ADS & ODS 1987

The Leeward - Manoa Project (August 1987)
Viewpoint: Samoan Students Benefit More From a Bilingual Education Teaching (October 1987)
Deceptions of Asians Distorted even Today (December 1987)

The Leeward - Manoa Project

by Danny Campos

Eight students are currently enrolled at the university this summer as part of the newly installed Leeward-Manoa Project. The Project is funded by the McInerny foundation with the stated purpose of finding and assisting qualified native Hawaiian and Filipino students gain access to a higher education. The Leeward Manoa Project supplements already existing programs such as the College Opportunities Program and Upward Bound that assist "disadvantaged" students gain entry to the University. However, the Project differs in that it specifically targets underrepresented minorities.

Among the Project's objectives are to motivate native Hawaiian and Filipino students from Leeward Community College to continue their education at the university level; to provide initial academic, social, and financial support to native Hawaiian and Filipino students who will be transferring to Manoa; and to increase the number of native Hawaiian and Filipino students at the University.

The project officially began in January of this year through the point effort of the Hawaiian Studies Department and Operation Manong. During the months of January through April, the recruitment of qualified applicants were selected and registered for their eventual transfer to Manoa. In May through August, the selected applicants were oriented to the project by meeting with faculty members, mentors, and an overnight stay at the Hale Aloha dorm. During this time formal summer instruction also began for the selected students. Beginning August through December, the students will be registering for Fall classes in their respective fields.

The eight students (twelve slots were available) are currently enrolled in two classes; Ethnic Studies 399 and English 109. The classes are cosigned to instill ethnic identity, and to make the students aware of social, cultural issues that affect the community locally and globally. In addition, writing and communication skills are honed to prepare the students for university work. This included a seminar provided by the Learning Assistance Center (LAC) that conducted a four-part study skills session on note taking, test taking, and research paper writing.

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Viewpoint: Samoan Students Benefit More From a Bilingual Education Teaching

by Lusia Peato

Samoan students, or students in general for whom English is a second language, have a difficulty in understanding the teacher and the lessons being conducted in schools. Aside from learning a new language, these students are faced with adjusting to a new culture, and new ways of doing things which make learning even more difficult. As a result, these students often feel inferior and are labeled "retarded learners" when they are tested in another language not theirs.

However, being labeled "retarded learners" is the farthest thing from the truth. These students need help. They need help from a person who is sympathetic to their situation and is able to speak the student's own native language.

Furthermore, they need help, sometimes, from a person who is of the same blood. It is for these reasons that I started working as a tutor at Dole Intermediate School in Kalihi, using Bilingual Education as an approach to teaching. The students I work with are behind in English, although they have been living in Hawaii for quite some time, while others are newcomers from rural villages in Samoa. In a Bilingual Education program for Samoan students, two languages are used, Samoan and English, to teach the students the basic skills in reading and comprehension.

These skills are used more and more as Samoan children gain a better command of the English language.

Through this approach, the Samoan student builds his or her vocabulary in steps, instead of having to be forced to learn a new language from scratch. Terms are explained in simple, understandable fashion. The student's curiosity is perked and learning becomes a way of developing self-confidence and self-satisfaction. Going to school, then, becomes something to look forward to, rather than some place to spend and bear dull hours.

Since terms are more explainable in Samoan, topics are covered in less time and more lessons are learned. In addition to making English comprehensible, the work of a bilingual tutor is geared to reducing cultural confusion and conflict that occur when the language and culture of the home are different from the language and culture of the school. A Bilingual Education program tries to make the transition between cultures much easier by emphasizing the importance of the child's language and culture in the school. I fully support the idea of Bilingual Education a hundred percent. The fact that I am a Samoan makes tutoring Samoan students at Dole much more than a part-time job.

My willingness to help the students of my country is, in part, due to realizing that my past experiences in English learning are being recreated by the students. The same frustrations and helplessness I once felt, my students now undergo. If I could ease the pain of a Samoan child in his or her transition to English I will consider myself happy all of my life.

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Deceptions of Asians Distorted even Today

by Clem Bautista

On December 2, 1987, Monitor Radio (a news program produced by the Christian Science Monitor and aired on KHPR) featured a story concerning an "Amerasian" child. I have always admired the Monitor newspaper reportage for its seemingly unbiased viewpoint and, usually, more in-depth coverage of international events. There was, however, a problem with this particular story, a problem which became evident only when the story had ended.

The story was not unusual. An American male (in this case, a civilian) assigned to Vietnam fell in love with a Vietnamese woman, and a child (a girl) resulted from the relationship. The American tried to marry the woman, but he was reassigned before the paperwork could be completed. In the years that followed, the American "lost track of the Amerasian girl." By luck, in a Life Magazine article on Amerasian children, the American spotted a child (then, a teenager) who physically resembled him. With little help from the United States government, the American tracked down the child and brought her back to the United States where, he believes, she has better educational opportunities. The story was sincerely touching, for the American had relentlessly pursued the child for over two years and spent over 150,000 (much of it borrowed). Moreover, as far as educational opportunities go, the child probably is better off in the United States. So what's the problem? The problem was not in the story itself, but in the way the story was told.

The way the Monitor Radio story was told brought to fore a seldom acknowledged, often ignored (for patriotic propriety), but glaringly conspicuous bias in our society which even the Christian Science Monitor failed to eliminate. Throughout the story, one wonders where was the Vietnamese woman whom the American initially fell in love with? The American (we are told) is now married with three children of his own, so we cannot expect him to commit bigamy. This, however, is not the point.

What was lacking in the story, a story of great human interest, was any mention of the Vietnamese woman who gave birth to the Amerasian child other than that the American had fallen in love with her. Was the mother of the child dead or alive? If she was alive, what was her experience in raising the child? Did she also want to leave Vietnam? Was the Vietnamese government holding her back? Was OUR government preventing her from coming? Did she abandon the child? Etc., etc.... One full half of the reason why the Amerasian child even exists was completely neglected. What is ironic is that the Monitor report began with the idea that war disrupts and breaks up families.

One might argue that radio time is expensive, and so only what is of most interest to most listeners need to be aired. Thus, most listeners are assumed to be interested a the person who is fifty percent "American" rather than one person who is one-hundred percent Asian. So, by neglecting the Vietnamese mother of the Amerasian child, the Monitor has deemed the Asian half of the story as unimportant and, perhaps, irrelevant. Simply put, the Monitor has subtly revealed the racism endemic in our society. Furthermore, this racism is based on perceived blood ties and not cultural ones.

The internment of Japanese-Americans during World War Two was, to say the least, a not-so-subtle exhibition of the same racism against Asians. Most Americans would like to believe the gross display of racism is a thing of the past, that we are more informed and more tolerant than our predecessors. But it should be remembered that the internment of Japanese-Americans was not so much a historical event as the culmination of a historical process. The event is over, but, as the Monitor report shows, the process is still with us.

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