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Con Respeto: Bridging the Distances Between Culturally Diverse Families and Schools : An Ethnographic Portrait Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0807735268 ISBN-10: 0807735264

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Teachers College Press (April 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807735264
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807735268
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #335,458 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By "hollister_books" on July 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
Finally! Finally we have an ethnographer who is able, or maybe just willing, to research the heart of the matter. Why do immigrant children have problems assimilating; why are they less likely to go to class; why are they less likely to graduate; why do they feel marginalized? Guadalupe Valdes attempts to answer these questions in her book Con Respeto by interviewing and observing the lives of ten mexican-american families. Similar ethnographies have focused on the school environment --- what are these immigrant children experiencing at school that would cause them to be marginalized the way they are? Valdes, who still looks at the school environment, spends the majority of her time examining the families of the immigrant students, and what their home life consists of. This deeper examination proves very fruitful by clearing up possible misconceptions one could have walked away with after reading books like Jocks and Burnouts, Gender Play, and Made in America. Are the parents responsible for the triumphs, and in many cases, the failures of their children in school? Valdes would say, yes, but only partially. The schools, Valdes feels, could still do more, or at least communicate more effectively with the parents.
What can be done to make the learning experiences of these immigrant children more pleasant and more fruitful? Until now, the majority of literature has focused on what the school could do differently in terms of how they could better teach these children. Strategies have been mentioned like better understanding of the children's needs, or better understanding of the children's culture, or more money and resources for materials designed to use the child's own culture as a basis of the curriculum.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By yankee-in-ca on September 23, 2004
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I learned more about the Mexica worldview from living with eight Mexican families, through this book, than from all the old codices combined. The little precolumbian homilies children got in Tenochtitlan--little rules for living that created respectful, self-respecting children--they go by a different name but remain unchanged! Here in California half of all children are born to Mexican parents. The Catholic/Aztecan patriarchy does not mix with the go-it-alone Yankee work-ethic, period. For example: To move away from your family for a better-paying job is to fail miserably. What are material possessions if your children's grandparents are so far away?

That alone helps explain Mexican poverty, but how rich they are in other ways! The author doesn't offer a solution to this culture shock. The solution is clearly up to us, and we can learn so much from each other!

One of my son's teachers used to be a prosecuting attorney (she even looks like Marcia Clark), and she teaches 10-year-olds how to debate by playing devil's advocate herself--the pupil is emotionally in the witness box. How is a child who was taught by age three NEVER to interrupt an adult supposed to summon the courage to raise his or her hand, let alone sharply disagree with a teacher? We could make it clearer to them that there will be times to speak out as adults, and school is practice for that, in a safe environment. We can also learn something from Mexicans about how to raise polite, courteous children.

The author could not, for the life of her, make the concept of feminism understood. "But my husband works as hard as I do!" was all the women could say. The marriages are rock-solid because husband and wife respect and depend on each other. (Where's the famous wife-beating?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amy Atkinson on April 4, 2009
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This book is not a hard read, but it is packed with thought-provoking insights from the author. Valdes's descriptions of the 10 Mexican immigrant families from her study will forever change how you view culture and education. A must-read for all future educators, policy-makers, and parents.
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By Jen Watson on December 30, 2012
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This is a wonderful read for anyone working with children and families! Offering new perspective on how to look at race and culture! I would recommend this book to anyone working with children and families to take a different approach to working with these families!
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