themselves competent in. (Decided by the Indian council.)
•Tribal unity demanded that one student not excel past where others could also go in front of the Whites.
•Fear of losing the tribal language as it is overtaken by English for daily life activities by the youth. Making it important in school is one of the few ways the tribe can insure it will still be used by their youth.
2. •Tim may not have been familiar with the other type of poll.
•Potentially embarrassing a student is never productive.
3. •Having students enter the room and stand along the wall until they'd chosen topics and spoken on them before they could sit.
•Encourage students to talk on the topics among themselves first in more natural conversations.
•Let them pick topics they were comfortable talking on.
4. •Explaining the process in concrete details that the audience would have familiarity with.

Unacceptable
1. The local school probably disciplined the Indian students. He should have been disciplined for making fun of another student, and called down for talking during a test, which is against the rules. (Their skin is a different color.)
2. It is never acceptable to ignore spelling mistakes in a school setting. The students were probably laughing AT him for not knowing what a POLL was.
3. •Stand them up near their seats and have them pick ever stranger topics out of a bowl.
•Lower their grades every time they won’t perform.
4. He laughed as he talked. He had a funny accent. Even city people have at least SEEN pole barns.

Responses to Activities for Extending Thinking:
Acceptable

1. (Any example of immigrant groups facing problems.)
2. Diversity needs to be celebrated, not denigrated.
In some areas, Indian knowledge is just now being
recognized as valid by modern day science.
Unacceptable
1. (That’s so open ended, I can’t think of a way to mess it up.)
2. No, it just complicates people’s lives needlessly.

Additional Comments:


(Case Study Project: reflects an integration of selected components of Cortes’ Contextual Interaction Model, Schumanns’ Acculturation Model, TESOL Practitioner Standards, and Redmans’ Case Study Design.)


TESOL Practitioner Standards
Domain 1: Language
1.a. Describing Language
1.b. Language acquisition and development
Domain 2: Culture
2.a. Nature and Role of Culture
2.b. Cultural Groups and Identity
Domain 3: Planning, Implementing, and Managing Instruction
3.a. Planning for Standards-Based ESL and Content Instruction
3.b. Managing and Implementing Standards-Based ESL and Content Instruction
3.c. Using Resources Effectively in ESL and Content Instruction
Domain 4: Assessment
4.a. Issues of Assessment for ESL
4.b. Language Proficiency Assessment
4.c. Classroom-Based Assessment for ESL
Domain 5: Professionalism
5.a. ESL Research and History
5.b. Partnership and Advocacy
5.c. Professional Development and Collaboration
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