Minority language speakers problem in muticultural society

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Identify the major problems facing students who are speakers of a minority language in the educations system of a country you are familiar with. Suggest measures to deal with these issues.

The numbers of educators, social workers and counselors are gradually increasing since immigration started. They are taking the duties of teaching immigrants, especially children from overseas. There has been a need of immense information about new comers such as their cultural background. So Studies, researches and useful methods are to improve for migrants?adaptation in new countries. Immigration to new countries is not a simple movement. As it is a whole change of environment, they face the effects of value conflicts between the home and new country. So how they can adopt to new culture?

There are number of problems such as cultural adjustment, language learning problem, emotional disturbance and academic achievement. Although these can be said to be their own problems, migrants and non-migrants have to solve the problems altogether, as these are caused by the social, cultural and economic implications of host community.

These problems are what of the need of the host society to broaden their concern about how well immigrants can cope in the host community. I focus, in here, define problems of migrant students in detail and suggest solutions for improvement based on the researches done so far by many educators.

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Before get into the definitions of problems, a obvious cause of immigrants?problems that is both adults and students immigrants come to the new country without clear understanding of new culture, background or concepts (BECK, P7). So they experience confusion and conflicts with everything in the new environment. Although a small difference in distinct culture can be a shock. Also they lack of new language, most cases it is English, which disable communication with other people and society. It can be the basic problem to cope in new environment.

Problems concerned with cultural adjustments were put forward twice as often as those concerned with language and four times as often as those concerned with academic progress (Ashworth, P87). However it seemed to think if language is once learnt, other problems could be solved straightforward. Adapting new culture and the cultural conflict is the major problem faced immigrant students. The whole environments ?including culture, language, traditions, school system, styles of life and socially acceptable norms are alien to students. The new environment may be terrifying or threatening new comers, and “culture shocks?can disturb emotionally by giving feeling of isolation and insecurity, uncertainty may bring confusion in self-identities and distort the value of lives. During the adaptation, they need to get adequate educations “learning how to learn the new culture.?Learning how to respect new traditions, manners, and tastes of his non-immigrant peers and eventually come to accept them fully as their own (Beck, P).

In the process of adaptation of immigrant children, the role of teachers and peers are very important as new comers can learn by interacting with them.

Let’s have a look at the attitudes of non-immigrants peers to fellows. There is the deep-rooted antagonism between non-immigrants and migrants within the school. This negative or hostile attitude is aggravated by the inability of many immigrants to communicate with classmates (G.Philpoulos, PP6-). These attitudes can give them feeling of isolation, frustration and loss of confidence. And these also can affect academic achievement. Studying and learning without motivations, enthusiasm, encouragement and confidence cannot highly achieve in academic progress. However some teachers and non-immigrant students often misunderstand them as academically inferior. However it can be corrected and improved by vital immigrants educations.

There are intensive ESL classes held for these students to improve abilities of English. Mary Ashworth, a former elementary and secondary school teacher, researched “Results and Issues from a National Survey of ESL Programs?in Canada. The report says “the reception classes that are held within the walls of a regular school. It is not unusual to find the classes located either in the basement or on the top floor, or in a portable room across the playground, that is geographically isolated?(Ashworth, PP85-86). Separating the immigrant students from non-immigrant students obviously slow the tempo of new language learning. I would like to think back my childhood, and remember how I leant my mother tongue. I was always exposed in the flood of native speakers, people talking to me in mother language. Interacting and speaking in the target language is a basis of leaning new language. On the other hand, they are put at the back, geographically isolated from the school community. Do schools really want to teach new language? Or just try to exclude from their school environment?

Educating immigrants is must to be very specific but also general at the same time. Because every immigrant student have different tastes, interests, motivation and attitudes of new culture. But these all problems can be commonly found among immigrants. There have been many studies and researches suggesting adequate approaches to them.

First of all, educators, counselors and especially teachers in the school, have to recognize that they have problems. And the major problem is cultural adjustment, not only learning new language is a problem they face. A development, understanding of their cultural background and personal problems of every single students will be the major task of teachers. And also their personal interests, aspiration and conception of new environment indeed are needed to be concerned as well. Only adequate approach can derive helpful solutions, and expressions of their interests to immigrant students from their heart can achieve it. Understanding the expectations and what was the major motivation for immigration will be the basic key. Teachers?counseling and consultations for immigrant students therefore can be a good method, based on the duties to guide these students.

Lack of confidence and encouragement to learn is often result from school. And it requires the important role of teachers and fellow in the school. In order to eliminate the negative and hostile attitude of fellows, the opportunities and such programs informing immigrants?own culture, and backgrounds will be very helpful. In many international schools, ‘International day?is often held by the organization of school, for the sake of unification and understanding each other.

Intensive exposure to new culture and community is also a way to help for them in adopting the host country. Some kinds of excursions to museum, library, the court, the markets and short travels with classmates can be good experiences. Immigrant students can get motivated to adopt the culture with interacting with native speakers and cultural experiences. However, the most important factor to successful adaptation is their motivations and confidences.

Lacking abilities of communication with the new language causes the vast majority of problems other than cultural conflict. Intensive language teachings programs are essential in order to enable them communicate with people within their surroundings. As the culture and language become linked on people’s thinking, educated communication can make them to be understood by teachers and classmates.

As mentioned earlier, isolating the immigrant students from non-immigrants fellows slow down the language learning, there are provisions of ESL programs suggested by Ashworth Survey of ESL Programs. (1) Half-day class; students spend half day in the ESL class and half in his homeroom or subject class- not suitable for secondary students. () Withdrawal- itinerant teacher; the itinerant teachers move from school to school withdrawing small groups of children for varying periods of time. () Withdrawal-in school teacher; the school teacher has her own room in one school and withdraws students who may be registered in the same school or who may travel across town for their ESL class. Teachers should be competence and sensitiveness to catch up any small problems form their students in order to help their adoption and accepting in the new school and community system.

People find themselves comfortable and confident when they are good at something. When the immigrant students speak their own language, they are encouraged to accept and learn the requirements of school. Therefore the studying of their own language is a good one to encourage them. The methods can be various, such as studying English in their own language, learning their own culture and traditions also continuous learning their literacy and language, etc-these all are on the purpose of keeping their cultural and national identity, and the origin of themselves. However, teaching English/the new language in their own tongue should be limited for their early stages of immigration. Longer use of mother tongue may lead slow learning process down. Also giving awards and compliments to students who do outstanding works in the process, as it could raise their motivations and enthusiasm for their studies, and their acceptance of new life style indeed. Therefore more researches and case studies by educators must to be continued for the needs of these problems.

Distractions and confusions are common in migrants. Especially children and students have to adapt to the new school environments including classmates, teachers, system of school and even small kits. The reason of emphasis on the problems of the immigrant students is because the situations of the immigrant adults and students are different. Students have to be adopted and be part of the school involved in peer groups to survive in the new setting. On the other hand, adults have much less desperations and needs in adopting new culture than children, because they can live interacting with their own ethnic group society in the new country.

We have looked at problems of immigrant students, especially within the school environment. As immigrants and non-immigrants are all human being who have own culture, tastes, life goals, interests and beliefs. Therefore they should be valued same as others. The governments, social groups and educators must make an in-depth study and put efforts to get resolutions. It is not immigrants?own problem; it is a social issue that all people have to get resolution. As it is a common problem can be arisen in the multicultural communities such as Australia, Canada and U.S


Charles L. Caccia, Education for Immigrant students; Immigrant Education and Multiculturalism, Toronto, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, 175

Clive Beck. Education for Immigrant students; Is Immigrant Education Only Immigrants? Toronto, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, 175

G.Philopoulos, Migrants & Communication Problems, Australian Association of Adult Education, 174

Mary Ashworth, Education for Immigrant students; Results and Issues from a national Survey of ESL Programs Toronto, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, 175

Subhas Ramcharan, Education for Immigrant students; Special Problems of Immigrant Children in the Toronto School System, Toronto, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, 175

Wallace E. Lambert, Education for Immigrant students; Culture and Language as Factors In Learning and Education, Toronto, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, 175

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