A Clash of Cultures: Recognizing the Balancing Act Played by Hispanic Youth in America

01 Oct

In America today, the Hispanic youth likely lives in two conflicting worlds. Hispanic youth feel great pressure to “fit in” with the mainstream culture. They don’t want to be different from other students, and crave acceptance from peers. This is no different from the need to belong that every other adolescent feels, yet, there is a marked dissimilarity between the two youths.

The Hispanic youth goes home to a vastly different culture from that of the mainstream – a home where Spanish is the primary language spoken, where values are not the same, and where expectations vary. How can schools and teachers help to bridge the gap between cultures? Below are a few tips that teachers can use to lessen the divide between home and school.

  • Help students tie class activities to home by connecting lessons to student prior knowledge. Let students link the activity to something they are familiar with already.
  • Show respect and expect all students to do the same.
  • Be patient and positive.
  • Minimize homework. Students may have difficulty completing work without assistance, or may have parents who are unable to help.
  • Connect lessons to the “real world”. Use hands-on activities.
  • Encourage parental and family involvement, as this is crucial to student academic achievement. There are always needs for class volunteers and helpers, tutors, chaperones on field trips, etc.
  • Share. Allow time for students to talk about the culture at home. Embrace cultural differences.


Explore the compelling short stories of Cuban-American storyteller Antonio Sacre
Videos and audios. and


For activities and ideas for the classroom or for youth or
young adult groups in and around Hispanic Heritage Month
(Sep. 15 – October 15, 2012) and



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