Language Culture And Society Free Writing Sample

The Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary (1980) defines culture as “the incorporated pattern of human behavior that includes thought, speech, action, and artifacts and depends on man’s competence for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations” and “the customary beliefs, social forms, and material behavior of a racial, religious, or social group.” These definitions point to numerous important aspects of culture. First, culture permeates all human behaviors and interactions.

Second, culture is shared by members of a group. And third, it is handed down to newcomers and from one generation to the next. This description of culture is not aimed at organizations but is very appropriate to them (AAhad M. Osman-Gani ; Zidan, S.

S. 2001, pp.452-460).Whereas, Society can be defined as a grouping of people that has some common interests, common way of life, activities, purpose, principals, background, or goals and objectives.

A society can thus be consist of individuals, small groups of people or larger organizations such as establish in a local or state government, the federal government, or the country as an entire society. These groups or societies can be effective for the same or related goals and objectives, have some overlying goals and objectives, be in direct disagreement to one another, or any permutation of it. Most of these groups serve their own self-interests and their power is extensively anyone society such does not proscribe decentralized total power as labor, the military, the government, business, or any mixture of societies. This is a pluralistic society that exploits freedom of expression, action, and accountability; this in turn consequences in a widely expanded set of loyalties to many different causes and organizations and curtails the danger that any one leader of anyone organization will be left unrestrained.

These advantages and disadvantages, with its structure and composition, are in part several causes for the differences in point of view on what social accountability is, what it must be, what it should include, and what it should achieve.Thus, Native inhabitants, colonizers, and immigrants to the United Kingdom have and continue to represent a diversity of language backgrounds. Like it or not, the United Kingdom is highly multilingual after United States. Fashions in using language in education and attitudes to bilingualism have undergone numerous changes since the United Kingdom became autonomous.

The changing models of education and research viewpoint reflect shifting political moods rather than sound educational and linguistic research.Cultures diverge in setting up priorities for the teaching of reading and writing ( Freire, 1985). It is necessary that ESL students participate efficiently in a culture and understand and construe the goals of such institutions as schools and government. The development of biliteracy skills is necessary for these purposes.

Freire( 1985) maintained that biliterate individuals have the capability to interpret the events, institutions, and power structures that establish their existence; they can read the world first before the word.Wells (1987) referred to four literacy levels.  All culturally bound: performative, functional, informational, and epistemic. The performative centers on speech or the written code for communication, such as answering questions or writing a home address; the functional underlines interpersonal communication, such as reading a newspaper or writing a job application; the informational presume that reading and writings are for informational purposes, such as for accessing the accrued knowledge that schools transmit; and the epistemic level relays to literacy as a mode of communication and offers ways for cultured persons to act on and alter knowledge and experiences engaged to illiterates.

The attitudes optimistic by the epistemic level of literacy are those of originality, exploration, and critical assessment.According to McLeod (1986), literacy for thinking and social decision making will authorize language-minority children to view society in a logical way. This view permits them to claim control of society and offset present educational prominence on tests, skills, and external controls that are anti democratic in their effects. For instance, Franklin (1986) argued that literacy teaching is culturally based.

Teachers embrace tacit prospect of how literacy skills must be taught, the use of materials and methods, and the association of classroom literacy events. These expectations find out the literacy success and failure of children. To observe these findings, she presented excerpts of first-grade classroom transcriptions and teacher interviews in her study of literacy in bilingual classrooms. She concluded that the majority first-grade teachers expect students to have meta linguistic knowledge of sounds, letters, and words before the reading and writing of texts takes place.

Franklin explained that when Hispanic LEP children had obscurity with these skills, it was their cultural and language background that was blamed, somewhat than methods, materials or teacher assumptions (p. 51).In the case of bilingual students, language disparities are not to be interpreted as language deficits. Limited English proficiency does not mean the student is imperfect in the competence to develop language and thinking skills.

For this motive, biliteracy instruction is significant for the bilingual student’s involvement in an assortment of purposes and a variety of settings. Children’s bilingual literacy can be studied and deliberate as communication skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing in two languages for school purposes specifically, for placement, promotion, and grouping.Bilinguals use different languages depending on the setting and the addressee. Children often use the heritage language with older relatives whereas they use English with contemporaries.

Church services may be in the heritage language, but Sunday school is often conducted in English because the younger generation is typically not fluent enough in the heritage language.Limited use of a language is particularly harmful for the development of those heritage languages that are highly contextual. Development of the nuances of these languages depends on opportunity to use them in different contexts. Japanese, for example, uses very different terms when the speakers are of different age and social standing.

Children who are not exposed to the language in different situations and different speakers do not learn the full range of the language. A Japanese student recalled moving back to Japan and being unwilling to speak to her school principal for fear of using improper language. Korean children in the United States report abandoning Korean after adults scolded them for not being addressed using the proper form of the language.Bilinguals, when communicating with other bilinguals, frequently alternate languages.

Such code switching is more common in oral than in written language. A number of linguistic constraints determine when and how the switch occurs (Romaine, 1995). The syntax, morphology, and lexicon of the languages play a role on possible switches. Code switching occurs at the discourse, sentence, or word level in the communication between bilinguals.

A person may be talking to somebody in one language but switch to a different one when switching topics or when a different person joins the conversation. Bilingual mothers and teachers often employ code switching to call children’s attention.Basically, Children from linguistically and culturally diverse environments share learning, communication, and motivational styles that are at discrepancy with those of the mainstream culture. Language and culture of children emerge to play a significant role in the ways children communicate with and relay to others and in their methods of perceiving, thinking, and problem solving.

Individual differences in cognitive functioning are due not to distinctions in intelligence, but, rather, to personality appearances inherent in the sociocultural system.Oral and written language development of bilingual learners is affected in many ways by their linguistic context. The sociolinguistic categories of languages influence the way languages are regarded in our society and the relative status they hold in comparison to English. It is not surprising that Standard English predominates in schools and other situations, given its status as world, national, and official language.

The type of languages students speak and the type of writing system used by the languages will influence the ease of acquisition of English. The greater the difference, the more likely that families and school will neglect the development of the heritage language. Often these students develop limited oral language skills in their heritage language whereas they become fluent and monoliterate in English.The function and amount of use of a language influence proficiency of specific languages and language skills.

Our society offers opportunities to use English in a wide variety of contexts. Heritage languages are mostly relegated to use at home or ethnic neighborhoods. When the language is used only in casual conversations, the student will develop the informal oral register of the language. Practice of the written language in academic settings is needed to develop the language for successful schooling.

Opportunity to use languages stimulates motivation to learn and to practice them. Intensive exposure to English helps develop English proficiency among students who are native speakers of other languages. As the heritage language erodes due to its limited use, speakers become less motivated to search for such opportunities and their families, school, and churches accommodate increasing use of English and contribute to the loss of the heritage language. Persistent language loss among young members of an ethnic group results in language shift for the whole community.

Other social, cultural, political, and economic variables contribute to the maintenance or erosion of heritage language use within an ethnic community.Families and educators realize that if they want their children to achieve bilingualism, they must provide opportunities for use of the two languages in both oral and written form. Students need plenty of exposure to social English through activities that integrate bilingual students with native speakers of American English. A demanding curriculum that explicitly teaches English academic skills is a precondition to success in the educational system (Chamot & O’Malley, 1994).

Exposure to the heritage language through the Internet, connections with students in other countries, and as a medium of instruction in schools helps develop these languages beyond the familiar uses.Families do not always have access to written material in the heritage language. Their children develop oral skills but do not acquire literacy unless the schools have bilingual programs or they attend special weekend schools for the promotion of ethnic languages. In some cases the language is not written.

Thus, although students may be bilingual, they are not necessarily biliterate.Fundamental to the lack of communication in discourse on bilingual education are diverse perceptions of bilingual education. Bilingual education broadly defined is any “educational program that entails the use of two languages of instruction at several point in a student’s school career” ( Nieto, 1992, p. 156).

This simple definition is not what most people have in mind while they think of bilingual education. Lots of people in the United Kingdom, particularly its critics, think that bilingual education is giving “instruction in the native language most of the school day for several years” ( Porter, 1994, p. 44). Various proponents describe bilingual education as “dual language programs” that “consist of instruction in two languages equally distributed across the school day” (Casanova ; Arias, 1993, p.

17).Schooling usually defined as bilingual education really comprises a variety of approaches. Several programs have as goal bilingualism, whereas others ask for development of proficiency in English only. Programs are intended to serve different types of students: English speakers, international sojourners, or language minority students.

Some models assimilate these students. Models differ in how much and for how numerous years they use each language for instruction. The preliminary language of literacy and content instruction differs across models.Several use mostly the native language originally, others deliver instruction in both, and still others begin instruction in the second language, adding up the home language subsequent to a few years.

There are special programs for language minority students in which all the teaching is done in English with a second language approach. The difference between bilingual education and English-only instruction models is significant. Bilingual education presumes use of English and another language for instruction. Submersion, structured captivation, and ESL models work with bilingual learners but are not bilingual because they rely on simply one language English for instruction.

“Programs that do not provide significant amounts of instruction in the non-English language should not, in fact, be included under the rubric of bilingual education” (Milk, 1993, p. 102).As Ofelia Garcia’s statement with reference to bilingual children’s underachievement in education: ‘The greatest failure of contemporary education has been precisely its inability to help teachers understand the ethnolinguistic complexity of children …… in such a way as to enable them to make informed decisions about language and culture in the classroom.’ (Cited in Baker, 1996).

The present UK National Curriculum, for example, specially  does not suppose to tell teachers how to teach (only what to teach), whereas the highly significant Offices for Standards in Education and Teacher Training Agency both appear more anxious to assess teaching by quantifiable outcome and evidence of preparation than by the excellence of teacher—student relations (TTA 1998). With allusion to bilingual students, the dearth of the pedagogic perspective is mainly noticeable. In its current document The Assessment of the Language Development of Bilingual Pupils’, for instance, the Office for Standards in Education (UK) is principally concerned concerning the validity and expediency of ascribing ‘levels’ to bilingual students over and exceeding the levels already accessible through the National Curriculum (OFSTED 1997).As illustrations of ‘good classroom practice’ are presented in this document, none of these apply to the group of bilingual students regarding whom teachers often articulate the greatest concern (Moore 1995): that is to say, students who arrive in the country fluent in one language but possessing little or no visible knowledge of the chief language of the classroom (‘Stage 1 learners’).

Nor is there any obvious acknowledgment, in what is fundamentally a competence-driven picture of good practice (OFSTED 1997, p.9), of the significance of the teachers’ student correlation: an acknowledgment, that is, that for bilingual students ‘to invest their sense of self, their identity, in acquiring their new language and participating actively in their new culture, they must experience positive and confirming interactions with members of that culture’ (Cummins 1996, p.73).Moderately, the absence of a learned pedagogical perspective from ‘official’, centralized educational discourses has been reflected in a consequent absence at the local level.

In the quarter of continuing professional development for teachers, for case, there is a still a propensity for the prime focus to be on teaching materials for bilingual students, while in books and published research there remains an importance on de-contextualized theory rather than on the application of this theory to analysis of actual teaching and learning events. No one would desire to deny the instant value of classroom materials for teachers of beginner-bilingual students, numerous of whom are denied any constant support in the classroom, in the form either of an experienced EAL teacher or of proper and adequate training linked to working with bilingual students: positively, the provision and development of appropriate as well as working classroom materials have offered a helpful lifeline to lots of teachers on the brink of despair.Additionally, the requirement to develop such materials, as well the bases upon which they are developed, is typically underpinned by staid theory and research in the area. Though, the complexity with a prominence on classroom materials, if it is at the expense of professional development linked more particularly to pedagogy, is (a) that it just produces a quick-fix, short-term solution to a more enduring difficulty; (b) that it redirects teachers’ attentions away from the actual issues at stake, which are to do with how bilingual students are marginalized and silence, and how teachers can best assist those students to conquer such marginalization.

Placing such an importance on pedagogy is, a potentially risky business, as it inexorably quotes, describes and evaluates practice which is distinctly ineffective, counterproductive or absolutely hostile, besides practice which is effective, accommodating and understanding. It might also, proffer examples of practice which take a practical, realistic view of the place of teaching within the wider social framework and within the grammar of that wider perspective alongside examples of practice that shows to operate only within the restricted grammatical framework of the particular classroom or school situation within which the teacher is working.Whereas the latter practice might often though not completely be characterized by its fundamentally reactive nature (‘this is what needs to be done concerning this student or set of students in order to keep discipline, makes them more prone to achieve their best grades, and so on’), the former is more characteristically characterized by its fundamentally responsive nature (‘this is what need to be done concerning this student or set of students in order to maximize their opportunities—and the opportunities of all people—in the wider social framework in which they must operate’).As in a real case, a teacher who is deal with a work of art by recently arrived a bilingual student a work which apparently does not conform to any of the preset, outwardly fixed criteria by which the student will consequently be adjudged to be a proficient artist.

The teacher’s retort to this student, as someone who is simply not compliant up to standard of artistic practice, leads her to treat the student totally in terms of the amount of time and effort he is likely to demand and of the improbability of his ever being able to attain the necessary skill to pass a public assessment in the subject. Her pedagogy in relation to this student as a result becomes one subjugated by the need for repression and surveillance rather than by a stress on development. Against this, there is the teacher who, on encountering an almost same situation, assesses the student’s work (a) within the potential frames of allusion of a hypothetical alternative set of cultural practices and predilections, This might not match to the criteria by which the student’s capability will be judged here, but could they possibly conform more strongly to those that apply somewhere else?’), as well as (b) within the framework of the skills and general expertise the student will require in order to be considered competent within the terms of reference of the new symbolic value system within which they are now working (‘What extra skills will the student need to attain in order to be successful in the public examination in this subject?’).These two quite diverse perspectives on and interpretations of bilingual students’ work, partially caused by deviating, autobiographically rooted views as to what the teacher’s role must be, can lead to two quite distinct pedagogies and contribute to two very diverse learning outcomes (Alladina, Safder.

1995).The risk in making such identifications along with comparisons of teachers’ practice lies partly in its instant openness to misinterpretation. There is always the prospect, for instance, that the critical analysis of positive episodes of classroom practice will be read as a common criticism directed toward all teachers, signifying that they have a personal and exclusive accountability for everything that goes wrong with a student’s education a view too often originating from the official views and agendas of central government. There are as well the dangers that case studies can generalize the ‘messy complexity of the classroom’ and its never more than ‘partially apprehend able practice’ (Goodson and Walker 1991, p.

xii), or that they can entertain attention from where and in whose hands the larger troubles lie. On the other hand, teachers are, very keen to develop the quality of their work and find it as practical to reflect upon examples of futile practice as to imitate upon examples of practice that appear to be ‘good’.Teachers do not require being secluded from notions of improvement. Certainly, to treat them as if they do is as impertinent as to believe that their presented experience and expertise must be ignored.

Teaching to children’s low level of English is found even in bilingual programs and in spite of the children’s academic proficiency in their first language. In several schools the bilingual language curriculum is so impecunious that children cannot function in the more complex English-language lessons except at the lowest levels available. In writing instruction for secondary level limited English-proficient students, writing is frequently used mainly in response to test items or worksheets, to the elimination of more demanding expository writing (Moll ; Diaz, 1986).More lately, this similar phenomenon has become apparent in computer instruction.

Poor and LEP students do drill and practice; affluent and English-fluent students do predicament solving and programming ( Boruta, Carpenter, Harvey, Keyser, Labonte, Mehan, ; Rodriguez, 1983; Mehan, Moll, ; Riel, 1985). In all cases, students are locked into the lower levels of the curriculum.Part of the predicament is the devastating pressure to make LEP students fluent in English at all costs. Learning English, not learning, has become the controlling goal of instruction for these students, even if it places the children susceptible academically.

This prominence, usually based on the assumption that a lack of English skills is the prime if not sole determinant of the children’s academic failure, has become yet another means to preserve the educational status quo and contributes significantly to the domineering failure rate of Latinos and other minority youth in schools. This argument does not counteract the goal of children mastering English and achieving rationally in that language. Parents and teachers want that; it is obviously an important goal.The pedagogical validation for the reductionist practices described above is as follows: These children require learning how to deal with English-language schooling; therefore it is crucial that they learn English as soon as possible; otherwise they might never be competent to benefit from instruction.

Thus, while faced with LEP children, usually at diverse levels of English-language fluency, the foundation makes it seem quite rational for teachers to group children by fluency and regulate the curriculum accordingly, typically starting with the teaching of the simplest skill at least until the children know adequate English to benefit from more advanced instruction. Of course, learning English will take a little time, and the students might fall so far behind academically that disappointment is guaranteed. That risk seems inevitable to those who advocate this approach.Recent classroom ethnographies, as well as other types of observational studies, indicate the strong connection between social interactions that structure educational events and academic performance (Diaz, Moll, & Mehan, 1986; Mehan, 1979).

These studies argue that what goes on in the classroom counts, and that it counts a lot. They transfer the responsibility for school failure away from the distinctiveness of the children and toward a more common societal process. The basis of students’ problems in school is not to be found in their language or culture; it is to be found in the social organization of schooling.While student characteristics do matter, while the same children are shown to succeed under modified instructional arrangements it become clear that the problem’s minority children face in school should be viewed as a result of institutional arrangements which entangle certain children by not capitalizing fully on their talents and skills.

This conclusion is pedagogically positive because it suggests that just as academic failure is generally organized, academic success can be communally arranged.The work of Vygotsky ( 1978) provides a source of ideas for developing effective teaching and learning surroundings. His ideas are an influential supplement to ethnography because they state practical steps to take advantage of the interactional patterns that ethnographic studies so appropriately describe.Humans are inevitably social beings.

As all learning occurs in social and historical environments, these environments play a decisive role in an individual’s learning and development. Human beings themselves, through their social relations, form the social environments in which they function and in which they learn; thus, social interactions are the major mechanism through which human beings create change in environments and in themselves.Vygotsky (1978) points out that these individual-environment interactions are rarely direct. Humans use tools (e.

g., speech, reading, writing, mathematics, and most recently, computers) to intercede their interactions with their physical and social environment. A primary property of tools (be it speech or writing) is that they are first used for communication with others to intercede contact with the world. Much later they are used to mediate relations with self, as we internalize their use and they develop part of our behavioral repertoire.

Thus, Vygotskian theory posits a strong correlation between intellectual activity and external, practical activity interceded by the use of “psychological tools” such as literacy.The point, however, isn’t just that all learning takes place in a social framework and that the use of tools is a well-known characteristic of human beings, but rather than the trail of intellectual development moves from the social to the individual. The academic skills’ children acquire are directly related to how they interrelate with adults and peers in explicit problem-solving environments ( Vygotsky, 1978).Children internalize the kind of help they obtain from others and ultimately come to use the means of guidance initially provided by others to direct their own consequent problem-solving behaviors.

In other words, children first execute the suitable behaviors to complete a task with someone else’s supervision and direction (e.g., a teacher or peer) before they complete the task proficiently and independent of outside direction or assistance.Vygotsky intimates the instructional implications of this connection between social interface and individual psychological action through his notion of a zone of proximal development.

This zone is distinct as the distance between what children can accomplish autonomously (the actual developmental level) and what they can achieve with the assist of adults or more capable peers (the proximal developmental level). Vygotsky suggests that the proximal level reveals, in a real sense, the child’s future; the skills or behaviors that are in the procedure of developing or maturing.For instruction to be effective it should be aimed at children’s proximal level, at the future, and social interactions within the zone require to be organized to prop up the children’s performance at the proximal level until they are capable to perform independent of help (upon internalization). Instruction aimed at the actual developmental level is useless because those behaviors have already “matured” and been mastered by the children.

Likewise, aiming instruction underneath the actual developmental level or way beyond the proximal level is evenly ineffective. The “trick” is to aim instructional activities proximally, while offering the social support or help to ease performance at those levels.It is also observed that the significant issue of the cultural exclusivity of literature can be approached by rethinking what it is that we’re doing when we read texts with pupils in English classrooms. It might be more positive and less culturally restricted, to believe English teaching as an educational practice that is centrally concerned with reading practices, and that is interested in diverse texts and how they might be read and interpreted.

This approach opens the textual field limitlessly and resolves the problematic issue of canonicity. It entails a significant extension to the reading practices of English teaching.It is as well found that current bilingual education teaching and learning strategies gain from a holistic approach for biliteracy instruction ( Rigg ; Scott Enright, 1986; Rivers, 1986). Such an approach values the bilingual students’ background knowledge and strengths in developing discovery and inquiry learning modes.

Thus, teaching is hasty rather than structured instruction.Holistic teaching amalgamates multi-level of communication skills listening, speaking, reading, and writing concurrently in the learning process. The entire, rather than its parts, are significant. From a holistic teaching approach, reading and writing are related processes.

Reading can generate writing and writing generates reading. It must be noted that an approach derives from a theoretical perspective, whereas a method or technique is a practical relevance based on an approach.Holistic teaching approaches utilize the four communication skills in every learning situation. Students learn not simply through formal instruction, but through the possibilities of discovery and inquiry.

Learners, furthermore, are bounded by meaningful language contexts in which they can commence and react in the discovery and inquiry process and imaginatively seek to learn in a reactive, impulsive manner, rather than in passive, structured learning settings.The holistic teaching methods and strategies’ most renowned in recent research for bilingual children developing literacy skills in two languages are the language experience approach, dialogue journal writing, the conference-centered approach, and ethnographic teaching methods. These approaches center on the communicative functions of bilingual development supporting researchers who advocate the native literacy approach as a method to allow Latino children to develop expertise in their native language so that they can instigate to read in that language. This approach has the added benefit of demonstrating to children that their native language is renowned as valuable and valuable.

Most assaults on bilingual education arise from an unsupported fear that English will be neglected in the United Kingdom, whereas, in fact, the remaining of the world fears the opposite; the attraction of English and interest in British culture are seen by non-English-speaking nations as an intimidation to their own languages and cultures. It is duplicitous because most opponents of using languages other than English for instruction also desire to encourage foreign language requirements for high school graduation. Finally, it is regressive and xenophobic as the rest of the world considers capability in at least two languages to be the marks of good education.Educating bilingual students has to go outside merely teaching them English or merely sustaining their native language.

The worlds of work demands that graduate attain not only high-level literacy skills in English, and even facts of other languages, but also analytic ability and the capability to learn new things. Bilingual students have not simply the potential but also the right to be prepared to meet up the challenges of modern society.Criticisms of bilingual education are not all tenuous. Some bilingual programs are inappropriate for conveying quality education even if they have marked off some successful students.

Much of the credit goes to the daring efforts of individual teachers (Brisk, 1990, 1994a).Numerous bilingual programs are substandard. Somewhat than offering a blanket approval for programs on the basis of whether they use the children’s native language, advocates of bilingual education need to be selective by supporting only those programs and schools that adhere to the principles of good education for bilingual students. Bilingual education too often falls victim to political, economic, and social forces that feed on unfavorable attitudes toward bilingual programs, teachers, students, their families, languages, and cultures.

Such approaches translate into school characteristics that limit quality education for language minority students. Research on effective schools exhibits that schools can arouse academic achievement for students regardless of how situational factors persuade them. Deliberations of language and culture facilitate English language development devoid of sacrificing the native language and the ability to function in a cross-cultural world.Implementation and evaluation of bilingual education programs require to move beyond supporting what have too often become compensatory programs.

All students, but particularly bilinguals, deserve quality programs that prevail over negative stereotypes. Abundant consequences from empirical research and experience can help show the way.Numerous bilingual programs exist as school districts must fulfill with legislation and court decisions. They survive in segregation within unsupportive schools where the attitudes toward the program are negative and the prospects of students are low.

Students reject their identity in schools that do not accept their culture, but cannot adopt a new one ( Commins, 1989). Such students often become angry and unsettling ( Brisk, 1991b; McCollum, 1993). “One wonders what the achievements of such students would be if their energies were enlightened by an environment in which they no longer desired to trade ethnicity for school learning” ( Secada ; Lightfoot, 1993, p. 53).

Schools without clear goals depend on the individual teacher for the quality of the program and are more vulnerable to ideological pressures. Devoid of explicit goals for bilingual education, confusion and discontent between staff and community are expected results. Lack of leadership and inclusion of the program leads to disparities in opinion with respect to the purpose of bilingual education. While English-speaking and a bilingual faculties do not share goals, a profound gap in communication develops amongst the faculty members, affecting teachers, students, and language use.

Though many teachers are well qualified, escalating demands on personnel have resulted in the hiring of inadequately qualified teachers or the recycling of mainstream teachers with no training to teach bilingual students. Because the program is often seen as remedial, curriculums are narrow, materials are deficient, and assessment is inadequate to English language development.Such bilingual education programs must not be supported. The bilingual education should be supported not merely because it is good for bilingual students, but also because its accomplishment can benefit schools as a whole.

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( 1978). Mind in society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Wells G.

( 1987). “Apprenticeship in literacy”. Interchange, 18( 12), 109-123. 

Language Study In Native American

Storytelling is one of the most important ways Native American children learn the lessons of their elders their rich heritage, central standards such as truth, respect, and love, and the significant part played by each creature, whether the creature walks, flies, crawls, or swims. Through stories children learn concerning creation and planetary peace and about the need for two-leggeds to be accountable stewards of the Earth. Teaching stories exemplify the consequences of ethical and non-ethical behavior. Stories often deal with daily dilemmas. Some expose human foibles by poking fun at different aspects of life. According to Native storytellers, one reason of storytelling is to let people know ultimately that their behavior is inappropriate.

Within tribes, elders often take on the role of storyteller, sharing their sagacious advice with younger members. Some storytelling consists of sharing personal experiences. For instance, Lakota warriors were anticipated to boast about their exploits; they commonly did this through telling a story. Native Americans use storytelling to pass on epic exploits, tribal history, cultural beliefs and values, communal roles and norms, and humorous human foibles. Some storytellers travel from tribe to tribe telling of heroic deeds, predicting future events, and relaying news of births and deaths.In an oral tradition, listeners remember only some stories. Some tales die with the storyteller. By definition, stories that get passed from one generation to another are especially engaging and enchanting.

They typically deal with timeless themes or with themes that different people can adapt in different ways.Because Native Americans tell stories orally, the act of storytelling entails direct communication with audiences. Stories are meant to be told to audiences consisting of several people rather than read aloud to one or a few children or read silently by one. Listeners typically sit in a circle, often on the Earth. The circular formation assists to make listeners an active part of the story. Whereas many American stories try to lull listeners to sleep, Native American stories try to stay listeners engaged and involved. The personalized, individualized type of communication concerned in the storytelling of Native Americans strengthens the oral tradition and the messages passed on through it. Stories draw people closer, forming communions between adults and children, adults and adults, and children and children.

Native American stories are also rendered active by many inclusion of dialogue; almost all their stories entail characters who talk. The dialogue form invites listeners to participate in the stories. As the stories progress, listeners can pursue each twist and turn of logic. They can hold in imaginary verbal banters with the interlocutors, and, in general, participate in the interaction of the stories. Since most stories not only effect but also reveal popular roles, ideas, and values, they permit listeners to see parts of themselves reflected back upon them, thereby confirming and intensifying these roles, ideas, and values.Native American stories deal with a plethora of topics. Ojibway George Copway states, “There is not a lake or mountain that has not connected with it some story of delight or wonder, and nearly every beast and bird is the subject of the storyteller.”A large number of stories talk about creation, giving listeners a sense of where they came from and who they are.

Numerous stories explicate peculiarities of nature such as “Why Trees Lose Their Leaves.” Many, if not most, stories include animals, often explaining why animals look or behave in the ways they do. The following story names exemplify this: Why the Chipmunk Has the Black Stripe (Haudenosaunee), How Mosquitoes Came to Be (Tlingit), Why Mole Lives Underground (Cherokee), How Coyote Got His Cunning (Karok), and Why the Owl Has Big Eyes (Haudenosaunee). Other common topics of stories include the coming of corn; the changing of seasons; the sacred four directions; the four elements of nature (earth, water, fire, air); the birth, death, and rebirth of people and nature; and the celebration of war heroes (George Copway, 1977).

The language of Native American stories is typically concrete and colorful, and, according to American standards, is often off-color.Many of the details in the stories of Native People concern place — specific geographical locations, remarks concerning the terrain, comments about the climate, and so forth. Whereas American stories, like American culture, seem to stress time, Native American stories, like Native American culture, seem to center on place. In his foreword to Barry Lopez’s book on Coyote, Barre Toelken ascribed this characteristic to the live contexts of the original stories.

He wrote,A sense of locality, a feeling for place — both geographic and sacred — infuses these dramatic narratives. Small details of geography, seemingly minor references to the color of a feather, the direction of the wind, the smell of grass or water, are all signals which awaken memories, trigger recognition, and allow for the re-experiencing of the texture and quality of a life locally known as it becomes a context for Old Man Coyote’s universal adventures (Toelken, J. Barre 1977).So as to maintain interest and survive through the ages, most Native American stories use poignant, descriptive language and an overabundance of metaphors, allowing listeners to see and hear the messages.

Like imagery in the rest of their discourse, most of the metaphors come from nature. As they are delivered orally, the language is more colloquial and informal than in most American stories. Circuitous trains of thought and ungrammatical sentences, particularly in their original languages, often creep into stories. Listeners take for granted gaps in logical reasoning. Native People talk about the Earth as animate and all parts of the Earth as equal and interrelated. They say an inextricable relationship exists between the physical and spiritual worlds. They believe all things possess a spirit, together with things that Euro-Americans consider inanimate. Given these cultural assumptions, Native Americans talk concerning everything as figurative and metaphorical.

For people reared in the Western tradition, the Native view of symbolism, as expressed in their discourse, may be hard to understand. When a North American speaker uses the word sun as a metaphor, the speaker means the sun represents light or some other quality. But when a Native American speaker uses the word sun figuratively, the speaker is saying the sun represents light, becomes one with light, and is light. The sun and light are one with the speaker, listeners, and people who read the speech.

And since everything in the cosmos is linked, the speaker is saying the sun is one with everyone and everything.For Native Americans, metaphors, symbols, and images are not just figures of speech to add expressiveness and interest to messages. Joseph Rael, Picuris Pueblo writer, directly states that “a metaphor is not simply a figure of speech: “Metaphor is how God is present in our lives. Metaphor is energy that is in a state of action, breathing life into ceremony.” Instead of figures of speech, Native People speak of metaphors, symbols, and images as another sign that everything is inherently interrelated and one.

For example, Native People speak of the image of a spider’s web to represent the unseen threads that weave everything together (Joseph Rael, 1998, p. 1).John Lame Deer, a Sioux medicine man, and Paula Gunn Allen, a modern Laguna Pueblo and Sioux writer, identify significant differences between how Americans and Native Americans perceive symbolism:We Indians live in a world of symbols where the spiritual and the commonplace are one. To you, symbols are just words, spoken or written in a book.

To us, they are a part of nature, part of ourselves — the earth, the sun, the wind and the rain, stones, trees, animals, even little insects like ants and grasshoppers. We try to understand them not with the head but with the heart, and we need no more than a hint to give us the meaning. (John Lame Deer and Richard Erdoes, 1994)“Symbols in American Indian systems are not symbolic in the usual sense of the word. The words articulate reality — not “psychological” or imagined reality, not emotive reality captured metaphorically in an attempt to fuse thought and feeling, but that reality where thought and feeling are one, where objective and subjective are one, where speaker and listener are one, where sound and sense are one” (Paula Gunn Allen, 1992), p.

Pulitzer Prize-winning Kiowa writer N. Scott Momaday often discusses the living vitality of language in a culture immersed in an oral tradition. He clearly illustrates how sound, symbols, and images bring words to life with his telling of the figurative story of the arrow maker. The story passed down through many generations goes as follows:Once there was a man and his wife. They were alone at night in their tepee. By the light of a fire the man was making arrows. After a while he caught sight of something. There was a small opening in the tepee where two hides had been sewn together. Someone was there on the outside, looking in. The man went on with his work, but he said to his wife, “Someone is standing outside. Do not be afraid.

Let us talk easily, as of ordinary things.” He took up an arrow and straightened it in his teeth; then, as it was right for him to do, he drew it to the bow and took aim, first in this direction and then in that. And all the while he was talking, as if to his wife. But this is how he spoke: “I know that you are there on the outside, for I can feel your eyes upon me. If you are a Kiowa, you will understand what I am saying, and you will speak your name.” “But there was no answer, and the man went on in the same way, pointing the arrow all around. At last his aim fell upon the place where his enemy stood, and he let go of the string. The arrow went straight to the enemy’s heart” Momaday discusses how language determines the identity and reality of the arrow maker: “Language is the repository of his whole knowledge, and it represents the only chance he has for survival.” The metaphorical qualities of the story, says Momaday, are obvious since “The arrow maker is preeminently the man made of words. He has consummate being in language; it is the world of his origin and of his posterity, and there is no other.

Momaday’s discussion of language illustrates how images for Native Americans are more like holograms than pictures. They possess multiple dimensions, they change constantly, they replicate off themselves. The parts are separate but they work together. Only when seen together, every part in relationship to each other part, do they take on a life of their own.Listeners in any culture may experience symbols on many levels, but Native symbols seem to possess many more layers and levels than the symbols used in western cultures. Tuscarora Chief Elias Johnson explained, “And when you have learned all that language can convey, there are still a thousand images, suggestions, and associations recurring to the Indian, which can strike no chord in your heart. The myriad voices of nature are dumb to you, but to them they’re full of life and power.

” For Native People the number of layers and levels of symbolism seem limitless; they talk about imagery as complex and multifaceted (Elias Johnson, 1972, p. 32).Many Native American stories involve the number four — do things four times, do things over four days, carry four bundles, and so forth. Native People believe the number four sacred since there are four directions, four stages of life, and four elemental forces — earth, air, water, and fire. Lame Deer declared, “We Sioux do everything by fours.” (Lame Deer and Erdoes, Lame Deer, p. 115)Storytellers communicate large portions of their messages nonverbally. Some include American Sign Language as part of their presentation. Rate, volume, pitch, emphasis, accent, inflection, rhythm, pace, pronunciation, and articulation comprise just some of the ways storytellers communicate with their voice. They also use eye movements, facial expressions, hand gestures, and body motions to take on their audiences. Speaking stories forces words to come alive. The words carry the storytellers’ breath, tone, mood, and feelings.

Storytellers communicate messages not simply through words and nonverbal behaviors, but also through silences. The placement of pauses and the duration of pauses are important rhetorical tools. Dennis Tedlock, Professor of Anthropology and Religion at Boston University, claims, “The spoken word is never delivered in the gray masses of boxed-in words we call prose; indeed, according to Frieda Goldman-Eisler, as much as half the time spent in delivering spontaneous discourse is devoted to silence, and ‘pausing is as much a part of the act of speaking as the vocal utterance of words itself.’”

Storytelling is a communal experience, involving storyteller to listeners and listeners to each other. Storytelling also links all too past generations who have heard the same story and to future generations who will heed the same story. Stories, then, bond generations together in an oral tradition. Shared histories, hopes, fears, legacies, and safe harbors get passed along in whispers.Another major difference between Native American stories and American television or books is the constituent of time. On television, all problems are resolved before the end of the program. The size of a book indicates the length of the story. Since children do not know how long a story will last, they also do not know if central characters will resolve their problems in the next two minutes or in the next two hours. And, since all stories do not have a happy ending, listeners do not even know if the central characters will resolve their dilemmas at all. This anticipation gives stories a spellbinding excellence, seizing listeners like a good suspense novel.A related issue is that all elements in a story occur in the moment, encouraging listeners to focus on the present.

Abenaki Joseph Bruchac explains, “When Native People speak of the time when animals could talk, they are speaking in the present tense” (Bruchac, Roots of Survival, p. 16).The stories of Native People usually include structural markers. Typical beginnings include “Would you like to hear a story?” (Haudenosaunee), “When the world was new” (Seneca), and “They say it happened long ago” or “Long ago” (Pima and Papago). Typical endings include “That is all” (Haudenosaunee), “That is the end” (Abenaki, Pima, and Papago), “And so the story goes” (Abenaki), and “That is the center of the basket” (Pima and Papago). This last phrase means that the different parts of the story have been woven together.Sometimes storytellers use beginnings that involve the audience by asking them to respond. Zuni storytellers typically begin by saying, “Now we are taking it up.

” Audiences reply, “Yes, indeed.” Storytellers continue, “Now it begins to be made.” Audiences again reply, “Yes, indeed.” More simply, Yakima storytellers usually begin, “This is the way it was,” and listeners respond, “Yes. “Involving the audience by having them contribute often occurs throughout the story. For example, storytellers may tell listeners to say “Hey” every time the storyteller says “Ho.” Having audiences respond all through stories helps to keep them awake, aware, and involved.Native American stories are rich with everyday details, vivid imagery, and short, straightforward thought units. The ease of stories makes them easier to digest. They often use the techniques of exaggeration, distortion, and misrepresentation. Although many stories employ humor, few are raucously funny; rather, they seek to make listeners smile while understanding a serious point.Native American stories affect and replicate their beliefs that people and the natural world are linked and that no being is superior to any other.

In story after story, the sun, moon, stars, trees, rocks, clouds, and animals are alive, possessing a soul, and endowed with feelings. They often interact in stories with people. In some stories, people change into animals or animals change into people.Stories give insights into the fears, values, and feelings of a people. All people have a story to tell, and all people’s stories entail pleasure and pain. But what constitutes pleasure and what constitutes pain vary across diverse people and different cultures. For example, whereas American stories often depict nature as frightening and dangerous, most stories of the Native People present nature as gentle and accommodating. Almost all Native stories comprise nature since almost all stories take place outdoors.

The values usually advanced in Native American stories differ from those typically put forth in American stories. Whereas American stories can be compared to report talk, Native stories may be compared to link talk because they often focus on cooperation, compromise, sharing, interdependence, pride in the success of the community, and connections between the personal and the planetary. They stress the significance of establishing, nurturing, and negotiating relations with oneself, other people, and everything in the world. They support the importance of people, Earth, and place — even while the stories are not about such matters (Deborah Tannen, 1990).

The Cherokee story How the Milky Way Came to Be shows neighbors concerned with one family’s problems. The people meet and give everyone an equal chance to speak. They find a solution without hurting the dog in the story. Cooperation and community triumph (Blanche, Native American Reader, pp. 58-59).In the Onondaga tale The Earth on Turtle’s Back,” a duck, beaver, loon, muskrat, and turtle all work to broach the Earth and place it on the back of the turtle. The determination of the muskrat is especially noteworthy; he succeeded where others had failed.The Spokane story Speela and Wood-Tick advises listeners to act suspiciously, warning that if people treat people and animals without kindness and respect, they will suffer negative consequences in the end.

The Winnnebago story How Skunks Came to Be has a similar message, but puts it in a form similar to Aesop’s Fables: The last line of the story tells the moral. Thus, this story ends, “Moral: Don’t be vain.” (Blanche, pp. 62-64)While the heroes in American stories tend to be large and influential, the heroes in Native American stories are often the small and powerless. For instance, in the Pawnee story Song of the Wren,” a priest feels enchanted by the beautiful sound of a bird. He then discovers that the bird is a wren, “the smallest, and the least powerful of birds that seemed to be most glad and to pour out in ringing melody to the rising sun its delight in life.” The priest concludes, “Here is a teaching for my people. Everyone can be happy; even the most insignificant can have his song of thanks.

”?(“Song of the Wren”, in Streep, The Sacred Journey, p. 17). ConclusionsStorytellers are crucial members of tribal communities. They provide as conduits of the oral tradition from one generation to the next. They are rememberers, educators, entertainers, historians and carriers of tradition.In the Native American way of thinking, where the physical and spiritual worlds are one, the idea of “myth,” as most Americans understand the term, does not exist. Native People do not differentiate between stories, myths, legends, fables, parables, and tales. No story of any sort is considered fictitious. All tell the truth.As a group, Native People follow the adage, “There are only two things we can give our children. One is roots. The other is wings.

” Stories give children a firm base of roots in the Earth from which to grow. Allowing children to determine the outcome of some of the stories gives them wings to fly like eagles, soaring higher and higher. Just as learning is a never-ending process, so too, people can never impede learning from stories. Stories deal with timeless topics, varied vistas, infinite choices, and expanding horizons. Native People say the act of storytelling constitutes a ceremony. Taos Pueblo Terry Tafoya, Executive Director of Tamanawit Unlimited, an international consulting firm, puts it this way: “Every time we tell a story it’s a ceremony. In English, we translate it that when you tell a story you ‘wet it with your breath.’ You give it life, just as when you give water to a seed it blossoms. ” (Terry Tafoya, in Crozier-Hogle and Wilson, Surviving in Two Worlds, p. 135).Stories continue to live long after they are told. People ponder their purposes, meditate about their meanings, and study their symbols. They interact with the stories as if the stories were close friends. Greg Sarris, Miwok and Pomo, and Professor of English at the University of California, Los Angeles, say, “The way Western man is taught to read is to find the meaning, the symbols. Instead I say no, a story is not something you figure out the meaning of, but something you carry with you the rest of your life to talk back and forth with.” (

Work Cited

  1. Blanche, Jerry D., ed. Native American Reader: Stories, Speeches, and Poems E98.F6 N385 1990.
  2. Bruchac, Joseph. Roots of Survival. Golden: Fulcrum Press, (1996).Deborah Tannen, You Just Don’t Understand (William Morrow & Company, Inc.
  3. , 1990).Dennis Tedlock, The Spoken Word and the Work of Interpretation (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1983), p. 48.Elias Johnson, Legends, Traditions, and Laws of the Iroquois or Six Nations (Lockport, NY: 1881), p.
  4. 220 reprinted in Cry of the Thunderbird, ed. Charles Hamilton (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1972), p. 32.George Copway, Traditional History and Characteristic Sketches of the Ojibway Nation, 1851; reprint, (New York: AMS, 1977).
  5. Greg Sarris, Surviving in Two Worlds: Contemporary Native American Voices (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1992), p. 229Jone Lame Deer and Richard Erdoes, Lame Deer: Seeker of Visions ( New York: Washington Square Press, 1994), pp. 107-108Joseph Rael, Ceremonies of the Living Spirit ( Tulsa: Council Oak Books, 1998), p. 1.
  6. Lame Deer, John (Fire). Lame Deer, seeker of visions New York : Simon and Schuster, 1972.Paula Gunn Allen, The Sacred Hoop: Recovering the Feminine in American Indian Traditions (Boston: Beacon Press, 1992), p. 71.
  7. Scott Momaday, The Man Made of Words (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1997), pp. 9-10.Streep, “Song of the Wren”, The Sacred Journey, (William Morrow & Company, Inc.
  8. , 1990). p. 17.Terry Tafoya, in Crozier-Hogle and Wilson, Surviving in Two Worlds, p.
  9. 135.Toelken, J. Barre. “Foreword” to Giving Birth to Thunder, Sleeping with His Daughter.
  10. Coyote Builds North America, by Barry Lopez, xi-xiv. New York: Avon, 1977.

Las Vegas Crime Zones

In crime prevention, punishment in varying forms and degrees are implemented with the impression that such actions are a social and moral deterrent to criminal behavior which will thereby limit violence in a society. In the last 20 years, several approaches were advanced in an effort to provide behavioral modification to a multi-disciplinary approach that prevents the incidence of criminal deviation. Before a certain crime occurs in a society, authorities are enhanced to take action instead of allowing punishable behavior to prosper.

Criminal justice functions in a way that promotes concern for everyone by lodging on preventive theories and focusing on the individual capacity to control and restrain errant behavior. This is the essence of a healthy society that does not disregard common morals and conventions for personal gain or for retribution. Intelligence operations has indulged and expanded to have a better control over security measures that ensure the civilian safety. In the face of a diverse population this might be quite impossible however achievable with the help of certain theories that focus on the consequences of urbanization relative to crime patterns and incidence.

  Parks and Burgess’ Concentric Zone Theory of cultural group invasion, dominance and succession describe the contemporary urbanization of American cities.  These five concentric zones when applied to Las Vegas lay the central business district. Without necessarily following the circular pattern of a Concentric Zone, Zone II will consist of a huge number of lower-income migrants in a high level of transition area. This area will easily be identified as the outlying suburbs where crowded housing exists closer to the where the industrial jobs are.

The middle class will lived respectively in Zones III and IV with rich families moving outward into Zone V and avoiding an industrial expansion.  Park and Burgess’ work were focused on the process and results of city growth, but using this theory in the interest of crime-identification may present features that will link to crime incidence.  Using this theory and in analysis, we will be determined to understand that highest rates of delinquency is relatively increased in areas around the  center of downtown Las Vegas and in between Nellis Air Force Base and Cheyenne Avenue where poverty and ethnic heterogeneity exists. Shaw (1972) found that external social structure and cultural factors showed delinquent crime was correlated to places, rather than to the people who lived there.

 As industrialization sets in more people are attracted to industrial jobs and so many Americans and ethnic groups migrated to underlying urban areas looking for factory work.  Las Vegas, as a well-planned neighborhood never originally constructed to house many people but is currently stretched to accommodate newcomers. Crime-laden areas in North Las Vegas lie nearer to the downtown portion along Craigmont Villas and the Freemont. Prostitution abound coupled with narcotics trading.

Another identified crime zone would be the South Central area where robberies in this part of town are higher than anywhere else in the valley. Nearer to the hotel districts, such findings are relative to Shaw’s idea that the type of environment also affects the actions of criminal behavior. For law enforcement, declaring these known areas as an anti-crime zone would necessarily increase surveillance and alert around the questionable neighborhood. The neighborhood would also be alerted to criminal elements and would increase security and safety measures to life and property.

A proposal to order crime suspects to leave a known crime zone residence is impossible but heightened police presence will necessary push the crime to another area. Crime often take incidence in a crime-conducive area, thereby making it less conducive to criminality should be the main goal of a police department aiming for social organization. Community structure would necessarily explain how poverty  is fostered near the downtown areas proximal to the new industrial zones however the presence of neighborhood organizations like schools which is abundant around Craig Road and Craigmont Villas question how crime abounds around a district where community-wide youth supervision is enhanced. The general principle around Parks and Burgess’s work along with Shaw may not fully and generally be applied to contemporary Las Vegas more particularly in the Northern part of the city.

Shaw’s findings showed delinquency rates when moving away from the center of the zone. In Craigmont Villas, this area is applicable to Park and Burgess’ identification of an underlying area nearer to an industrial zone. The presence of supportive foundations for the youth around this crime district seeks to question how delinquency is abundant in this environment. Most likely, the presence of criminal elements around the neighborhood abound making it a district which could gain a positive change should a police network work hand in hand with neighborhood organizations like schools and church-based organizations that would help mediate against juvenile crime.

 Characteristics of criminal errant behavior has been described in Shaw as features of social disorganization brought about by weaker community structures such as poverty and delinquent behavior. Environment plays a major role where ethnic heterogeneity and residential mobility often provides a stable explanation over variations in crime and violence rates. In the first area, identified as the Northern part of Las Vegas,   criminal role models abound around the Craigmont Villas making the area quite conducive to criminality.  Residents in this area complain but do not work together to solve problems their existing problems which is making them a target for violence.

The moral fabric of individuals around this area and not the social and economic structure of the society is the root of the problem. I believe that the crime incidence is brought about by the neighborhood level and belief. While crime incidence in the Southern part of Las Vegas is owed to economic relevance making an area appealing to robberies which is the main crime of the district.  I believe that any urban theory is out-of-date because Parks and Burgess’ concentric zones have diminished.

Although the rule of nature may still apply in ecosystems of high concentration of people in a particular area coupled by similar characteristics of need and poverty, survival skills are still being employed where a common disorganization is observed. This may not necessarily lead to a deviant behavior but should be a common cause for concern among law enforcement when fielding surveillance authorities in problem areas. Police presence still ahs an important role of crime deterrent and the recognition of crime zones would best aid law enforcement to apply methods that promote a positive organized structure in the community. Works Cited   Park, Robert & Burgess, Ernest W.

(1921). Introduction to the Science of Sociology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. (3rd revised ed.

1969).Park, Robert E., Burgess, Ernest W. & McKenzie, R.

D. (1967). The City: Suggestions for Investigation of Human Behavior in the Urban Environment. Chicago: University of Chicago.

Shaw, Clifford R. & Henry McKay. (1972). Juvenile delinquency and urban areas.

Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

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