This course was not as expected it to be. Upon entering Writing 2 I thought that this course was going to be the mindless pumping out of essays with an occasional comment about immigration reform. The course turned out to be so much more, from learning to correctly incorporate sources and the discovering of real campus resources for undocumented peoples. I feel as though this course has prepared me for upper division courses because not only can I analyze in class readings, make a dialectal double entry journal, I also learned how to research for future essays.
I think that many students should take this course because not only does it teach necessary writing skills and techniques it also addresses very politically active topics that are often underrepresented in our society. I personally never knew how hard it is for undocumented immigrants to gain citizenship and how awfully most are treated even though most are only attempting to survive. I thought the readings really expanded my scope of reality and how I should perceive what is going on around me. Learning to analyze academic texts also helped me to gain insight on the relationship between education and immigration in our society.
I also learned how to correctly incorporate a thesis that would cover the entirety of my essay especially in Essay One about what education is to me personally. I also had an enjoyable experience in writing groups I realized how necessary peer review is to the quality of someone’s essay. For example with Essay Three my peers helped me to see who I could construct my essay differently so that it would flow cohesively. It was a good experience for me to also share my opinions and thoughts with my peers. I felt like everyone was able to see pieces that were missing in the essays that the authors could not see for themselves.
Thank you Yolanda Venegas for such an enjoyable Writing 2 experience I will take all the resources and lessons I learned in class to my upper division courses!Raquel Sweeney
Mental Health Among Latino Immigrant Youth
The ability to form relationships and the association of behavior/our social identification is a direct relation to how we were raised and the memories made when our brain was in its most cognitive state, which happens to be during childhood and early adulthood. Important experiences that happen while we are young adversely affects how will eventually perceive the world and ourselves. When children and adults are subjected to extreme stress and are without resources for proper processing, they are left vulnerable to developing disorders that can affect personal development. There are two different types of stress that undocumented youth experience. First, is the stress as a direct result of the physical migration process, the second type negative feelings and moods associated with cultural adaptation. The emotional impact of crossing into America can cause trauma based on the likelihood of theft and abuse during the expedition. Once children and possibly their families have conquered the obstacle of physically getting into the country thus comes the emotional chaos of learning how to integrate into society and what roles one will take on. This research paper will take an in depth search to discover how immigration affects the mental health of children who have migrated to America as undocumented.
Review of Literature
Immigration is a burden on most people, the physical journey from one place to an entirely new place is exhausting. I want to narrow my focus on how immigration affects the mental health of Latino child immigrants. It does not matter whether the migration is legal or illegal it is very hard especially for young children to understand the motivation behind migration and how to cope with the experience of being uprooted, traveling an extensive journey, and the reassimilation to a new place. The sources that I have found concerning this topic in my paper address the development of the adolescent brain and how immigration for children is a mental stressors. These articles also examine how a child’s behavior is a direct result from experiences that have happened in the most cognitive state which is at a very young age.
Mental health and emotional stability stems from what we learn in our youth and the impact our guardians have on us. Without a strong, secure guardian and the inability to learn how to cope with stress we can lose ourselves to depression, anxiety, substance abuse etc. Many immigrant children or the children of undocumented people are constantly. If they don’t have to cross dangerous borders alone they have to live in fear about their parents being deported. This forces these children into stereotypes that also criminalizes them for something that they are in no control of the Child Care, Health Development documented children of undocumented residents were found to be more depressed and less likely to be maintain relationships with other people.
More that 60,000 children cross the United States border alone and then are criminalized for breaking immigration laws that are beyond their control. My question is how is it fair to deport young immigrants and not facilitating the resources for them to be able to gain care. Without legal representation these children are more likely to be cycled into foster care where their sense of self security is jeopardizes their communication and social skills. It creates unstable people that end up hurting others and putting future children in the same position as the abandoned youth.
It is important to consider how many youth are undocumented in America. According to the Pew Center of Research in the journal article Estimates of the Size and Characteristics of the Undocumented Population in 2005 there were about 1.7 million undocumented Latino Youth. The process of calculating the estimated population of undocumented peoples is conducted through subtracting the native population from foreign born people and the use the remaining data to estimate the total number of undocumented immigrants. The use of the methodology of specialized calculations is used because there is no way the Census can truly count the number of undocumented immigrants. Research conducted by the Census shows that immigration has steadily risen from the beginning of the early 2000s. The Pew Center of Research estimates that Mexicans make up the largest group of the undocumented population about 54 percent of undocumented people migrate from Mexico. Another 2.5 million undocumented immigrants are from other Latin American countries. The information on immigration concludes that one in every six undocumented people are children.
The source from the American Journal of Community Psychology put forth an article by Fabricio Balacazar called Policy Statement on the Incarceration of Undocumented Migrant Families. Fabricio Balacazar analyzes the Department of Homeland Security’s policy of detaining migrants and their families and those who cannot attain a bond will not be released. The court has challenged these practices numerous times, and at one point 44 senators of the democratic caucus wrote a letter the the head of Homeland Security pleading to not detain migrant families in extreme situations. Balacazar argues there is no way to humanely detain immigrant families, so the public must urge the government to change its policies and practices. Balacazar makes the point that the psychological effect on undocumented children and their families are extreme. He explains that often times children whose parents are detained and then likely deported experience depression, anxiety, and sometimes post-stress traumatic disorder. Balacazar conducted a study in which he examined 10 undocumented children that had been detained and reported all of them exhibited self-harming behavior, had depression, and major anxiety. The children also reported trouble sleeping, hopelessness, suicidal thoughts as a result of extreme stress.
One of the sources I used in my research paper I used an article from J Immigrant Minority Health titled I Didn’t Ask to Come to this Country…I was a Child: The Mental Health Implications of Growing Up Undocumented by Jeanne-Marie R. Stacciarini. Stacciarini’s paper details the psychological impact that immigration has on children especially those who did not want to immigrate. As a result of immigration, specifically Latino children and adolescents tend to develop depression and anxiety disorders more frequently. Stacciarini describes that school is the only protective environment for undocumented children to be treated as equals . Once they leave the school environment they are subjected to alienation by not being able to transition normally into adulthood. Other disadvantages that undocumented youth are subjected to are the obvious differences in culture such as the difficulty of learning English that objectifies them among their peers. On an individual level undocumented adolescents are subjected to social isolation, depression,and fear.
Daniel Pine and Judith Cohen of the Biological Psychiatry Journal wrote the Trauma in Children and Adolescents: Risk and Treatment of Psychiatric Sequale. Pine and Cohen was originally investigating the impact of terrorism on the mental health of young children. They decided to conduct a study in which they examined different types of stress that caused youth to be more susceptible to anxiety and depressive disorders . Abuse was among the number one stressor that caused victims to feel isolated. It is well known that a large number of immigrants come to states out of refuge among those are children. The emotional impact of persecution pre migration leads to many cases of PTSD. The crossing of the border leaves many children and adults susceptible to violence, rape, abuse, and murder. According to the study this type of abuse has long term effects on youth.
The Crucible published an article about Social Roles, Self Esteem, and Ethnic identity among undocumented youth and the overall impact on how these factors influenced the way way social relationships are formed and the effects on self development. The authors described the difficulty of assimilation into American culture and the conflict with trying to preserve one’s native cultural practices and traditions. Immigrant youth are found to be more willing to accept assimilation into America than their parents. Inter familial conflict is thus spurred when the rigidity of cultural practices are put upon youth who are accepting more individualized practices. The wedge between families and youths can cause higher levels of stress, anxiety, and depression.
Analysis of the Literature
Immigration is not new to America; we are quite literally a nation built on waves of migrants in search for refuge, opportunity, or freedom from persecution. In 2005 out of the millions of undocumented immigrants that reside in America 1.9 million of those were children or young adults under the age of 18 years (Pew, March 2005). According to those numbers that was one sixth of the population eleven years ago now the numbers have rose significantly. Children or young adults are more frequently making the trek from their home country to America and this is happening whilst their brains are still developing and processing information that they will use to guide them as members of society. Children and young adults are expected to find and conform to their social and ethnic identities and yet the instability of not belonging anywhere affects what cultural ties that young people will make. Fabricio Balcazar from the American Psychological Association on the Policy Statement on the Incarceration of Undocumented Migrant Families reported that most times children who immigrate with their families or parents are “… fleeing violence, domestic and or family abuse, and or dangerous gang-related activity from which their governments have been unable to protect them” (Journal of Psychology, April 2016). Balacazar explains that most times people must immigrate with their families as means of survival. Immigration is necessary in order to protect children and adolescents from poverty, violence, and persecution and yet the migration process still leaves them susceptible to gaining stress disorders. Instability is rooted within migrant children; no place is safe enough if they stay in their home country they could potentially fall into the government’s corruption or gang related activity, thus migration is necessary.
Many parents uproot their children and bring them to America so that they might have a chance to lead a better life than the one they left behind. Unfortunately, the extreme stressors of making journeys like crossing the Mexican-American border can cause long term mental health issues of undocumented youth. Daniel Pine and Judith Cohen who are Biological Psychiatrists conducted a study in which they closely examined the effects of trauma on adolescents depending on the situation ranging from physical abuse to sniper attacks. The research was analyzed with many scenarios and subject groups to ensure validity. The findings indicated that “…trauma appears particularly strong and consistent with symptoms of depressive and anxiety disorders, as opposed to other mental syndromes. Among the anxiety disorders, symptoms of PTSD, acute stress disorder, separation anxiety, and generalized anxiety disorders each represent relatively common problems following exposure to extreme stress” (Pine, Cohen, 3). Young immigrant adolescents typically experience some form of this trauma whether it is preexisting in their home country or happens during migration. The book Women and Therapy carefully analyzes the dangerous journey of crossing the border especially for women, in which migrants are susceptible to robbery, rape, murder, and imprisonment (Amy Frieman, 12). Women and children are more susceptible to rape and abuse which has long impacting effects on the mental health of victims. Often times victims subjected to abuse report feeling worthless and having their identity undermined. As a result of such trauma we can conclude that undocumented children are more likely to experience behavioral issues, are susceptible to developing disorders relating with stress, and could have difficulty forming and maintaining social relationships.
Once undocumented families arrive in the United States they are immediately plagued with the worry of deportation. A whole new type of stress is inflicted upon immigrant youth. If they have endured the long physically tasking journey to America, then they must try to assimilate and adapt a new social and ethnic role. According to Ruben Rumbaut in The International Migration Review “Youths see and compare themselves in relation to those around them, based on their social similarity or dissimilarity with the reference groups that most directly affect their experiences – e.g., with regard to such visible and socially categorized markers as gender, race, accent, language, class, religion, and nationality. Ethnic self-awareness is heightened or blurred, respectively, depending on the degree of dissonance or consonance of the social contexts which are basic to identity formation” (The Crucible, 1994). Developing youth use their peers as guides to conform to a normalized society. Part of the process of assimilation is to act according to what culture and traditions are most prevalent in a specific region. Undocumented youth at some point figure out that they are not considered American even though it is the only home they have been accustomed to. For example, from the selection of personal anecdotes Papeles most personal accounts describe their alienation amongst their peers. One student named Eva who contributed her story to the Papeles project and she described how she had to keep her immigration status a secret because her peers would discriminate and threaten their counterparts (Jose Manuel, 2012). Most of the youth from the book Papeles describe how they live in fear and alienation and have no ability to voice their concerns because of the fear of deportation. For people who have experienced trauma or live in constant anxiety and do not have resourcles to help them overcome those obstacles are more likely to feel hopeless which in many cases lead to depressive disorders.
According to Jean-Marie R. Stacciarini “…first generation, undocumented Latino adolescents, dissatisfaction with the migration decision substantially increases the odds of developing depression or anxiety disorders…” (Minority Health, June 2014). Stacciarini inquires how most of the time children who come to America come at a very young age and learn to assimilate with American culture, but once they can consciously register their own social identity they find they are excluded from activities or rights which not only would affect them as citizens but also would disrupt the growth into adulthood. Undocumented adolescents have to watch peers who are their equals transitioning into to adulthood with rights to vote, to drive, to hold a job. The inequality amongst their peers are recognized and most learn that the wall that separates them from the rest of society are paper thin. The isolation that undocumented youth feel from society tries to convince them they are not worthy of legal citizenship based solely from the land where they were born which leads to isolation and depression. It becomes hard for undocumented students to find a supportive community in which they are not subjected to alienation, discrimination, and classicism.
As many different factors of immigration are examined that play roles in the social and cognitive development of adolescents we also have to consider how family dynamics of immigrant families influence the mental health of youth. It is common for undocumented children and young adults to assimilate into American culture more readily than their elder counterparts. This can cause a rift in family ties when parents take longer to integrate into American culture. Based on a study of acculturation conflict can happen when children of immigrant families adapt to the more individualized American culture that strays away from normative cultural practices (Acculturation and Latino Family Processes, 5). In cases with Latino families it was shown that “…external boundaries may become rigid to preserve the cultural roles and patterns of their culture of origin (Hernandez & McGoldrick). In turn, it appears that this rigidity elicits intergenerational conflicts when parents react to the rapid assimilation of children. Consequently, parent-adolescent acculturation gaps may decrease family cohesion and adaptability, increase family conflict, fuel adolescent rebellion, alienate parents and adolescents, and contribute to adolescent behavioral problems” (Acculturation and Latino Family Processes, 6). It can be stressful for undocumented children when they try to culturally adapt so they might integrate and to be like their peers, but their parents aggressively encourage their children to preserve their native traditions and culture. It can be confusing and could ultimately be a source of instability since often times an immigrant’s native culture and tradition is used as an argument for why they do not belong as citizens. In a sense to truly gain citizenship people must pledge complete allegiance to American culture thus becoming hard for undocumented youth to choose an ethnic identity to conform to. Often times it forces these adolescents to choose between their families and an opportunity to lead the most normal life which can cause stress, anxiety, and depression.
Immigrating to America in hopes of survival can perversely affect the mental stability of young people because of the extreme stress and pressure concerning the unpredictability of the migration journey and the assimilation into American culture. As many research studies have shown, undocumented children are susceptible to negative mental health effects because their development is directly influenced by trauma. Society disapproves of immigration so heavily that there are no resources for children affected by acute stress. We create a population of children who turn into adults experiencing mental disorders and we refuse to do anything of it and yet we blame undocumented minorities for drug trafficking problems, substance abuse, and gang violence and we make no way to change our system. If mental health institutions were proactive in addressing disorders caused by the stress of immigration actions caused by mental health instability could be prevented such as violence, murder, substance abuse, suicide, the percentage of student dropouts. If American society never learns how to ease the burden and to help assimilate families and children in search of survival, we cannot expect that our population’s percentage of mentally affected people will reduce. We cannot keep subjecting innocent children to mental disorders nor should we criminalize them when our isolation starts to affect societal norms.
Balacazar, Fabricio. Policy Statement on the Incarceration of Undocumented Migrant Families. American Journal of Psychology, John Wiley and Sons Inc. 2016, online http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ajcp.12017/full
-Fabricio Balacazar wrote an article in the American Journal of Psychology analyzing the policy statement on immigration and the tendency to incarcerate immigrants without legal representation. I used Balacazar’s text to explain the psychological effects that detainment of families have on young children. The instability and process of criminal trials for adolescents can increase stress which in return causes depression, anxiety, and the inability to socialize.
Fabricio explains how families are being criminalized for fleeing from danger in their home country to a new one. Balacazar suggests that the main reason for families to immigrate is in a means of survival. If children already face a dangerous expedition from traveling to a new country, and are immediately imprisoned causes extreme additional stress that is not necessary.
Cohen, Judith. Pine, Daniel. Trauma in Children and Adolescents: Risk and Treatment of Psychiatric Sequelae, Biological Psychiatry. Maryland, 2002 print.
-I used the source above in my research essay in examination of the psychological effect that seeking refuge, and immigration has on young children and adolescents. JUdith Cohen and Daniel Pine conducted an experiment in which they examined what the most prevalent reason for mental instability. The most exhibited reason for mental instability is trauma which more often than not leaves children with PTSD, depression, anxiety, social anxiety, and thoughts of suicide.
Most children who have immigrated are traumatized at some point whether in their home country, when crossing the border, or when they finally arrive to America. Most times families immigrants migrate to escape violence and unrest only to arrive in America to be immediately deported by ICE officers. The instability and unpredictability of migration has long lasting effects on children.
Friedan, Amy. SECTION II: UNDERSTANDING REFUGEES: FROM THE INSIDE OUT
Rape and Domestic Violence, Women and Therapy. OCtober 2008. Online http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1300/J015V13N01_07
-I used Amy Friedman’s research on rape and domestic violence among refugees in my research paper to explain how women and children are more susceptible to violence and abuse during immigration which is the number one cause of trauma. I use Friedman’s research to explain that in result of abuse undermines identity. Many times people who report abuse as refugees or immigrants feel as though they are worthless and develop anxiety and depression. My argument is that children who immigrate with and even without guardians are more likely to be abused which negatively affects mental health.
Manuel, Jose. Papeles: Stories By Undocumented Youth, 2012 print
-I incorporated the class readings of Papeles into my research essay to provide personal anecdotes of the undocumented youth in America to show how immigration affects the mental health of youth. A majority of the reported stories showed that most undocumented adolescents suffered from anxiety and depression. Most of the people in the book described the feeling of alienation from their peers solely based on a document that decided whether or not they could be accepted into society.
Passel, Jeffrey. Estimates of the Size and Characteristics of the Undocumented Population. Pew Hispanic Center of Research, Washington DC, March 2005, print.
-I used the source Estimates of the Size and Characteristics of the Undocumented Population from the Pew Center of Research in my analysis to give imagery of how many undocumented children make up a section of the American public. The printed text uses a specialized census to calculate the estimated number of undocumented immigrants residing in the U.S.. I thought it was important to give an example of just how much of our population is attributed to undocumented residents.
The documentation reported that it is estimated that as many as 1.9 million children were undocumented immigrants in 2005. The numbers have risen steadily and it shows how even dangerous treks across the border, discrimination, and poverty cannot sway families from bringing young children here. If there is an opportunity for their children to pursue an education and a better life people will pursue it.
It is also important to recognize that children are immigrating and re assimilating all while the brain is developing which leaves them more susceptible to tumultuous mental health.
Roderick, Rose. Smokowski, Paul. Acculturation and Latino Family Processes: How Cultural Involvement, Biculturalism, and Acculturation Gaps Influence Family Dynamics, Interdisciplinary Journal of Applied Family Studies, June 2008, online. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1741-3729.2008.00501.x/full
Roderick and Smokowski’s source explains how the assimilation of immigrant youth can influence family interaction. Many times to be able to conform to American society it results in the total abandonment of any other tradition or culture. This can be alarming to Latino families who look to preserve their own culture. Many times American culture promotes individualization when Latino culture is centered around family roles and community. This can cause rifts between older generations of immigrants and younger generations causing further alienation and the feeling of unbelongingness.
Rumbaut, Ruben. The Crucible within: Ethnic Identity, Self-Esteem, and Segmented Assimilation among Children of Immigrants. International Migration Review. New York. 1994 print.
-Ruben Rumbaut of the International Migration Review wrote an analysis on how immigrant children conform to social roles and how they assimilate into American culture. I used Rumbaut’s analysis in my research essay to point out the stress undocumented adolescents feel when they have resided in America for many years and still restricted from being considered resident which also affects their transformation into adulthood. It is hard to consider an adult as someone who cannot drive, vote, or actively participate in society which is what undocumented adolescents face. This causes stress, and alienation which restricts immigrants to fulfilling stereotypes because there is no other way to escape them.
Staccarini, Jeanne-Marie. I Didn’t Ask to Come to this Country…I was a Child: The Mental Health Implications of Growing Up Undocumented. J Immigrant Minority Health, New York 2011, online
-Jeanne-Marie Staccarini published an article that analyzed the adolescent immigrants’ assimilation into American culture and the rift it causes within families. There is a line in which young immigrants have to decide to cross to either normalize themselves and adopt American culture or to preserve family tradition, It causes stress among young adults who never wanted to migrate initially and then expected to be fine with isolation and discrimination, When rigid family roles are expected of these young children arguments and resentment build within the familial structure.
FINAL REVISION Essay 1: Education is a Multipurpose Tool
Throughout the ages, knowledge has been the most important and useful characteristic a person can posses. Education has helped man create society, culture, language and has helped us discover uses for math, astronomy, and science. I believe the way in which we attain knowledge might be more important than the actual discovery. What we gain from the experience of education and how we use it can be far more useful in helping us lead successful lives. There are often times when certain people do not get the privilege of being educated because they are confined within some societal norm that bases the quality of education on social standing. For example my parents did not have the opportunity to pursue a higher education beyond high school they did not have enough money, they already had children to take care of, and were working full time jobs. Family has played a huge role in motivating me to pursue a higher education. Education also helps guide the mind into cognitive reasoning with which we can can make moral and ethical decisions. To me education is an opportunity to lead a successful life, the opportunity to represent and make my family proud, and gives me the capacity to have just and moral reasoning.
Education can be a pathway toward having a successful future. With a college education it will be easier to find a job and work in the career that one is passionate about. Today, without a college degree it is very unlikely that one will find an exceptional job. Though education gives a clear pathway to a certain goal it is by no means easy. There will always be people who will try to discourage others from pursuing the best things in life based on personal bias. William Perez, an associate professor at Claremont Graduate University, California, describes how intrinsic motivation helps students especially undocumented students overcome prejudices made by those who have predisposed biases. Perez says in his research Americans by Heart that “… students who do well in the classroom show a positive self-evaluation of their academic status at school and a sense of self-control over their academic success and failure.” (117). I think what Perez means is that a student’s personal drive and intrinsic motivation is the deciding factor in whether students will succeed or fail in their academic career. Only our own desires within ourselves can ultimately motivate how we approach life. I was personally motivated out of resilience; I was told I should only pursue an education at city college or at California State Universities because that is what I could afford or what my grades would get me into. While they are still excellent means of higher education I dreamed about getting into a University of California. I had to fight counselors telling me to only apply to CSUs and work really hard to get grades that proved I belong at UC Santa Cruz. So while there were obstacles that I faced in pursuing a higher education I still believe that education and schooling is leading me to success. Even though I had to motivate myself to prove people wrong it has taught me that anything valuable in life is something you have to work for.
I am so privileged to be pursuing a higher education. I was pushed by family, counselors, and close friends to work hard and to pursue a college degree. It also helped that the district I lived within fed into the wealthier school which had access to advanced placement classes, multiple practice SAT and ACT sessions, and tutoring as well as AVID programs. Compared to other schools in our district we had more access to resources because a large percentage of the student body came from wealthy families. The unbalanced distribution of resources caused a gap between schools based on an economic divide. Due to the lack of resources in the more impoverished parts of the city the quality of education became lowered as budget cuts rid schools of helpful extracurricular activities. Teachers who are arguably one of the most influential people in a person’s life got laid off. Inner city schools feel the effect of this the most, since they already have meager funds they are more at a disadvantage for programs that won’t necessarily benefit them in the future and be used as tools for success. Jonathan Kozol argues in his piece Still Separate, Still Unequal America’s Educational Apartheid that less wealthy schools are being stuck with more restrictions obstructing creative methods of teaching. Students are subjected to strict teaching regimes that lack the room for creativity. Classes that do not benefit students who have high objectives are forced upon them based on what society deems appropriate according to their social standing. For example in the Kozol piece he also mentions a young black girl he was conversing with said the “…requirement met by courses that were basically vocational and obviously keyed to low-paying level of employment.” (655). In comparison wealthier communities require challenging and useful classes that will help students in the future. Education has become a system keeping low-income students within their own social class by enforcing vocational classes and keeps wealthier students within their elite class. Instead of bridging the gap and having educational programs that offers every single person the same thing we have created programs that reduce equality (Anyon,3 ).
The difference in the amount of accessible resources is one of the reasons my parents could not pursue a higher education, they could not afford it. Though there was some financial aid available at the time their low-income schools did not have counselors and programs that encouraged students to pursue college compared with wealthier schools in their area. My mother especially resents not receiving a higher education. She wanted to be a lawyer and because she did not have the opportunity to pursue her dream she has always pushed me to pursue mine. Education gives me the chance to make my family proud and represent them. Even though they did not receive a higher education their children will be successful, and their legacy will not be in vain.
Pursuing a higher education is also very important to me because I feel as though it gives me cognitive reasoning in which I can make just and moral opinions and decisions. I think the worst thing that people can do to themselves and others is to dwell in ignorance. A way in which we can progress and become enlightened on issues and concepts around us is to teach Freire’s problem-posing education. According to Paulo Freire in his piece The Banking Concept of Education education needs to shift away from the concept that promotes a transferring of a teacher’s knowledge to a student that requires no cognition which he refers to as the banking-concept. The banking-concept fails to encourage students to view the world critically as they consider reality because there is no promotion of cognizant thinking, it is just used as knowledge depository for teachers (Freire, 3). By using the banking teaching approach schools are not teaching students to think for themselves which only prove to be detrimental. Without the ability to think cognitively and to think independently it will affect job performance and how we conform in society. Freire presents a method of teaching that creates a safe and interactive learning environment called problem-posing education. Problem-posing education will encourage students to pursue their goals and to test and consider opinions different from their own. We need to work toward a liberation in which we regard men and women as conscious beings and consciousness as a way to approach the world (Freire, 6). The problem-posing approach to education promotes the usage of cognitive reasoning that we can apply that to the world around us. If education is taught in a problem-posing manner people will not find themselves buried under the weight of oppression. I personally, through education, want to be able to make cognitive decisions and opinions so that my reasoning may be moral and just.
I have found that UC Santa Cruz approaches education in this problem-posing manner. The campus environment encourages students to question all of the knowledge that is transferred between students, professors, and staff. UC Santa Cruz’s educational system promotes the gaining of an education that can be used for logical reasoning, it promotes a realization among students about how race, gender, sexual orientation, and religious views influence opportunity and influence people’s opinions and ideas. My knowledge of the relationship between the physical world and I has expanded so much in the six months that I have been in college. I took a gender-roles in global cinema in my first quarter at UC Santa Cruz. It taught me through large class discussion and group work how society confines people to strict genders and how many of the cultural rules we follow are man made and would not exist without human consciousness. Even in the past few weeks I have learned about how minorities especially undocumented students have to fight to receive the same education as legal residents. William Perez mentions in Americans by Heart that “… court-mandated equal access education ends when undocumented students graduate from high school…”(25). Even though most of these undocumented students were assimilated into America at a very young age and it it the only home they have ever known the government still restricts their rights to pursue education. I think if people were more educated about the issues concerning immigration and education many more people would try to actively change government policy. That is why I believe education should and is a way to encourage cognitive reasoning so that we all may use that knowledge to make the world a better place. With the knowledge about issues outside of myself I can more easily form opinions and solutions about society.
Education is the process of shaping minds and through that leads to successful living. It gives people a chance to recreate themselves and represent their families. I personally believe knowledge and education is a light that illuminates the dark world around us. We can use it to bring forth humanness in a mechanical world. Education can bring equality and understanding of those who behave differently than us. It is knowledge and what is birthed from education that gives us the opportunity to succeed in all things such as careers, justice, understanding and most importantly the opportunity in succeeding to make a positive impact in this world. I hope that through my educational journey I will be an example of how important education and how it affects everybody no matter that person’s ethnicity, social standing, legal status, gender, or religious belief.
Anyon, Jean. Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work. Journal of Education, 1980.
Freire, Paulo. The Banking Concept Of Education. 1991, Print.
Kozol, Jonathan. Still Separate, Still Unequal America’s Educational Apartheid, New York: Worth Publishers, 2007.
Perez, Williams. Americans by Heart: Undocumented Students and the Promise of Higher Education, New York & London: Teachers College Press. 2012, Print
Through the process of writing and revising my second essay I have found that peer review is one of the most helpful tools when editing a paper. When we met in writing groups, my group members were able to point out places that I needed to fix my writing that I was not even aware of. I also found it helpful to relate and compare ideas with my peers. At the suggestion of my writing group I reread and analyzed the given texts to make my arguments more applicable. I tried to really analyze and explain my ideas by using the sources. I think the most challenging part of writing this essay for me was taking education as a broad topic and personalizing it and thinking about what impact education has had on me personally. I also tried to incorporate my own beliefs into the conclusion at the advice of a peer to really tie my ideas and essay together. I also worked really hard to make sure my paragraph were more cohesive so that my essay had a nice flow from beginning to end. I think with the next essay I will try to work more actively to incorporate sources that enhance my argument and seek peer review more often during my writing process.