Which one of the following statements best expresses the main idea of the passage?

Shiyi-Zhang on May 30, 2019

Why is C correct?

Why is C correct? Why is A incorrect?

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Victoria on May 30, 2019

Hi @Shiyi-Zhang,

While the passage does claim that "Tollefson's Alien Winds examines the resettlement process from a different perspective by investigating the educational programs offered in immigrant processing centres," it does not claim that this new perspective is significantly different than most studies of Southeast Asian immigration. In addition to this, Tollefson does not focus on the economic and cultural factors involved in adjusting to a new country; rather, they examine the educational programs offered in immigrant processing centres. It is for these reasons that A is incorrect.

C is correct because the passage focuses on Tollefson's argument that there are foundational issues with educational programs for Southeast Asian immigrants as the programs are based on Western assumptions and ideals.
The first paragraph of the passage sets up Tollefson's argument by articulating how it differs from the majority of studies which focus on Southeast Asian immigration to the United States.
The second paragraph outlines Tollefson's issues with these educational programs, namely: the emphasis on immediate employment; the focus on American values, attitudes, and behaviours; the attempts to instil in the immigrants the Western principles of self-sufficiency and individual success; and the encouragement to shed cultural traditions and ethnic identities.
The third paragraph serves to support Tollefson's observations by relating them to the strategies employed by "turn-of-the-century educational programs designed to assimilate European immigrants into United States society."
The final paragraph consolidates the preceding three and illuminates the main point of the passage, that "Tollefson convincingly blames the philosophy underlying immigrant educational programs for some of the adjustment problems afflicting Southeast Asian immigrants."

Hope this is helpful! Please let us know if you have any further questions.

heidiz on June 23, 2019

Isn't the word "blames" a little strong though? And for A, didn't the passage say he "examines the resettlement process from a different perspective"? Wouldn't this be enough to suggest a significant departure?

Victoria on June 25, 2019

Hello @heidiz,

Based on the subject matter and the language used in the passage, I don't believe that the word 'blames' is too strong. In paragraph 2, the author discusses Tollefson's "main contention," which is that the emphases underlying the educational programs are often "counterproductive and demoralizing."

The author also highlights Tollefson's claim that the "attempts by program educators to instil in the immigrants the traditionally Western principles of self-sufficiency and individual success" are a "fundamental flaw" in the educational programs as they often undermine "the immigrants' sense of community," "isolate them from the moral support and even from business opportunities afforded by the immigrant community," and "encourage the immigrants to shed their cultural traditions and ethnic identity and adopt the lifestyles, beliefs, and characteristics of their adopted country if they wish to enter fully into the national life."

It is also significant to note that answer choice C says that Tollefson blames this philosophy for "some of the adjustment problems." In other words, Tollefson is arguing that this underlying philosophy is partially responsible (or partially to blame) for the programs' tendency to undermine the sense of community, isolate immigrants, and encourage immigrants to shed traditions and identities.

As for answer choice A, the passage does say that Tollefson "examines the resettlement process from a different perspective," however, there are two issues with this answer choice. Firstly, the fact that Tollefson examines the adjustment process of Southeast Asian immigrants from a different perspective does not also mean that this is a significant departure from most studies. The passage offers us no information regarding what most studies examine so we cannot assume that a focus on educational programs is a "significant departure" from the status quo. Secondly, answer choice A says that Tollefson focuses on "the economic and cultural factors involved in adjusting to a new country." This is incorrect as we know from the passage that Tollefson focuses on "the educational programs offered in immigrant processing centres." While these programs may have an influence on economic and cultural factors, the factors themselves are not the main focus of Tollefson's research, making answer choice A incorrect.

Hope this helps!