March 4th, 2010

1)      The doctors “could hardly be expected to “respect” their patients system of health beliefs … since the medical schools they had attended had never informed them that  diseases are caused by fugitive souls and cured by jugulated chickens. All of them had spent hundreds of hours dissecting cadavers, and could distinguish at a glance between the ligaments of Hesselbach  and the ligament of Treiz, but none of them had had a single hour of instruction in cross-cultural medicine.” p.61

What do you perceive as cross cultural medicine? Do you think doctors really need to learn about cross-cultural medicine when we are one of the most advanced country in the world? Why or why not?

2)      On p. 86, Gee writes about different types of social language and states that “we would not expect someone to mix and match features from each social language” otherwise creating a “hybrid social language.”

Social language and academic language serve different purposes in a school setting. Children with limited English proficiency are expected to master both social and academic language. Are our schools creating a “hybrid social language?” How so? Why not?

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17 Responses to “ONLINE ASSIGNMENT #4”

  1. Jillian Pearsall on March 5, 2010 5:24 pm

    1. The advancements don’t matter if the patients and doctors don’t understand each other due to a language or cultural barrier. Cross-cultural medicine would be learning about other cultures from around the world, there customs, traditions, and medical routines so that when doctors in the United States come across these cultures through their patients there will be less of a barrier. Doctors should have a duty to not only treat their patients but educate them, therefore, doctors should have to learn about cross-cultural medicine. Most teachers learn about many different cultures so that they can teach all of their students, no matter what there needs are. This should be the same for doctors. Everyone needs to be a little more open-minded to the fact that there are many more cultures than there were in the United States, therefore, it is important for doctors, nurses, hospital employees to learn about cross-cultural medicine to bring down those barriers, to reduce the confusion, and create a system that is beneficial for both doctors and patients.

    2. In this article, the example Gee provides states, “naming in terms of the role they play in a scientific theory but exclusively using real-world terms as subjects of sentences,” would be mixing and matching features from social language. Schools that use real world examples (social language) to explain academic content (academic language) so that children can make connections, which would be a creation of a “hybrid social language.” There would be a mix of both academic and social language intertwined to explain information therefore creating a hybrid language. Classrooms and schools have become a place for children to socialize. Gee states, “Social language and genres are acquired by processes of socialization.” This process of socialization is occurring in an academic environment therefore the two forms of language are being combined to form a new hybrid language. Gee states, “we all regularly vary our talk in everyday circumstances to enact different socially situated identities and activities.” The language a child chooses to use depends on the audience (listener), situation, and content of conversation or interaction. The form of language changes all the time depending on the different “socially situated identities and activities.” Due to all of the varying changes, I believe it would be difficult to separate the two forms of language: social and academic language, therefore a hybrid language would be formed.

  2. Margaret C. Bena (Kelly) on March 6, 2010 10:06 pm

    1)My understanding of a cross cultural medicine is that there has to be an understanding between the patient and the doctor. For example, when my daughter or myself go to the doctor, I am bring our culture, our religious beliefs and our personal views on medicine. There have been occasional when the doctors and I do not agree. However, we both speak the same language, so it is easier to communicate with one another on things that I am questioning.
    I do think doctors really need to learn about cross-cultural medicine. By living in one of the most advanced countries’ in the world it should be expected. The people that come to this country are from such diverse backgrounds. In taking the time to learn more about each other, the practice of medicine can be more effective. Learning about many different cultures with allows the doctor, to have a greater understand of the people that he/she sees. There can only be benefits from this practice.

    2) Children with limited English proficiency are expected to master both social and academic language. High expectations are placed on children with limited exposure to English. The child is expected to learn English and then be able to use the correctly for the different social setting that they are placed in. However, Gee states, “…we all regularly vary our talk in everyday circumstances to enact different socially situated identities and activities.” The student who has limited English proficiency the stress is greater.
    Currently, I am employed as a New York City Teacher. I teach an advanced English Language Learner class. The observations that I have made about pertaining to this creation of a “hybrid social language” is in my classroom. The students in my class have not created this “hybrid social language”. The students have their “own language” in which they address each other. “Own Language”, in my opinion could be converted into what Gee feels is this “hybrids social language”. Gee states, “Social language and genres are acquired by processes of socialization.” With the students interacting more and more with each other, they will continue to create a language that does blend the classroom and their social interaction together.

  3. Tami Redler on March 7, 2010 1:47 pm

    Assignment #4

    1) I think that cross cultural medicine means that doctors and nurses working in hospitals learn about the medicinal practices of other cultures besides the one they live in. It is important for doctors to learn about other cultures because very few countries are made up of people all having the same beliefs and traditions. The United States is made up of so many different cultures that I feel it’s a doctor’s job to learn about as many of the cultures as they can (especially the ones that are living in the area). It’s a doctor’s responsibility to be able to communicate and help any person who comes into the hospital for treatment.
    In “The Spirit Catches You,” I felt the doctors were trying to learn about the Hmong culture, but didn’t learn enough. They expected all the Hmong people who came to the hospital to be well-educated and understand the English language and American traditions. It seemed the doctors didn’t know how to deal with the Lee family because this family was less educated than other Hmong people they have encountered. The doctors expected the Hmong people to trust their decisions, which is asking a lot of a culture who doesn’t have the same beliefs. I wonder if those doctors were in the same situation as the Lee family, would they be so trusting of the doctors of the other culture right away? If the doctors took a little more time to learn about the Hmong culture (since around the hospital area many Hmong people lived), it would have been easier to communicate with the Hmong people. Maybe the doctors and the Lee family could have negotiated on a treatment for Lia that would have satisfied both parties, similar to the practices of MCMC obstetrician Raquel Arias. If the doctors understood where the Lee family was coming from, I think the situation would have turned out better for everyone.

    2) By asking ELL children to “mix and match” social and academic language, schools are creating a “hybrid social language.” This is asking a lot of a child who is trying to learn the English language. I feel the best way these children learn English is by socializing with their peers and learning from them. Sometimes children learn better from other children than from a teacher. In the article, Gee states, “Social languages and genres are acquired by processes of socialization.” I also feel that teachers should have conversations with ELL students to help them learn the language rather then having them memorize words. If these students practice speaking in conversation all the time, they will master the language quicker.
    When I was in high school, I decided to take an American Sign Language class. The teacher for my beginner class happened to deaf. In a way, I was put in the position of these ELL students, trying to master another language I knew nothing about. I felt that I learned so much more in that class than I would have learned with a hearing teacher because the teacher would communicate with us in conversation and along the way teaching us all the signs he’s using. The things he was teaching us were going to be more useful than just trying to remember random signs. After learning the signs (or the social language) it was easier to connect it with the academic language.
    After ELL’s learn the social language, teachers expect them to apply it to their academics. This application will not occur until the student masters the social language, which takes a great deal of time. Teachers can’t expect them to master it right away. This “mixing and matching” of the two languages creates the “hybrid social language.” Schools can’t help but to link the two together because social language helps students achieve in their academics. In general, the social language children have practiced and learned up until school will help them to be better students throughout their school career and contribute to the academic language.

  4. Erica Menchin on March 7, 2010 2:40 pm

    Response #1

    I believe cross-cultural medicine involves a doctor’s ability to understand and treat patients who come from different backgrounds and have different beliefs. Cross cultural medicine goes deeper than merely understanding the universal practice of medicine. It entails doctors learning about various cultures so they can treat them to the best of their ability. Although we are one of the most advanced countries in the world, I believe doctors in the United States need to learn about cross-cultural medicine. A doctor can have some of the most highly developed technology yet if that doctor doesn’t truly understand where their patient comes from, a cure may not necessarily be in store.
    In addition, I perceive cross-cultural medicine as a form of communication between the patient and the doctor. A doctor must be able to fully converse with a patient and vice versa for the best treatment to occur. Part of this communication involves understanding each other’s culture and despite being one of the most advanced countries in the world, the doctors in the United States need to be aware of how to treat patients of varying cultures. As teachers, we are often expected to understand and appreciate all the different cultures in our classroom. If we are not familiar with any of these cultures, we try our best to learn about them either from that student or by doing our own research. This is so we can truly understand our students before making any judgments or misdiagnoses. Our country should hold the same expectations for doctors.

    Response #2

    I believe our schools are creating a “hybrid social language” because we expect children to “mix and match features from each social language” on a daily basis. They have to learn how to speak to their teachers and how to socialize with their peers. This is particularly hard for a student with limited English proficiency because they are just learning the language, yet are asked to master all of its forms. We expect students with limited English proficiency to be able to talk differently depending on the different circumstances they encounter. It is hard enough for them to learn English, let alone be trained how to switch back and forth from one social language to another.
    I have an ESL student in my class this year from Korea. She has cried quite a few times throughout the school year because of the enormous amounts of pressure she is faced with on a daily basis. She has had trouble socializing with some of the other students in my class because of the language barrier. In a couple instances, I realized the fights amongst my ESL student and the other students were due to a misunderstanding or lack of communication. This is because my ESL student is still learning the language so it is extremely difficult for her to recognize when her peers are enacting features from different social languages. As teachers, we need to be aware of the “hybrid social language” our schools are creating to better serve the needs of all our students.

  5. Judy Feder on March 7, 2010 3:26 pm

    1) I perceive cross-cultural medicine to be non-American/Western medicine that may not be purely based on science, as is our practice. I think of cross-cultural medicine as medicine from different cultures in which medicinal beliefs stem from their history and religion. While I believe that the most vital knowledge that doctors possess is that of effective modern medicine (treatment and practice) and a deep (scientific) understanding of the human body, it can also be important for doctors to be familiar with aspects of cross-cultural medicine. Although modern Western medicine is extremely advanced and effective in healing, a doctor’s understanding of a patient’s cultural medicinal beliefs can aid the doctor in discussing the patient’s options with him/her. Also, displaying an understanding of the patient’s cultural medicine shows that the doctor is exhibiting a certain respect for that culture, which in response may leave the patient more open to the doctor’s suggestions. Similarly, a child who feels that his/her culture is being valued, respected, and represented in the classroom will probably be more comfortable with learning in that class.

    2) Children with limited English proficiency definitely have a heavy load on their shoulders in the school setting, expected to be proficient in both social and academic language. While English-speaking children are also expected to have social and academic language mastered at an early age, I believe that it is easier for them (than for non-English speaking children) because their early and constant exposure to both social and academic language enables them to more easily form a distinction between the two. They vary their talk “…in everyday circumstances to enact different socially situated identities and activities,” according to Gee (p. 86). I think that what might be occurring with children who have limited English proficiency, however, is the creation of some sort of “hybrid social language.” These children have not been exposed to the significant early experiences with social and academic language in English. They have their own social language that is a product of their history and culture, Gee explains (p. 88). They then come to school and are expected to quickly become familiar with a whole new social language as well as learn the academic language. Since they are still learning to speak the English language, it is probably very difficult for them to make distinctions between the use of different vocabulary and language in different settings. They are busy trying to first become more proficient in English so that they can communicate with their peers and teachers. At this point they are not aware of how to vary their talk in academic versus social settings. On a recent trip to Israel I was definitely utilizing a “hybrid social language.” Not being completely fluent in the language made it difficult for me to even think about varying my talk/language in different scenarios. I was too preoccupied with merely trying to express my thoughts in this different language. This must be how children who are not proficient in English feel on a daily basis. This is why I think it’s very important for teachers to represent the cultures of these children while immersing them in rich literacy experiences with books and language use so that they can become more familiar with how social language and academic language differ.

  6. Jessica McCarson on March 7, 2010 5:43 pm

    1) Cross cultural medicine, to me, means to understand the custom of the different cultures. This would include their traditions, beliefs and most of all their practice in medicine. Even though we are one of the most advanced countries in the world, I feel it is very important to learn about cross cultural medicine. The United States is made up of so many different cultures. It would be impossible to learn every single culture. I feel it is important to know what you can about the cultures around you so you are able to assist them better. Going to the hospital and the doctors, you bring your personal beliefs with you. Doctors have a huge responsibility. Not knowing about a patient, effects the way the doctor will care for them. In “The Spirit Catches You And You Fall Down,” the doctors did not know about the Lee’s cultural beliefs. I feel if the doctors knew more about the Hmong culture, they would have been able to better understand the reasoning behind the Lee‘s choices. Just like doctors, teachers should know about the cultures their students come from. I feel knowing about the culture of a student would enable the teacher to understand the student better.

    2) In this article, Gee states that “we would not expect someone to mix and match features from each social language.” I feel that in schools we do create a “hybrid social language.” Student are expected to learn English when at home their parents speak a different language. Our expectations of students to learn English, I feel, are very high. I feel that it is hard not to “mix and match” the two different languages. Students are learning English to help them in school with their academics. The students have no choice but to learn English. They need to communicate with their teachers and other students. I work in a district with mostly Spanish speaking families. Most of the students in my class speak Spanish at home. In school, all day they are speaking English but when they go home they are speaking Spanish. I find it must be difficult for them not to intertwine the two languages. In the article, Gee states, “we all regularly vary our talk in everyday circumstances to enact different socially situated identities and activities” (86). The different the situations we are in the differently we will talk. When talking to a parent and talking to a friend, the way we speak will completely change. I feel this pertains to our students too. The situation they are in will determine which language they will use. When they are at school, they will be mostly speaking English. When they are at home, they will mostly be speaking the language their parents speak. I feel it is difficult not to create a “hybrid social language.” However, if we are aware of this “hybrid social language,” I feel in time we will be able to meet the needs of our students.

  7. Liz Manolis on March 7, 2010 7:10 pm

    1) Cross-cultural medicine is practicing medicine in a way that is being aware of another cultures beliefs and practices when it comes to medicine. As I read this book, it reminds me in a lot of way how doctors and teachers are alike. Doctors, just like teachers, are trusted with the well-being of whomever they are serving. We are both responsible to “treat” those that we serve and can suffer our own consequences if we don’t do so correctly. I can understand why the doctor called CPS on Lea’s parents. I have had to make the difficult decision to report activity that was not pleasant and could get me in trouble if I did not do so. It is a catch 22 in many ways. At the same time, this shows that there is a need for doctors to be educated on how to be respectful and aware of other cultures in their practice. Cultural awareness is something that is very often discussed when teachers go through any teacher education program. As a profession that requires you to be face-to-face with different types of people everyday, I don’t see why doctors shouldn’t be required to do the same.

    2) I agree that schools do have a hybrid social language. At a young age, school is usually the main place that student’s socialize. Therefore, students are going to pick up social language from their peers. This is combined with the language that they would learn in an academic environment, such as vocabulary pertaining to what is being taught. However, it’s important to put what is being learned in a context that is understandable to the students. This is especially important to students with limited language proficiency. Learning in English when you are not a native English speaker is difficult enough when language is put in a more comprehensible context.
    However, I think it is important to emphasize the need to modify language and the way we speak in certain environments. The students should know what type of language to use when speaking to their friends on the playground and opposed to the language they use when reading a book report out loud to the class.

  8. Dina Karivalis on March 7, 2010 7:35 pm

    Dina Karivalis
    Assignment #4
    1) My understanding of cross cultural medicine is that there is an understanding between the doctors and their medical practices and their patients personal, religious, and cultural beliefs. I also think cross cultural medicine means doctors from countries around the world being familiar and understanding of other types of medical practices. For example, I think of acupuncture. Acupuncture is just know becoming “popular” in America with celebrities and in the media. However, many people find acupuncture to be an unreliable source of medical treatment. Similar to, “The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down”, Lee’s doctors did not understand the Hmong cultural practices and beliefs.
    When thinking about the practice of cross-cultural medicine, I feel it is easy to compare to the responsibilities of teachers. Especially so for teachers who teach in areas where their students come from a variety of cultural backgrounds. Doctors have a responsibility to their patients to get a detailed medical history to provide the best possible treatments. As teachers we also have to really know our students to give them the best possible education. This includes medical history, learning challenges, family backgrounds, parents, even how many hours of sleep they get each night. This puts a huge responsibility on us as teachers, similarly to what it does to doctors. So in some ways, I do think doctors should be responsible for understanding the medical practices in other cultures to fully provide the best care for their patients. On the other hand, I do understand the immense responsibility and in some cases burden it puts on doctors and their patient care.

    2) I think in many ways schools are creating a “hybrid language”. Academic language is viewed as the way students speak with teachers and respond to prompts in the classroom. Social language is how students interact with one another in a social setting. Since both of these scenarios take place in school I can see how it would be that schools are creating a “hybrid language”. I also think that teachers, who use real life connection and examples to teach concepts are combining academic and social language and therefore setting this as an example for their students. For example, while describing cause and effect to my class I used an example including one of my student’s names. I said “Michael does a great job on his test so his mom takes him to Toys R Us.” This was what I understand to be an example of combining the two different types of languages Gee discusses in his article. I think this can be challenging for the ELL students because they are thrown into both situations. They struggle to grasp the concept of social language when interacting with their peers. However, as teachers we are also looking for them to understand academic language and be able to use it in the classroom. However, the blending of the two can be seen as a positive thing for the ELL learners. The more the gap is bridged between

  9. Dina Karivalis on March 7, 2010 7:38 pm

    Dina Karivalis- End of Last paragraph

    This part did not copy and paste to the above:

    The more the gap is bridged between the two forms of language the easier it may be to the ELL students to interact in the classroom setting.

  10. Gina Genovese on March 7, 2010 8:18 pm

    Gina Genovese Response to Comment #4
    To me cross cultural medicine is respecting cultures throughout the world. Although it may seem primitive to many for Doctors from Western civilization to acknowledge medical practices from other countries there are in fact many Doctors who strongly believe that many good remedies have come from Eastern Civilizations. Many Doctors are now turning to natural remedies as oppose to relying solely on medication when treating their patients. Acupuncture, herbal teas and even the use of medical marijuana are all examples of how modern medicine is being influenced by outside cultures. While these remedies have been easily accepted because they are based on the idea of being natural they were at one time considered to be a barbaric method of treating patients. These have proven to be very successful measures in treating patients therefore to me cross cultural medicine is a means of exploring other approaches to treating illness, some way seem to spiritual but some may have a safer approach to treatment of patients.

    I believe that all schools do have a hybrid language, meaning that most of a child or adults language is based around where they spend most of their time. For children this setting would be school for adults it would be their work place. I agree with Glee when he states that social language is not a result of biological genetics rather it is determined by a person’s environmental setting. If a person relocates to a new country and interacts daily they will be immersed with a new language. It is through this full immersion that the person will not only learn the language but the correct and social way of using the language. I do not believe that a hybrid language is something that can be taught to a child I feel it must be experienced by the person in it’s entirely. What better place for children to learn a social language then at “recess” it is at this time when the use of language is being used verbally and socially. This is when the entire use of a language is being used. As teachers, what better way do we have to teach a language then through our example that we set daily in the classroom. Through all read alouds we are showing how to correctly emphasis certain words, phrases or sentences. When teachers are conferencing with students they are also demonstrating the correct use of language. We as educators must be very selective in our choice of words and phrases because to many students we are their main connection to learning the new language.

  11. Jacqueline Singer on March 7, 2010 9:05 pm

    1.) I strongly believe in cross cultural medicine. Cross cultural medicine is absolutely necessary this day in age. It is vital that doctors have training and prior knowledge in cross cultural medicine due to the increasing ethnic diversity among America’s patient population. If we want to be able to call ourselves “the most advanced country in the world,” then our doctors must have an education in and the ability to practice, cross cultural medicine.
    America is a melting pot, always has been, always will be. If we do not have properly trained physicians for the various groups of our melting pot, then how can we really call ourselves “The Land of Opportunity?” America has always been proud of our open door policy but we must be consistent. Our citizens need our help. We, as Americans, must also keep ourselves open to change.
    Aside from the fact that we have a mixed culture group within this country, we must also consider the benefits of other countries’ medical practices. There is much to be valued. Commonly Americans forget how long other countries have been around, for most, longer than America. Asian, Latin, and black healing traditions are not only culturally meaningful but affective in today’s medical world. Some of these group’s practices affect the management of chronic medical and psychiatric conditions.
    American patients, (no matter which cultural group they may originate from) have the right to see the best doctors. These are the most exposed doctors. Patients should be able to trust doctors and not fear them. The more of a wide perspective our doctors have the more powerful we can really be in the medical world. If we achieve this, then we can really call ourselves “the most advanced country.” I consider the best, really being the best. If America has the best hospitals, best doctors, best medicine, and the best research, then this would include the use and study of cross cultural medicine.

    2.) There is no doubt that there is a distinction between oral language (social) usage and academic language (traditional literacy.) I think of language as having two different kinds of modes; one being formal, (academically) and second bring used informally for social reasons. Language has multi purposes; valuing, feeling, decoding, symbolizing, connecting, imaging, phrasing, believing, interacting, talking, acting, and thinking. Gee refers to these as discourses “identity kits’ or “took kits.” In a way, social language and academic language are two different genres of language.
    Author James Paul Gee, in his article “a Sociocultural Perspective on Early Literacy Development,” describes social language as a variety of language. Gee also explains that social language is really a derivative of traditional language. It in a sense social language is customized and varied (draws upon traditional language conventions.) For most, social language probably feels more natural, then using formal/grammatically correct language. In a school setting this is most likely to happen for the students when they are talking amongst their classmates or when teachers are casually talking with their colleagues.
    I believe schools are unintentionally forcing a sort-of “hybrid social language” upon children. In a school setting children are expected to be on their best behavior and speak to teachers with respect, which implies academic/formal language is expected. When students are told to work together or play at recess they engage in social language; so really yes, there is a blend of both language functions being used by children daily. I do not believe that schools are aware of the confusion this can cause, especially for English Language Learners trying to adjust and fit in.

  12. Krissy O'Brien on March 7, 2010 9:13 pm

    1. I perceive that cross-cultural medicine is the practice and use of medicine based on cultures, beliefs, customs, religions, and traditions. This is very difficult since there are many cultures in the world. I do believe, however, that the doctors at MCMC should have investigated the cultural medicine of the Hmong people. As for the United States, we are made up of so many cultures, so the doctors here should learn more about cross-cultural medicine. It is impossible to understand each and every culture but it is the doctors’ job to research and investigate their patients’ cultures, beliefs, and religion. This understanding may be the difference of life or death. The United States practices medicine techniques that are far more research based, scientific, and concrete. I believe cross-cultural medicine is more a belief in and of itself for the people of the culture. The United States is the most advance country in the world, but it is imperative that doctors learn cross-cultural medicine. As teachers, I believe we do this with each of our students. It is also our job to research our students cultural and make them feel welcomed and understood. There is so much to be learned. The classroom as well as the world is a better place when people accept and embrace other cultures.

    2. Gee states that “we would not expect someone to mix and match features from each social language” which creates a “hybrid social language.” I think it is difficult for children with limited English proficiency to determine the difference between their academic and social language in a school setting. These children have their native social language at home, and when they come to school they have their social and academic languages for English. I think schools do create a hybrid social language. When teachers ask a student to make a connection from “their lives” it creates a mix and match of languages. It is a struggle for English Language Learners to differentiate between the appropriate time for social language with their peers and academic language while in a school setting. Gee also states “we all regularly vary our talk in everyday circumstances to enact different socially situated identities and activities.” How do we expect our students to be able to do this, when then haven’t mastered any social language yet. We need to have patience and try to help our English Language Learners master the English language. Then, we can model the correct social language during a given time.

  13. Meredith Kelleher on March 7, 2010 9:19 pm

    My perception of cross cultural medicine is the ability of Doctors, Nurses, and all the staff that work in hospitals, Dr. offices, etc. to understand all cultures medicinal practices, rituals and traditions, not just their own. It is essential for Doctors to learn about cross-cultural medicine in order to treat each and every patient in the way that they need to be treated. How can Doctors treat patients from different backgrounds if there is a language barrier and they aren’t aware of their cultural backgrounds? We are a powerful, wealthy nation and many people move to our country because of that. Doctors specialize in their occupation and need to become aware of other cultural practices or it just proves we aren’t as powerful as it seems. Doctors have to become educated of the cultural backgrounds of their patients, in order to perform their job the right way. This situation can also be compared to teachers and students. We have children from many different cultural backgrounds and in order to be able to teach and help our students, we must learn about them as a whole person.

    In a school setting children are engrossed in both social language and academic language. Social language occurs when children are socializing and interacting, for example, at recess, in the lunchroom or in the hallway. Academic language is used in the classroom by the teacher and students. Teachers serve as a model for their students. Being engrossed in language is how we pickup certain slang talk we use with our friends, and professional academic talk we use in the workplace. Children will be able from experience to pickup the social and academic language from their peers as well as the teacher. ELL children are expected to master and pickup this language and that will happen over time. It’s easier for English speaking children who have heard the language spoken their whole lives. I believe that a hybrid language cannot be fully taught to a child, but by providing them with optimal language experiences is how one will pick it up. I believe that language is picked up environmentally, rather than from genetics. For example, if a person moves to China, that person will have to learn the language spoken there by being immersed in different language experiences. Yes, I feel our schools are creating a hybrid social language and it is challenging for ELL students to be able to pick up and disciminate between the two, but by multiple experiences and with time, eventually it can be learned!

  14. Jenna Favuzza on March 8, 2010 12:00 am

    I think especially since we are the most advanced country in the world we should be more culturally sensitive and informed of various cultural beliefs. Cross-cultural medicine to me means healing patients in a way that allows them to keep their cultural beliefs intact. While some of the Hmong beliefs seem foreign and strange to us, the same is true of how they see some American ideals. It seems that it was extremely difficult for interpreters to be on hand for the Lees, but I think in this case trying to accomplish anything without one was pointless. As Dave Schneider argues, “The language barrier was the most obvious problem, but not the most important. The biggest problem was the cultural barrier” (69). While I understand how frustrated the doctors must have been, it seemed that most of the doctors did not attempt to understand the reasoning behind Lia’s parent’s lack of compliance. Also, I believe another aspect of cross-cultural medicine is that the doctors had a responsibility to try to do everything in their power to educate Lia’s parents on possible side effects of the medicine as well as consequences for giving wrong dosages.

    I think schools inevitably create a hybrid social language whether they want to or not. Children are expected to speak differently with their peers than teachers. As Gee states, “In fact we all regularly vary our talk in everyday circumstances to enact different socially situated identities and activities”(86). I think this is one of the things children with limited English proficiency struggle with the most. These children have to learn the proper etiquette to use according to the specific social context by interacting with those around them, something which native speakers have been doing since childhood. Students with limited English proficiency are less skilled at, but will learn, the different jargon used in social situations with friends, as opposed to more formal school learning. I think it is amazing what children are capable of doing when immersed into a new language.

  15. Jenna Tucciarone on March 8, 2010 6:39 pm

    1)Cross-cultural medicine can be perceived in so many ways as demonstrated in the book. I believe it is any type of healing. It can be taken in the form of medicine like so many of us are familiar with. It can be herbal, all natural supplements. It can even be thought of as traditions like we see in the book. When we think of medicine, we think of something tactile, something you can touch. It is not often thought of as a custom or something you cannot see or touch. The Hmong strongly believe in practicing special rituals for the sake of their health. If they do not act a certain way or carry about a ritual appropriately they will be punished. In a way this acts like a medicine. Medicine is thought of as fighting or preventing sickness. It is wrong for doctors who practice one way to tell people of another culture their way is wrong just because it is different. The doctors in the book had the best of intentions and all worked toward the same thing, helping Lia. They used what they learned to help her and were told by her family that they were wrong. It is easy to see the frustration both parties faced. The doctors practiced what they learned all throughout their extensive schooling and residencies. Just as doctors, we go into the field of teaching and try to practice what we have learned. However, most teachers who have been working in a classroom for more than a year know how much is learned from experience. There are so many challenges I have faced while teaching that my schooling did not prepare me for. That is why I believe facing these challenges in a real life setting serves as a tremendous learning experience and has made me a better teacher. As most professions go, the more experience you have, the better you are at your job. Doctors and teachers are very much alike in this way. Ideally we would like our students just as doctors would like their patients to follow instructions without any objection. However, that is not the world we live in which is why teachers and doctors cannot be rigid. They cannot expect all students, parents, or patients to comply with their beliefs. I work in a largely populated Hispanic community. In school I learned about learning disorders and differentiating instruction, but learned very little about different cultural beliefs relating to education. Similarly, the doctors in the book were not taught about cultural beliefs relating to medicine. I had very little experience teaching Hispanic children and even less experience with their parents. As a teacher I need to take into account why the student is not performing well or why they are acting up. Knowing a child’s background is so essential to providing them with the help they need. This is why I think it is very important that doctors become familiar with cross cultural medicine. I can feel their frustration as I read the book. They work so hard already and now they must research other cultures medicinal beliefs on their free time. They want to practice what they were taught because they were told it is the most effective way. I think this book should be read by all medical students and professors. Cross-cultural classes should be offered as well to prepare doctors for these types of situations. As human beings we must be compassionate to the beliefs of others. The doctors who show respect for other cultures will accomplish more by gaining the family’s trust. After reading about how some of the doctors in the book are truly dedicated to learning more about the Hmong culture in order to establish a more trusting relationship, I think it is imperative all doctors learn about cross-cultural medicine.

    2)It seems that teaching children a new language can be a less difficult for both the teacher and student if one type of language is used. When I teach I use social and academic language interchangeably. I suppose a “hybrid social language” is being created in this way. A child should always be expected to speak in full sentences and avoid using slang terms. They should use what they learn to speak articulately, not only in academic settings but in social settings too. I try my best to model this for my students. My hope is they will eventually speak the way they do in the classroom on the playground. In my experience, I think the social language of children who speak English proficiently is greatly lacking because they relate it to “playground talk.” Social language is used in the classroom too and it should be used in the same way. More and more this type of “playground language” is being brought into the classroom. If students’ social language sounded more like their academic language they would be well-rounded speakers. The same applies for ELLs. If students and teachers model appropriate social language in the classroom, it will carry over to external settings. When conducting a class discussion about a topic in my classroom it is expected that the language used is socially and academically appropriate. I feel the ELLs in my class learn more social language from this type of conversing because they are listening to others and communicating their own thoughts through a socially academic setting. I guess I have always viewed these two types of languages as a “hybrid.”

  16. Colleen Ferry on March 8, 2010 8:36 pm

    1. The United States has many different cultures and therefore the people have many different medical beliefs. Medical beliefs are often influenced by religion, as we see with the Hmong people. There are people in the United States who speak fluent English but still do not agree with modern medicine. We have all heard news reports about the parent who is taken to court because they are not giving their child the “necessary” medical treatment to live (for example chemotherapy for a child with cancer). I think that doctors should have to learn about different cultures and their medical beliefs. Once they have a better understanding of the culture, they will be able to create a better relationship with their patients and their patient’s families. In some cases, if a doctor understands a different culture, like the Hmong for example, they may be able to better explain their reasoning behind what they are practicing. It is similar to how teachers are expected to get to know the background of their students to better understand them, and therefore figure out the best methods to teach them. Even when a doctor informs someone with different medical beliefs of the benefits of modern medicine, the patient may not always accept the treatment. If the doctor at least attempts to understand where patients with different medical beliefs are coming from, some patients may learn to respect and trust the doctor and choose to accept treatment from them.

    2. I don’t think that schools are intentionally creating a hybrid social language, but it definitely happens. Between time in the cafeteria or on the playground, and time in the classroom, students with limited English proficiency may have a difficult time differentiating when it is appropriate to use social language and academic language, as both are used in the school setting. Children are using slang terms and abbreviated language more and more due to computers and text messaging. It is important for children to learn at an early age that they should not speak they way that they would write a text message or an instant message to a friend. Parents and adults should also model appropriate ways of speaking in various settings to set an example for young students.

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