Fresh off the Boat: Helping Immigrants and Non-Immigrants Unpack the Stereotypes that Affect their School Experience in America

Justine Busto, ESL, East Mecklenburg High School

Final Unit(pdf)   Implementing Teaching Standards(pdf)


This curriculum unit addresses the fact that all students, especially immigrant and minority students, face stereotyping in our classrooms. Not only do other students stereotype them, but also they hold stereotypes of others and may be quite unaware of the effects these stereotypes have on their school experience. Teachers, as leaders in the classroom and school, need tools and activities to deal with the sensitive topics of stereotyping and racism. This unit explores research explaining why we stereotype and what to do about it. Activities, readings, videos and projects are described that can be used in many types of classrooms in middle and high school, in content areas such as English, Language Arts, ESL, and Social Studies. Stereotypes about Africa and African immigrants are the focus of some of the research and activities, but most information and activities contained in this unit could pertain to any student. The resources section of the unit contains a list of sources and readings related to stereotypes and immigrants from Asia, Africa, and Latin America, among other groups.