Most of us know very little about the students to whom we are teaching English. Most adult ESOL classes in Arizona consist primarily of Hispanic students, although many languages and cultures are represented in our classes. People of Mexican decent represent the largest Hispanic group in the USA. Mexicans lived in the what is now the United States before the United States' independence, and, Mexican labor migration started long before the Puerto Rican and Cuban labor migration around 1880, with the so-called bracero or "strong arm" program in agriculture, picking fruits and vegetables in the fields. Most of the campesinos or field hands, fell under the amnesty law for undocumented Mexicans who became legal residents through President Reagan's 1986 amnesty decree. A large number of undocumented aliens come from Mexico and not from other Latin American countries This might be the reason why, today, Mexicans without legal documents encounter much greater restrictions than other Hispanic immigrants by the Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS). All legal and undocumented immigrants are entitled to a free education in the United States. The undocumented immigrant students in our adult classes, as well as their children in public schools, are aware of being labeled a menace to society and are constantly afraid of deportation as well as discrimination. Also, Mexican immigrants have limited contact with individuals from other Hispanic groups. Presently, reasons for immigrating to the United States, especially from Mexico, are family-reunification and poor economic conditions. We become more effective teachers when we become literate in the culture of our Hispanic students which is the intent of this handbook.

To become more culturally sensitive toward our students, we must first recognize that there are, indeed, cultural differences between the Anglo culture and the Hispanic culture.


TABLE OF CONTENTS THE CULTURAL PROCESS ANGLO CULTURE