It has been a little while since my last blog post! I had pneumonia so I had to postpone meeting with my family until I recovered. Tonight’s visit was a long one since my partner wasn’t able to make it. Usually we divide up the homework help and finish in a couple hours but since it was just me tonight, it took about four hours to help everyone get their homework done. A couple interesting things happened during tonight’s visit that connected with things we have discussed in our Refugee Resettlement class. First, I was helping one of the high school girls with her health homework and the topic was related to sex. She told me how before coming here to the U.S., she never had any notion of what sex was. And now they had to discuss it in class and it made her extremely uncomfortable. In our Refugee Resettlement class, we discussed cultural differences that can make health class difficult to teach. Many refugees that come from more conservative cultures are extremely uncomfortable having to listen to sex-related topics. It brings up the question of if they should have to learn it or not. Is it something so important that they need to learn it, even if it makes them feel very uncomfortable? Or should they be able to be excused from that portion of health class?
A second interesting thing that happened involved use of television. In class, we discussed how TV could have both positive and negative side effects. Refugees who don’t know much about American culture might learn a lot about it simply through watching TV. Learning about American culture this way can be dangerous because many TV shows are not representative of the ways most Americans behave. They can be laden with violence, sex, and drama. Commercials can also have negative side effects because they advertise things that wouldn’t be healthy for newcomers such as lots of junk food and unnecessary material items. However, while I was helping the kids with their homework tonight, the mom of the family turned on the TV and started watching The Price is Right. She softly repeated each letter after it was said on the TV and pronounced each word/sentence that was said. She is trying to learn English, and I thought that in this case watching TV is a very beneficial exercise for her!