In North Carolina there exists a small rural community college. This community college served the academic needs to six surrounding counties. Its mission was to offer a high-quality, ground-breaking education, and student support that stimulated scholarly achievement, educational excellence, and economic growth. The English as a Second Language (E. S. L. ) program fell under the guidance of this mission statement. Diversity was widely accepted and valued in the E. S. L. program and college-wide in all of the other programs. However, when working with multiple cultures, there were tendencies for students to have clashes.
Interracial clashes had occurred because there was a lack of experience with other cultures, past negative experiences with other cultures, or misinformed knowledge taught in the household about these cultures (Lederach, 1995). The effects from negative ethnocentrism can reflect psychologically, sociologically, and economically. Referring to Devine (1989), and the study conducted on stereotypes and its association with prejudice, Devine’s data revealed that negative stereotypes and prejudice were strongly correlated and could ignite a psychological impact on other cultures.
More specifically, attributes related to prejudice included isolation, being devalued as an individual, being labeled by other ethnic groups, and individuals facing inter-group bias (Tropp, 2003). An outcome based on this literature was to lead and manage a culture of scholarship, which addressed diversity, inclusion, and justice in an educational venue. The current curriculum for this North Carolina college did not address ethnocentrism at a micro-level of learning for any of the English as a Second Language learners, and it was quite vague with the Academic Related Courses (ACA).
In other words, students did not reflect on interpersonal interactions or behaviors when encountering other ethnic groups. There was a gap in the current curriculum for North Carolina instructors who taught academic success skills (ACA) for college entry level students, and there was no mention of how to actually deal with prejudice until it has already occurred. The two student textbooks, The Community College Experience and Connect to College: Engage, Learn, Change, were assigned to the ACA courses that consists of learners reading only 3-4 pages on the various forms of prejudice.
This short reading was to prepare students in advance of previewing the student handbook when students began college. Because of time constraints, there were no activities, research, or presentations that required students to use introspection concerning existing personal attitudes or beliefs with ethnic minority groups. However, there was even a larger gap with adult ESL learners who did not even receive this opportunity because ESL was not a curriculum class. This program was budgeted through a federal government grant called the English Literacy/Civics Education project.
Therefore, one outcome for this product was to lead and manage change in the current curriculum. In 2008, the percentage of adult students enrolled in ESL programs with North Carolina Community Colleges was 8. 1% (Duda, 2008). Duda (2008) claimed there were 58 public community colleges in North Carolina, and there were 991 community colleges at a national level (p. 86). At a national level, 14% of students enrolled in community colleges were registered as adult Hispanic learners (p. 86), and at a regional level, 14% of the students were Hispanic students. In 2010, the statistics for this community college for ESL students enrolled was at 16. % or 211 students out of the total student body, which was 3444 students.
A national census was conducted in 1990 by county for each state to determine how many Hispanics were living in the United States. In Jackson County, North Carolina, there were 155 Hispanics residing in Jackson County during the year of 1990. In 2000, there were 577 Hispanics living in the area. This was a substantial increase of 272. 3%. In the state of North Carolina alone, there were 76,726 Hispanics in 1990. However, by the year of 2000, there were 378,963 Hispanic individuals.
The Hispanic population had increased 393. %, and this was for just one ethnic group and one county (Office of State Budget and Management, 2000). As more and more ethnic groups moved into the region, there were possibilities for conflict between cultures. According to the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (2014), also known as the EOEC, there were 88,778 charges of prejudice filed with the court system across America. More specifically, 31,073 of these charges were associated with race. This was the equivalent to 35% of the 88,778 charges filed in the United States were based on ethnicity.
Additionally, in 2013-2014, figures for North Carolina schools had shown there were 1,135 cases that involved violence by students; e. g. , sexual assault, attacks on teachers, and possession of weapons on campus (Department of Public Instruction, 2014). The department of Public Instruction had also noted at a national level there was 10,132 cases of reported crimes documented in 2014. Approximately 3000 of these cases involved a gun on campus. As mentioned earlier with Hitler, the Crusades, and Dylann Roof, ethnocentric views can lead to violent acts.
This institution’s ESL program was also experiencing issues with prejudice based on negative ethnocentrism. There were approximately twenty-two adult students enrolled in the ESL program and twelve students enrolled in the English as a Foreign Language program (EFL) on this campus in North Carolina. There were transition programs that help ESL adult students to shift to regular college classes, but these programs focus on strengthening vocabulary skills or developing conceptual critical thinking skills, none of which addressed multiculturalism (Mathews-Aydinli, 2006).
Despite the fact ethnocentrism could be viewed in a positive light in all cultures, adult E. S. L. students were not being acculturated into mainstream society because of negative ethnocentric views, which were holding them back (Spencer & Swanson, 2000; Schumann, 1986). According to Berry (1997), acculturation was a change that occurred within the culture of a group. The issue with negative ethnocentrism was that it was harmfully affecting classroom instruction, communication between the represented cultures, and those behaviors were crossing over into other societal institutions, e. . , student workplaces (LaFromboise, Hardin, Coleman, & Gerton, 1993).
One possible factor contributing to this problem was the lack of adult student-focused orientation programs for foreign students enrolled in E. S. L. classes. Younger students who arrived at the United States were placed in ESL programs anywhere from K-12 (Mathews-Aydinli, 2006). When a Boolean search was conducted about orientation programs and curriculum for young students addressing bullying and prejudice, there was an abundant amount of information on the internet for programs that introduce multiculturalism.
However, when the same search was conducted for adult ESL learners, there was no current information available about adult ESL learners receiving the same opportunity. More so, there were orientation classes offered at a curriculum level for American college entry students, but E. S. L. adult learners had never had this prospect for various reasons. Hammond and Axelrod (2006) looked at ethnocentrism as a model of competition and how behavior was altered, even when multiple variables were put into place to guard against potential negative effects from ethnocentrism.
The evidence suggested that favoritism toward in-group similarities were innate and individuals were predisposed to help those of the same groups even at an individual cost to maintain cooperation of the whole group. This literature demonstrated that there were many variables in place and even when these variables were altered, ethnocentrism would take place if it was for the betterment of the group in order to avoid in-group conflict. Heydari, Teymoori, Hagish, and Mohamadi (2014) observed the influential factors that drove ethnocentrism in a socioeconomic environment. These factors were socioeconomic status, anomie, and authoritarianism.
Because the students at this college were in direct competition with each other regarding jobs isolated to a small rural area, this literature supported why ethnocentrism was in a constant state of alienation with other ethnic groups. Spencer and Swanson (2000) researched the internal factors that supported ethnocentric beliefs and how they were linked to contextual aspects, developmental positioning, trade and industry, social variables, gender- and sex-role opportunities and stereotypes. More importantly, Spencer and Swanson (2000) noted that most of the studies conducted on ethnocentrism lack any association connected to cultural bias.