“Land of Opportunity: Immigrant Experiences in the North American Landscape”
In her newly published co-edited book, “Land of Opportunity,” Pringle shares a compilation of educator views on meeting the needs of immigrant and otherwise non-white groups.
“We all have different kinds of experiences and if learning is to take place you need to value the person’s past experiences and the funds of knowledge that they bring to the learning situation,” she said. “In many situations this was not happening.”
The co-edited book highlights the changing identity of America and the fear of the unknown that the current political climate has heightened that can impact how students and faculty interact during this change in diversity within American schools.
“They’re here to learn and to study,” she said, “but at the same time they too have to struggle with perception.”
The editors and contributors provide insight on the variety of experiences that students have when they don’t fit the typical narrative of an American student, from being thought of as out of place to being thought of as a “model minority.”.
“One example was a chinese family. These were individuals who started their restaurant. They felt that they could not fit in, that there was this wall around them with respect to what was happening in the schools and that filtered to their kids,” Pringle said. “But there was this perception that the chinese kids were doing well. It was a plus to the kids even though the family felt like outsiders.”
The need for teachers to be aware of the funds of knowledge that their students have and work to find the best way to tap into that is focused on throughout the book. Pringle said that she does not want students to lose their heritage, that she wants students to learn what they need to but that its an opportunity for other students to learn more about other cultures in the process.
“It’s giving voices to the different nationalities as immigrants so that they can share their stories and the commonalities that do exist across them,” she said.