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Asian High School Newcomer Cross-Cultural Adjustment: How Counsellor’s Can Help. Michael LeBlanc FHS/UNB. Why Me?. High school guidance counsellor working with many newcomers and immigrants Lived and worked in South Korea from 1995-2001

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asian high school newcomer cross cultural adjustment how counsellor s can help

Asian High School Newcomer Cross-Cultural Adjustment:How Counsellor’s Can Help

Michael LeBlanc


why me
Why Me?
  • High school guidance counsellor working with many newcomers and immigrants
  • Lived and worked in South Korea from 1995-2001
  • Research focus on newcomer adjustment and multicultural education
why you
Why you?
  • What brings you here?
why this topic
Why this topic?
  • Canadian newcomer adjustment experience relatively unknown; Korean and Chinese groups are heterogeneous
  • Large percentage of newcomers in many high schools in Canada are Korean and Chinese
  • Schools and communities unprepared for increase in newcomer population
  • Current school programs inadequate for new diverse school reality (Walqui, 2000)
  • Counsellors, as leaders in systemic change, face much responsibility for school adjustment of newcomers
five objectives
Five Objectives
  • To review the results of my qualitative research
  • To examine current literature of Korean and Chinese adolescent newcomers
  • To explore current school support practices
  • To offer recommendations for counsellors, particularly in the school environment
  • To discuss your experiences with this population
background statistics
Background Statistics
  • 220,000 newcomers annually in Canada (CIC, 2007)
  • 20% of Canadian population ‘minority’ in 8 years
  • Number of new immigrants in Canada:

Chinese - #1; Korean - #5

  • National increase in K and C immigrants – 10%
  • New Brunswick increase in K and C immigrants – 50%
  • Number of new Korean families in Fredericton since 2002 – approximately 200
  • Number of Chinese families in Fredericton – approximately 200
  • Number of new Chinese and Korean students enrolled at Fredericton High School since 2003 – approximately 125
what makes chinese and korean adolescent newcomers unique
What makes Chinese and Korean adolescentnewcomers unique
  • Canadian education one of main reasons for coming (Confucian influence)
  • Relief from national exam system…
  • Seldom academic gaps – usually opposite
  • Strong parental support – often astronaut families
  • Parents SES, education level
  • Societal expectations – ‘Model Minority’
  • Collectivism vs. Individualism
  • Within group pressures and obligations
  • Large enclaves
  • Large/sudden increase in population
  • Cultural Language ‘fit’
the immigration experience for high school aged newcomers
The Immigration Experience for High School-Aged Newcomers
  • Adjustment Stress
  • Settlement Tasks
  • Language Learning
  • Cultural Learning
  • Interpersonal Relationships
  • Academics
  • Community Contact
  • Adolescent Identity Development
the adjustment experiences of high school aged korean and chinese newcomers research design
“The adjustment experiences of high school-aged Korean and Chinese newcomers”: Research Design
  • Qualitative/Phenomenological

- understanding the complex and dynamic experience

  • Four Korean, two Chinese high school students (15/16 yrs old, 3 male, 3 female)
  • Semi-structured interviews (45-65 minutes)
  • In Canada between 6 months and 3 years
identified theme structure
Identified Theme Structure
  • 1. Initial Adjustment Experience
    • Impressions upon Arrival
    • Culture
  • 2. Home Experience
    • Settlement
    • Communication and Language Acquisition
    • Support
  • 3. School Experience
    • Communication and Language Acquisition
    • Companionship
    • National Exam Relief and Volunteer Activities
    • Academics
    • Support
  • 4. Community Experience
    • Korean/Chinese Community Support and Activities
  • 5. Recommendations for Newcomers
findings reactions upon arrival
Findings: Reactions upon arrival
  • Size of Fredericton a surprise
  • All spent first 4-7 days sequestered in home/hotel

“[We] just stayed in some family hotel and communicated with the Chinese people. We couldn’t learn anything about Canada…. You know, in the first few days I didn’t communicate with anybody” (H, interview)

findings growing population an issue
Findings: Growing population an issue
  • Education/language learning main reasons for immigrating

“I didn’t know New Brunswick. I just knew Vancouver, Toronto, big cities…there were not very much Korean people here – two years ago. But, now, there is many people here. If there are many Korean students there’s no chance to speak English. My parents are worried about when Korean students are here” (Y, interview)

findings home language
Findings: Home language
  • Most Korean and Chinese participants spoke only national language (L1) at home
  • All felt it negatively affected ELL, but also felt it was a stress relief to speak national language at home: “I just speak without any thinking; it just comes out” (J, interview)
findings home support
Findings: Home support
  • 1 on own (guardians)
  • 3 astronaut families
  • 2 with both parents
findings school
Findings: School
  • Language acquisition and making ‘Canadian’ friends two main adjustment difficulties

“They’re the [main] problems …English and making friends. If I spoke English very well I could make many friends. I would try if I could speak English very well. I’m trying now, too, but it’s hard” (Y, interview).

findings language
Findings: Language
  • Learning English: A main reason for coming to Canada
  • Korean students spoke mostly Korean with Korean friends
  • Chinese students spoke only English with Chinese friends
  • 5/6 had negative views of their English language competency
findings companionship
Findings: Companionship
  • All struggled to make solid Canadian-born friends; some still searching after 2 years…

“…I want Canadian friends more than Korean friends. But, Korean friends are important for me because we think the same. But I need Canadian friends for English and that’s why I came here…but I couldn’t…that’s the problem.” (Y, interview)

findings extra time
Findings: Extra-time
  • Relief felt from not writing national university-entrance exams
  • 5/6 were very excited to have time for extra-curricular activities
  • Most had not felt comfortable joining school clubs
findings academics
Findings: Academics
  • All expected to reach ‘pre-Canada’ grades immediately
  • Felt pressure to perform from parents
  • Felt pressure to ‘escape’ EAL quickly
findings community
Findings: Community
  • 5/6 actively involved in Korean/Chinese communities
  • They help them ‘remember who they are’
  • Acculturation
discussion what does this research mean for korean and chinese adolescent newcomers
Discussion: What does this research mean for Korean and Chinese adolescent newcomers?
  • Immediate social/cultural support
  • Connections to potential friends
  • Comprehensive ELL program
  • Connections to ethnic community
  • Extra-curricular info/support
  • Individualized educational/academic program
  • Parental involvement/contact/info
  • Reasonable language/academic expectations
  • Encourage native language (L1) in home
  • School staff/student information
  • Classroom teacher support (Content-based EAL)
what are the current newcomer programming practices in schools
What are the current newcomer programming practices in schools?
  • Lack of leadership and direction from top
  • Lack of detailed newcomer adjustment plan
  • Language learning focus (EAL classes, tutoring) – “ASAP”
  • Immediate immersion in ‘typical’ new ‘fluent-in-English’ student schedule
  • Using native language (L1) is harmful when learning English (L2)
  • Lack of understanding of/info for acculturation, psychological/cultural adjustment, social and academic needs for parents, teachers and students
  • New Korean and Chinese students will ‘find their way’
  • Segregation/under-use of knowledgeable EAL teachers/staff
  • New Korean and Chinese students should conform to current system – melting pot approach

What to do?

  • Systemic Change
  • 2. Leadership
  • 3. Advocacy
systemic change
Systemic Change
  • Counsellors contact school, district, provincial guidance coordinators for support/direction
  • Work with school staff/admin to establish a comprehensive, specific and long/short term goal-oriented newcomer programme
  • EAL classes with multiple levels – part of English or Second Language Departments
  • Become the expert in multicultural issues
  • Develop a detailed action plan: ELL, social, adjustment, extra-curricular, academic, community, home, info sessions, acceptance
  • Ensure staff understand the role of EAL classes
  • Establish school ties with local multicultural associations: Korean association and Chinese association (settlement, cultural training, translating)
  • Teach staff/students about cultural adjustment and related issues (staff meeting, PD)
  • Collect Data: Questionnaires, interviews, database, to determine needs/services and track #’s
  • Support classroom teacher with info on differentiation and content-based instructional methods
  • Establish atmosphere of acceptance, equity and access that honours diversity
  • Ensure counsellor visibility/recognition
  • Counsellor/EAL staff collaboration
  • Contact with English = Quality over Quantity
  • Encourage newcomer parental involvement
  • Establish an ‘International Student’s Association’, ‘Newcomer Association’, or equivalent
  • Hold information meetings for BOTH newcomer students and their parents each semester
  • Consider group ‘interventions’ to allow student to ‘save face’
  • Introduce newcomers to peers through ‘Ambassador’s Club’, ‘Buddy Club’, or ‘Peer Mentors’: 1st week key
  • Have teachers set up ‘buddy’ for each class
  • Ensure comprehensive introduction to extra-curricular activity list and how to join
counselling process issues with high school aged newcomers
Counselling Process Issues with High School-Aged Newcomers
  • Low counsellor self-efficacy in area
  • Underutilization or lack of connection?
  • Communication barriers
  • Cultural stereotyping
  • ID’ing source of issue amongst large list of possibilities
  • Directive or non-directive?
counselling strategies
Counselling Strategies
  • Clarify needs/counselling process
  • Acknowledge cultural differences
  • Determine decision maker? (Brown, 2006)
  • Adjusting communicative style
  • Adjust for counselling expectations of students
thank you very much
Thank you very much!

Michael LeBlanc

Fredericton High School

University of New Brunswick