About The Heart Is the Teacher Leonard] Covello’s experience as an Italian-American immigrant boy enrolled in the American public-school system and later his frustrations teaching second-generation Italian-American high-school students caused him to focus his life’s work on resolving their specific educational problems. Covello’s accomplishments in creating a pedagogical strategy to meet the needs of the children of Italian immigrants and his identification of the need for language and cultural retention into the second- and third-generation, and beyond, place him at the very heart of Italian-American history. The applicability of his ideas and work to other immigrant groups inserts his life and efforts into the general history of immigration in America. In addition, Leonard Covello is a major figure in a relatively small, but remarkable, group of intellectuals who posed cultural pluralism as the better path for the immigrants and for the United States than the hegemonic Americanization project. To the inexorable, and deplorable, prospect of the demise of the Italian-American community as a consequence of assimilation, viz., Americanization, Covello proposed an alternative vision of how Italian-American and other immigrant cultures (and especially their languages) could endure and flourish in their new homeland. – from the Afterword by Gerald Meyer
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