Textproduktion: Comment/Article "The Rich People's School" by. L. Kubuitsile
Hinweis: Die Prozentangaben in Klammern zeigt die Gewichtung der einzelnen Aufgaben.
Choose one of the following tasks:
“Your mother did the right thing, Sylvia. You shouldn’t think she didn’t.” (l.37/38) Explain the grandmother’s statement and comment on the mother’s decision to leave her home country without her daughter. In your comment consider what can be done to help children in similar situations. (40 %)
Compare Sylvia’s experiences at “the rich people’s school” with those of another character from literature or film who feels he/she does not fit in due to his/her social and cultural background. Assess the way they deal with their situation. (40 %)
Later on Sylvia has become a teacher and witnesses bullying at her school. She decides to write an article for the school paper in which she comments on the effects of discrimination. She also suggests ways teachers and students can deal with the problem. Write this article using Sylvia’s childhood experiences as a starting point. (40 %)
The grandmother tells Sylvia that her mother did the right thing when leaving her in Africa and that she should not think otherwise. But was it really the right decision?
By saying that, the grandmother shows that she can feel Sylvia’s disappointment about having been left behind and she clearly knows that she misses her mother. Therefore, she wants to console Sylvia with her statement. Obviously, the grandmother does not want to tell Sylvia her mother’s motives for leaving Africa because she considers her too young to understand the situation. She puts her off till Sylvia is old enough to tell her the reasons and only claims that the mother’s choice was right.
I am convinced that there must have been good reasons for the mother’s decision. Maybe she is not able to care for her daughter because of working all day long or the social environment in America is not suited for a child. Anyway, she should keep in touch with Sylvia calling her regularly or visiting her in Africa.
Furthermore, in my opinion, it is not sensible to take a child away from their social environment. They should not have to change schools or lose their circle of friends because many of them cannot cope with changes likes these during the process of growing up. Thus, living with close relatives like her grandmother are a good alternative when your mother has to set off for another country.
Moreover, I think Sylvia should decide on her own if she wants to live in America or remain in Africa instead. As she is too young for that decision, she should stay with her grandmother and think about her future when she is old enough. Until then, her mother should enable her to visit America in order to consider where she wants to live.
On the whole, Sylvia’s mother made the right decision which was certainly not easy for her. Staying in Africa is the best choice for Sylvia until she is old enough to assess the situation.
Sylvia and Junior from the novel “The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian” are very similar characters who both have negative experiences when changing schools. So what is the best way to deal with this situation?
Sylvia is a poor African girl attending a school for rich people at which there are mostly white students whereas Junior, whose family is poor too, is the only Native American at his high school.
They are both targets of bullying due to their cultural background and their physical appearance. Sylvia is black and eats typical African food (ll.7f.), for which she draws the attention of her fellow students (l.12) who then take her lunchbox away and tell her to leave (l.23). Junior, however, is teased because of his congenital physical disabilities and his Native look.
Another common feature is the absence of love and warmth at school. Sylvia experiences these feelings only when being with her grandmother (ll.51f.) and Junior realizes that there is no personal attention.
The protagonists deal with their situations in a very different way. Sylvia lies to her grandmother about being a victim of bullying (ll.25f.) and does not attend school anymore (l.31). By contrast, Junior, being highly intelligent, is willing to continue his education at all means. He makes friends with another smart student with whom he can converse on a similar intellectual level. Furthermore, he fights hard to integrate and to improve his social standing. Later, Junior becomes a successful basketball player in the varsity team. Still, he has to realize later in the novel that he will never fit into the “white man’s world”.
On the whole, Sylvia and Junior are two perfect examples of how to react after having been a victim of bullying. You should not isolate yourself and hide the truth trying to deal with the problem alone but look for friends to talk with about the situation and work hard to improve your social standing.
Having been a victim of bullying myself, I would like to describe the effects of discrimination and what can be done by teachers and students.
Bullying leads to various psychological effects such as stress, depression and a negative self-perception because when you continously have to listen to other people telling you about your personal deficits, you will start believing them. Accordingly, your self-confidence will decrease and you will consider yourself unable to achieve anything in life. In my case, I did not attend school anymore and spend the day at the local river instead.
As a result from these psychological effects, bullying can also have various physical ones such as a headache, insomnia or a gastro-intestinal disease because it is a fact that stress can make you ill. I, for example, had to suffer from hunger because my grandmother did not provide any more food after having lied to her that my teacher was going to take care of it.
Moreover, victims of bullying are often isolated because other students tend to side with the bully due to group dynamics. Therefore, discriminated students have hardly any friends. This procedure of isolation often includes suicidal thoughts, which makes bullying even more an important matter that concerns both teachers and students.
Teachers, for instance, shall encourage friends of the victim to approach them. Thus, the experiences can be shared with others and help can be provided. A problem shared is a problem halved!
Furthermore, teachers or students can initiate a discussion between the victim and the bully to talk about the motives of the unsocial behaviour. This way, the bully will get to know about what it means having to suffer from discrimination.
And lastly, teachers or students can implement preventative measures like strengthening the classroom community spirit, conducting awareness-raising events or paying special attention to “bullylike” behaviour.
As can be seen from above, discrimination is a problem that concerns all of us and that requires both an active confrontation and a rapid solution because it has far-reaching consequences.
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