English a dominant factor in the schooling experiences of immigrant and refugee children
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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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English a dominant factor in the schooling experiences of immigrant and refugee children

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
Overview immigrant and refugee children

  • Contextual Framework

  • Data Generation

  • Analytic Tools

  • Participants’ Profile

  • Children’s & Teachers’ Perspectives

  • Policy Implications and Recommendations

  • Future Research

  • Sharing Our Cultures – À la découverte de nos cultures


Contextual framework
Contextual Framework immigrant and refugee children

  • Enrolled in school soon after their arrival in St. John’s if they are of school age

  • Placed in regular age-grade appropriate classes (no more than 1-year difference)

  • Pulled out for ESL instruction about 2 or 3 hours in a 7-day cycle in K-9 grades

  • Received ESL courses in the only senior high school offering ESL in the province


Data generation
Data Generation immigrant and refugee children

  • Qualitative and longitudinal study

  • New sociology of childhood (prioritizing the children’s own voices, their lenses)

  • 95 non-participant classroom observations (Feb 2005-June 2006)

  • Children’s drawings and explanations

  • In-depth face-to-face interviews with children, their parents and teachers


Analytic tools
Analytic Tools immigrant and refugee children

  • Critical Discourse Analysis (Fairclough 1989, 1995) Three dimensions of CDA: Text, Discourse practice, and Sociocultural practice (situational, institutional, societal)

  • CDA focuses on how power operates through language (Apple 1999; Luke 1995)

  • Habitus, field, and capital (Bourdieu 1977, 1980, 1991; Hiller & Rooksby 2002)

  • Dimensions of place (Olwig & Gulløv 2003)


. immigrant and refugee children

Participants’ Profile

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


Participants profile continued
Participants’ Profile (continued) immigrant and refugee children

  • 18 newly arrived children (pseudonyms)

  • 11 from resettled refugee and 7 from immigrant families (Permanent residents)

  • 6 had little or no formal schooling

  • 6 were in schools without anyone from their linguistic, cultural, or religious background

  • 18 had no working knowledge of English on arrival; categorised as ESL students


Arrival
Arrival immigrant and refugee children

Edita’s drawing of her regular classroom (aged 9, from South America)


Edita s explanation
Edita’s Explanation immigrant and refugee children

‘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).


Jumi s interview excerpt
Jumi’s Interview Excerpt immigrant and refugee children

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).


Early days
Early Days immigrant and refugee children

Edom’s drawing of his early school experiences (aged 10, from Africa)


Edom s explanation
Edom’s Explanation immigrant and refugee children

  • L.Q.: How do lines remind you of school?

  • Edom: Because the first things I drew [were] lines.

  • L.Q.: Why?

  • Edom: When I came to school, I didn’t know English…. They [classmates] were talking to me in English. I was thinking: “Talking to me bad or good” (aged 10, from Africa)?


Juanita s interview excerpt
Juanita’s Interview Excerpt immigrant and refugee children

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?

Juanita: Different.

L.Q.: What kinds of things were different?

Juanita: Language (aged 14, from South America).


First day in the gym
First Day in the Gym immigrant and refugee children

‘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 gym class
Ekatrina’s Gym Class immigrant and refugee children

Ekatrina’s drawing of her gym class (aged 12, from South America)


Ekatrina s explanation
Ekatrina’s Explanation immigrant and refugee children

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).


The esl room
The ESL “Room” immigrant and refugee children

Elena: The picture is about ESL room.

L.Q.: Why did you draw the ESL room?

Elena: Because I like ESL room.

L.Q.: Why?

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)


Esl room and regular classroom
ESL Room and Regular Classroom immigrant and refugee children

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 s interview excerpt
Soledad’s Interview Excerpt immigrant and refugee children

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 s interview excerpt
Jasha’s Interview Excerpt immigrant and refugee children

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 s interview excerpt1
Juanita’s Interview Excerpt immigrant and refugee children

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).


Teachers interview excerpts
Teachers’ Interview Excerpts immigrant and refugee children

‘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 ).


Teachers interview excerpts1
Teachers’ Interview Excerpts immigrant and refugee children

‘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).


A teacher s interview excerpt
A Teacher’s Interview Excerpt immigrant and refugee children

‘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 ).


Teachers interview excerpts2
Teachers’ Interview Excerpts immigrant and refugee children

‘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 ).


Teachers interview excerpts3
Teachers’ Interview Excerpts immigrant and refugee children

‘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 ).


Teachers interview excerpts4
Teachers’ Interview Excerpts immigrant and refugee children

‘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).


Children s arrival experiences
Children’s Arrival Experiences immigrant and refugee children

  • Not understanding what was going on (everything was different)

  • Not being able to communicate verbally with teachers and classmates

  • Not knowing anyone in the class

  • Not having any friends or sense of belonging

  • Not having a sense of identity

    The children experience a loss of language, culture, place, and community.


Power of dominant discourses
Power of Dominant Discourses immigrant and refugee children

  • Internalize the dominant school discourses

  • Believe in their inability to speak English like “Canadians” (audible difference)

  • Perceive themselves as inadequate and inferior to those in the dominant group

  • Consider themselves powerless to initiate conversation with native English speakers

  • Accept the socially constructed ESL label

  • Blame themselves for not knowing English


Settlement and integration
Settlement and Integration immigrant and refugee children

  • Teachers played a key role in determining the contributions the children made to the classroom (resources, time, class size)

  • Dominant school discourses positioned children as deficient; lack of English skills

  • Socially constructing children as “having no language” meant that children’s languages were not validated or legitimized

  • Need for settlement/integration programs, similar to federal programs for adults


Implications and recommendations
Implications and Recommendations immigrant and refugee children

  • Successful integration would require a radical departure from the policies and practices regarding school placement of refugee youth

  • Federal government collaboration with the province in providing essential academic and language settlement support services

  • Identify key indicators to measure settlement and integration among new immigrant and refugee youth (intergenerational conflicts, language acquisition, school community participation, recreational activities, poverty)


Further research
Further Research immigrant and refugee children

  • A critical review of immigrant settlement policies and practices for immigrant and refugee school children and youth

  • Study the “two-way street” model (Biles et al 2008) of social integration as it applies to school children and youth

  • Explore the impact of migration on the psychosocial well-being of immigrant and refugee school children and youth (age, gender, language, ethnicity, class, health).


Sharing our cultures la d couverte de nos cultures
Sharing Our Cultures immigrant and refugee childrenÀ la découverte de nos cultures

Canada’s multiculturalism policy goals:

  • To foster a society for people of all backgrounds to feel a sense of belonging and attachment to Canada;

  • To ensure fair and equitable treatment of all people, regardless of their origins;

  • To promote active citizenship whereby all people can participate in shaping the future of their communities.


  • Sharing Our Cultures - À la découverte de nos cultures immigrant and refugee children

  • Engages school children and youth from diverse linguistic, cultural, and religious backgrounds in intercultural activities that culminate in a public educational event.

  • Provides opportunities for teachers to integrate cultural diversity into their teaching of relevant curriculum areas.

  • Collaborates with stakeholders (academic institutions, government departments, NGOs, ethnocultural communities) to foster cross-cultural understanding.


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.


Thank you
Thank You immigrant and refugee children

Lloydetta Quaicoe, PhD Candidate

University of South Australia

[email protected]

Sharing Our Cultures

À la découverte de nos cultures

48 Kenmount Road, Box 28107

St. John’s, NL A1B 4J8

[email protected]

www.sharingourcultures.ca


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