English: A dominant factor in the schooling experiences of immigrant and refugee children. Lloydetta Quaicoe, PhD Candidate Division of Education, Arts and Social Sciences University of South Australia Thursday, January 22, 2009 12:30 pm to 2:00 pm Metropolis Boardroom. Overview.
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Lloydetta Quaicoe, PhD Candidate
Division of Education, Arts and Social Sciences
University of South Australia
Thursday, January 22, 2009
12:30 pm to 2:00 pm
. immigrant and refugee children
Children (aged 8-16) and Parents: Colombia, Cuba, Ethiopia, Iraq, Russia, Sudan, Taiwan, and Turkmenistan (identified by continents)
Teachers (aged 25-55+): 20 P/E, 21 J/S High
7 Anglophone schools: 4 P/E and 3 J/S High
Edita’s drawing of her regular classroom (aged 9, from South America)
‘My very first day at school I just understood “hello”. This is the teacher waving her hand and I am thinking “what are they saying?” I didn’t know how to speak English. The children [classmates] all put up their hands and they know the answers. I didn’t know what they were saying. It was like my first day and I didn’t have to do the work’ (aged 9, from South America).
L.Q.: Can you tell me about your first day in your classroom?
Jumi: I was kind of [pause] I never go to school and I didn’t know English.
L.Q.: How did that make you feel?
Jumi: I met [an ESL girl] from [South America] and teacher said we can speak together because we knew very little English (aged 12, from Africa).
Edom’s drawing of his early school experiences (aged 10, from Africa)
Juanita: I was bored; it was different.
L.Q.: How was it different from school back home?
Juanita: Everything was different.
L.Q.: How was it different?
L.Q.: What kinds of things were different?
Juanita: Language (aged 14, from South America).
‘This is me skipping and the students are playing. I liked my first day of gym.... I can play many games’.
Johanna’s drawing of her gym class (aged 13, from Central Asia)
Ekatrina’s drawing of her gym class (aged 12, from South America)
My first day [in] the gym class I was happy. The gym teacher counts to ten in Spanish and French…. This is the rule of the gym: Follow what the teacher says, take care of your friends, and respect [that is] helping, listening to teacher.... This is a chair; if people get hurt, they say where it hurts and they get to sit on the chair (aged 12, from South America).
Elena: The picture is about ESL room.
L.Q.: Why did you draw the ESL room?
Elena: Because I like ESL room.
Elena: Because we learn stuff and sometimes we watch movies and get treats and get a contest; that’s why I like ESL room.
Elena’s drawing of her
ESL Room (aged 10, from Northern Asia)
L.Q.: Why did you draw the painting?
Ekua: Because I like to be an artist.
L.Q.: How does that remind you of school?
Ekua: Because we have art time and when we have art time I’m happy.
L.Q.: Is there anything special about art that you like?
Ekua: Yes. I like drawing girls, persons and fashion girls.
Ekua’s drawing of her ESL room and regular classroom below (aged 10, from Africa)
Soledad: Here, it was not until I learned English that I could have a relationship with people [local students]; but in my country, I could just build a relationship with anyone.
L.Q.: What was school like for you when you were learning English?
Soledad: I wouldn’t talk to anyone (aged 16, from South America ).
Jasha: I don’t have any friends in my [regular] classroom.
L.Q.: Why don’t you have any friends?
Jasha: They [local students] know that I am not very good in English. If I was Canadian and speak English, I will have friends…. If I know English it would be better. I can never know English like Canadian people (aged 15, from Northern Asia).
Juanita: I got upset in class with what the [local] students were saying. I didn’t understand and I left the class and teacher says: “Juanita”, but I left the class.
L.Q.: Were they teasing you?
Juanita: I don’t know.
L.Q.: What did they say?
Juanita: I don’t know. I left the class (aged 14, from South America).
‘It must be a scary situation. It must be very stressful to come from a completely different environment and culture and thrown right down [in] the middle of a classroom’ (T11-P/E).
‘It almost seems like they are scared and confused and it’s like they are put into the school.... I can’t imagine being put into a school [where] most of the children look totally different than you do’ (T10-P/E ).
‘I had a child from Africa, the only dark-coloured child in the school…. And that child probably felt he physically stood out, not only did he not speak English but he was culturally different; he physically stood out differently’(T05-P/E ).
‘I can only imagine that it would be difficult for them making the transition from their country to a new country…all these different things in addition to just the different setting’ (T22-J/S).
‘I can’t imagine for a young boy or girl in grade six who’s left their own country totally and then coming here and being forced to perform at grade level when they couldn’t read in their own language. They couldn’t do that kind of Math in their own language, and then suddenly, they are in grade six and it’s being taught to them in English, I would think that’s really a difficult adjustment’ (T03-P/E ).
‘I feel sometimes immigrant and refugee children are put in here and it’s too early, even just for them to get a little bit of language [English] before they come into school will help’ (T10-P/E ).
‘I think the children should go somewhere for a length of time to get better skills, just the basics on how to live here...a place where they could go before they come to us.... They have no concept of what it is like’ (T41-P/E ).
‘Whereas if they are looking on, on the outskirts, not fully involved but [pause] how can they be involved when they don’t have the language [English]’ (T10-P/E )?
‘I’ve had 5 who couldn’t speak a word of English all at the same time and I am thinking: “Wow, this is just too much, too much for the teacher, too much for the students, too much certainly for those children that are coming in for the first time”’ (T33-J/S ).
‘I’ve seen children come in September and in June are still not out with the general school population’ (T14-J/S ).
‘The child who came to me in January, he sat in the class and that was it and he couldn’t speak to me’ (T26-J/S).
‘I’ve seen times as well when the children will just sit there for eight or nine months and not participate’ (T24-J/S).
The children experience a loss of language, culture, place, and community.
Canada’s multiculturalism policy goals:
References immigrant and refugee children
Apple, MW 1999, Power, meaning, and identity: essays in critical educational studies, Peter Lang, New York.
Biles, J, Burstein, M & Frideres, J 2008, eds. Immigration and integration in Canada in the twenty-first century, Queen’s University, Kingston.
Bourdieu, P 1977, Outline of a theory of practice, Cambridge University Press, New York.
Bourdieu, P 1980, The logic of practice, Stanford University Press, Stanford.
Bourdieu, P 1991, Language and symbolic power, Polity Press, London.
Fairclough, N 1989, Language and power, Longman, London and New York.
Fairclough, N 1995, Critical discourse analysis: the critical study of language, Longman, London.
Hillier, J & Rooksby, E 2002, eds. Habitus: a sense of place, Ashgate, Aldershot.
Luke, A 1995, ‘Text and discourse in education: an introduction to critical discourse analysis’, Review of Research in Education, vol. 21, no. 1, pp. 3-48.
Olwig, KF & Gulløv, E 2003, ‘Towards an anthropology of children and place’, in Children’s places: cross-cultural perspectives, eds. KF Olwig & E Gulløv, pp. 1- 20, Routledge, London and New York.