20 SES 07 A, Inclusion and Immigration Are the Big Agendas for Welfare Professions and How Can These Aims Be Supported by Digital and Visual Media through Application of Interactivity and Art?
A “pedagogy of silence” (Epstein, 2009) pervades classrooms when Immigration is the topic of study in the history curriculum for middle schoolers. Our classrooms are increasingly diverse, but the ‘white elephant’ emerges when teachers ignore, defer, minimize, or impede meaningful opportunities for students’ expression. Over the last five years, media and national discourse on Immigration, and its’ ancillary pejorative terms: illegal, alien, reform, border security, walls, and deportation conjure up images via social media and television, but, too often through direct personal experiences. (Time for Kids, 2015).
In Arizona, my home state, the Republican controlled state legislature passed Senate Bill (SB107), signed into law by former Governor, Jan Brewer (Republican), before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that for police to pull over and demand identifcation from someone based on their ethnicity or "looks" iwas unconstitutional, (Lo Giurato, 2012).
In Italy, where the author lived, taught and directed a study abroad semester with 10 teacher candidates, who completed 50 hours of practice teaching in elementary in middle schools in one city, the term “immigration” held levels of meaning, other than the exodus of more than 11 million Italians at the turn of the 20th century for the Americas. (Willis, 2005).
This arts-based study, in keeping with the theme of the 2017 EERA annual meeting, acknowledges how students perceive text, images, identities, and cultural phenomena, related to Immigration based upon their “thinking,” rather than content “knowledge.”
It considers three overriding questions: (1) Does the curriculum meaning of “immigration” differ from a kids’ point of view? (2) Do we differentiate kids’ thinking and kids’ knowing? (3) Should we, as educators and researchers, care to make the distinction, and can that be accomplished through students' visual art?
Michael Polanyi’s (1967) research on tacit knowledge, “the belief that creative acts (especially acts of discovery) are shot-through or charged with strong personal feelings and commitments” is employed as the conceptual framework in this study, on how kids view the term, “Immigration” through their original visual art. Polanyi (1967) termed the pre-logical phase of knowing as “tacit knowledge” and theorized that, “we can know more than we can tell.”
This study’s significance is timely. Current immigration realities, issues, policies, and the rise of nationalistic movements, present a montage of images, media, and rhetoric that filter into the mainstream frame of reference. (Barber, 2016). For our most vulnerable students, words cannot express the depth of their ‘thinking,” on the construct of Immigration.
Eisner (2002) argues for connoisseurship as a way of “seeing.” How do kids “see” immigration? Why should teachers be concerned? And what can policy makers learn from the intense, passionate and policy-charged images reflected in the creations of young people?
Arizona V. United States. 567 U.S. Supreme Court of the United States. (2012). Barber, T. (July 11, 2016). A renewed nationalism is stalking Europe. The Financial Times. London: The Financial Times Limited. Eisner, E. (2002). The Arts and the creation of the mind. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Epstein, T. (2009). Interpreting National History: Race, Identity, and Pedagogy in Classrooms and Communities. NY: Routledge Glaser, B.G., & Strauss, A. L. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory: Strategies for qualitative research. Chicago: Aldine. Kim. J.H. (2016). Understanding Narrative Inquiry. London, UK. Sage Publications, Inc. LoGiurato, B. (June, 25, 2012). The Supreme Court Just Overturned Most of the Arizona Immigration Law. Arizona: Business Insider) Polanyi, Michael (1958, 1998) Personal Knowledge. Towards a Post Critical Philosophy.London: Routledge Polanyi, Michael (1967) The Tacit Dimension, New York: Anchor Books. Time For Kids (September 11, 2015). What's Happening in Europe?: Here's what you need to know about the crisis in Europe.(Retrieved from: www.timeforkids.com.) Willis, C.A. (2005). Destination America: U.S. Immigration, When did they come? Educational Broadcasting Corporation. Willis, J. (2008). Qualitative research methods in education and educational technology. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, Inc.
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