Transcript Slide 1

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
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
• 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
• 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
• 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)
Participants’ Profile
Total Participants
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)
• 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
• 18 had no working knowledge of English
on arrival; categorised as ESL students
Edita’s drawing of her regular classroom
(aged 9, from South America)
Edita’s Explanation
‘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
Jumi’s Interview Excerpt
Can you tell me about your first
day in your classroom?
I was kind of [pause] I never go to
school and I didn’t know English.
How did that make you feel?
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
Edom’s drawing of his early school
experiences (aged 10, from Africa)
Edom’s Explanation
• L.Q.:
How do lines remind you of
• 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: I was bored; it was different.
How was it different from school
back home?
Juanita: Everything was different.
How was it different?
Juanita: Different.
What kinds of things were
Juanita: Language (aged 14, from South
First Day in the Gym
‘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 drawing of her gym class
(aged 12, from South America)
Ekatrina’s Explanation
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”
Elena: The picture is about
ESL room.
L.Q.: Why did you draw
the ESL room?
Elena: Because I like ESL
L.Q.: Why?
Elena: Because we learn stuff
and sometimes we
watch movies and get
Elena’s drawing of her
ESL Room (aged 10,
that’s why I like ESL room.
from Northern Asia)
ESL Room and Regular Classroom
Ekua’s drawing of her
ESL room and regular
classroom below
(aged 10, from Africa)
L.Q.: Why did you draw the
Ekua: Because I like to be an
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.
Soledad’s Interview Excerpt
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
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
I don’t have any friends in my
[regular] classroom.
Why don’t you have any friends?
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 Excerpt
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.
Were they teasing you?
Juanita: I don’t know.
What did they say?
Juanita: I don’t know. I left the class
(aged 14, from South America).
Teachers’ Interview Excerpts
‘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’ (T11P/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 Excerpts
‘I had a child from Africa, the only darkcoloured 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’
A Teacher’s Interview Excerpt
‘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 Excerpts
‘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 Excerpts
‘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 Excerpts
‘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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
À 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
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.
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,
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
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]