One of the complicated concepts I wanted students to examine in my “American Experience” class was our identity as Americans.
A nation of immigrants, to what extent should we Americans hold on to the heritage we bring from other countries — our immigrant heritage? And to what extent should we leave behind that heritage and embrace the “mainstream” American culture? Should we speak the language of our parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents? Or should we, sooner rather than later, leave that behind and speak only English.
Is America a country that is a “melting pot”? Or a “salad bowl”?
We would spend an entire class period in a Socratic seminar on this topic. Conversation would often become very personal and very heated. Then we would write about it.