Vol. 7. No. 1 R-11 June 2003
Return to Table of Contents Return to Main Page

American dreams, global visions: Dialogic teacher research with refugee and immigrant families

D. F. Hones,(Ed.). (2002)
Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates
Pp. vii + 195
ISBN 0-8058-3708-6 (paper)
$19.95 (also available in cloth $59.95)

In rural as well as large urban districts, students from diverse cultures are becoming an increasingly large part of the student population in U.S. schools (Nieto, 2002). Today's teachers, overwhelmingly white, monolingual females (Nieto, 2002) are often not prepared to serve diverse K-12 students effectively and their ill-preparedness can negatively affect the education these students receive in public as well as private schools. The question of how to best prepare pre- and in-service educators for the multicultural and multilingual classroom they will serve remains unanswered. Multicultural educators have long argued one possibility--forging strong connections between schools and newly arriving immigrant families. Illustrated in the findings from dialogic teacher research in "typical" North American cities, contributors to Hones' volume, American Dreams, Global Visions, provide readers with an increased understanding of the sociocultural, political, linguistic, and economic challenges facing refugees and immigrant families entering the United States on an annual basis.

The text, divided into three parts, initially provides readers with the foundation of dialogic teacher research--research that engages ethnographic, participatory, and narrative elements. Through this form of critical inquiry, educators of marginalized populations have the potential to promote social justice at the local, national, and global levels as cultural storytellers, healers, and workers. Having evolved from a class project within a university TESOL program, Chapter 2 of the volume provides the theoretical background for the text and a roadmap for conducting similar inquiries in other classroom and community settings.

Part II of the text illustrates ethnographic portraits of four immigrant families in the United States (Hmong, Mexican, Assyrian, and Kosavar families). Each of the four chapters in Part II begin with a brief profile on the people and culture of the family's native country followed by the moving accounts in the immigrant family's own words. Both pre- and in-service educators, graduate and undergraduate students, contributed to this eloquently written resource for those current and future professionals providing services and support to immigrants and refugees from around the globe. Suggestions for further readings, in addition to detailed listings of Web sites (relevant to the specific culture of each chapter), are included at the end of Chapters 3, 4, 5, and 6. Scattered throughout the text are valuable tables, maps, illustrations, and photographs that provide readers with visual representations of population statistics, geography, and the day-to-day experiences of the most recent newcomers to the U.S.

The final section of the text provides readers with an overview of each of the themes discussed in previous chapters, in addition to implications for educators wanting to initiate systemic change at the local school level. Not only do the authentic experiences of immigrant families heighten readers' cultural understanding of diverse populations, they bring a real perspective to the social, political, and economic factors of global famine, war, and natural disasters. Finally, the contributors urge readers to embrace dialogic teacher research in their own setting in order to realize how the personal struggles, tragedies, and triumphs of their students mirror their own family's ethnic and linguistic past (Hones, 2002). This powerful text is a must-read and would fit well in teacher education, anthropology, and language/culture courses.


Hones, D. F. (2002). Dialogues of Cultural Educational Change. In D.F. Hones (Ed.), American dreams, global visions: Dialogic teacher research with refugee and immigrant families (pp. 3-17). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Nieto, S. (2002). Language, culture and teaching: Critical perspectives for a new century. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Carla Gerdes
University of Cincinnati

© Copyright rests with authors. Please cite TESL-EJ appropriately.

Editor's Note: Dashed numbers in square brackets indicate the end of each page for purposes of citation..

Return to Table of Contents Return to Top Return to Main Page