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Final Report

Report of the / Rapport du

Metropolis Education Research Forum (MERF)/
Forum de recherche en éducation Métropolis (FREM)

Globalisation, cultures, sociétés :
L'apport de la recherche sur l'immigration et l'éducation

Globalization, Cultures, Societies:
The Contribution of Research on Immigration and Education

Held on Friday May 26, 2000 within the annual programme of the
Comparative and International Education Society of Canada/
Canadian Society for the Study of Canada

Tenu le 26 mai 2000 au sein du programme de la
Société canadienne d'éducation comparée et internationale/
Société canadienne pour l'étude de l'éducation

Équipe de rédaction/Recording Team

Christine Racicot (U Calgary)
Dr. Rolande Parel (U Lancaster, UK)

Organisation & Coordination
Dr. Yvonne Hébert (U Calgary)

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I Plenary Session:

The Contribution of Research on Immigration and Education: Globalization, Cultures and Societies

Conférence d'ouverture : L'apport de la recherche sur l'immigration et sur l'éducation : Globalisation, cultures et sociétés

Implications of Globalization for the Role of Schooling: Dialectics of the Local and the Global.

Vandra Masemann (SUNY-Buffalo)

Notes/Compte rendu. Dr. Yvonne Hébert chaired the session and opened the plenary by stressing that Dr. Masemann's message would be relevant to the work of the Metropolis project, and to the papers and presentations at this year's Congress.

The presentation opened with a distinction between the terms "globalism" and "globalization". Dr. Masemann explained that globalism is an awareness of the world, an awareness of Canada's place int he world, and is an important part of citizenship. In comparison, globalization was in the past considered to be the process of globalism (i.e. due to technology and telecommunication), but is now viewed in terms of the economic process which comes out of the system of global economic exchange. From this distinction, Dr. Masemann went on to discuss the effects of globalization on schools, including the increased pressure to decrease education spending and the change in the notion of 'community'. She explained that schools as local institutions is a myth considering they must meet international standards, and are assessed provincially, nationally and on the global scale. The case of a Florida city was used to illustrate how decisions made in the local context can be seen as deficient in the global context. Disadvantaged school funding in the American South resulting insegregated schooling, race issues in gifted programs and drop-outs, may be viewed as local in terms of race issues, but as global in terms of the international records and competition.

This has implications for research in Canada. Immigrants to Canada bring with them a global mindedness which contributes to agency in the face of schooling. There is a need for researchers to understand the local or global allegiance of minority groups, and to acknowledge the wider global context of people's lives. This may be achieved through more ethnographies of schools and communities to explore the dialectic of the local and the global, in an effort to meet the challenges globalization imposes on schools.

The discussion which followed the presentation addressed the following areas:

  • the need to trace policy to the local;
  • the implications for MERF (i.e. How does research develop in MERF in terms of the local and the global?);
  • the impact of globalization on language policy in Canada (i.e. English/French, technological impact, Internet with English as the dominant language).

II Concurrent Sessions


IIA Institutional Adaptation and Intercultural Competencies, Part I: Directionality and Formation

Adaptation institutionnelle et compétences interculturelles, Partie I : Directionalité et formation

Latino Adaptation to Educational Institutions in a Canadian City

L'adaptation des hispanophones aux institutions éducatives dans une ville canadienne

Judith K. Bernhard (Ryerson Polytechnic University) (CANCELLED)

Abstract/Précis. In this paper I make a number of detailed criticisms and propose alternative principles and approaches toward the study of child development. My intention is to open up a space for dialogue about the assumptions we hold and how they affect our practice.

Latin American migrants represent one of the fastest growing groups in Canada and the United States (Coates, Jarratt, & Mahaffie, 1990) and are among the ethnic groups that are most likely to live in poverty in Canada (Kazemipur & Halli, 1998). What is known about their children's academic achievement is disquieting. A Toronto Board of Education survey (Brown, 1994) showed that Latin American children, along with Portuguese, black and African students, had disproportionately low academic achievement as reflected in assignment to Basic level programs. Further, a Toronto high-school study (Drever, 1996) reported that Latin American youth become disengaged from school at a rapid pace and join the ranks of students who drop out.

This paper is based on an extensive research project on Latin American immigrant children, their teachers and families. Through participant observation in one designated Canadian school, we captured the perspectives of 10 students, their parents and teachers. An additional thirty-five families from other schools were interviewed to test the trustworthiness of the initial analysis. From our stories of these families and our knowledge of their children's schools, we describe how the parents' practices interact with mainstream practices, and how they come to have an effect through their construction in the educational system.

Many researchers and educators have expressed discontent with mainstream approaches. Now there are dozens of books and articles on who is being silenced, on the domination of majority views, and the unfairness of certain practices. Yet the age-stage theories are considered basics and then exotic variations are considered in boxes. I propose we need new theoretical approaches which recognize social structures, culture and context. The following three principles are proposed:

Principle 1: Principle of Dominance

Knowledge of human development is socially situated and its production reflects the dimensions of social dominance. In a given society and historical period there is always a struggle among modes of representing the world. The results of a power struggle, which occurs in several

dimensions, determine the dominant representations that are accepted as "truth". Knowledge is produced within dominant institutions which act as gatekeepers for "truth." Necessarily the world-views of subordinated groups tend to become de-legitimized. Research originating in these groups often does not get funded, and publication in mainstream journals is extremely

difficult. The discourses which represent legitimate knowledge reflect the dimensions of social dominance. Specifically, the dimensions we have in mind are based on class, race, sex, immigrant or aboriginal status.

Principle 2: Development Occurs in Contexts that are Hierarchically Structured and Intersecting

A social and contextual analysis demands that one consider a number of dimensions and intersecting discourses. Monica is in one discourse a child, a Latina immigrant with that disadvantage. Within another discourse, she has a gender disadvantage which has a multiplicative effect. As well, we need to consider her class and race. Because of these various intersecting positions of subordination, her development will likely be far from optimal.

A partial remedy for these situations is found in the theories of Vygotsky, Lave, and Rogoff who make learning a feature of a social process. They have recognized that learning occurs among and between individuals in social context. Knowledge is found in the conditions that bring people together, in the conversations of which people are a part, and in their communal activities. Other educational theorists have recognized the effects of subordination (e.g., Apple, Corson, Lareau).

Principle 3: There are Multiple Paths of "Normal" Development

Those who propose one universal path of normal development claim to have identified particular developmental milestones. If on the contrary, we assume multiple paths, then there may be different milestones according to cultural context.


In this talk I wish to illustrate a number of reasons for a rethinking of basic approaches to child development. I will show three general principles that would likely be involved in a better social science of child development. It is time for theorizing within the field of ECE to undergo radical change so as to encourage full development of all human beings, particularly women and children, from all racial, cultural, linguistic, and class backgrounds.


L'évaluation de la formation des employés du secteur public aux relations interculturelles

Evaluation of Public Sector Employee Training for Intercultural Relations

Claude Charbonneau, Nicole Chiasson (Université de Sherbrooke) et

Michel Pagé (Université de Montréal)

Précis/Abstract. Les recherches de notre équipe poursuivent deux objectifs : le premier est de mettre au point des instruments d'évaluation des impacts de courtes sessions de formation ou de sensibilisation interculturelle; le second est de fournir aux milieux qui offrent de telles sessions une information valide sur leur efficacité.

Les questions méthodologiques et théoriques relatives à l'impact des sessions de formation interculturelle se trouvent parmi les problématiques de pointe dans le domaine des relations interculturelles. Dans un article récent, Landis et Wasilewski (1999) font un bilan de la recherche et de l'intervention dans ce domaine au cours des 22 ou 23 dernières années et essaient de dégager les principaux domaines où la recherche devra se concentrer au cours des prochaines années. Parmi ces domaines (ils en identifient 18), l'un concerne le « développement d'échelles psychométriques adéquates pour mesurer l'adaptation interculturelle et d'autres dimensions »; un autre concerne « le besoin d'évaluations objectives (reality-based) de l'impact de la formation interculturelle »; un autre concerne « le besoin d'évaluer de façon comparative les diverses techniques de formation »; un autre concerne « l'éthique de la formation et de l'intervention interculturelle »; et un dernier pose la question de savoir si « la formation à la diversité et la formation interculturelle ont les mêmes retombées ». Cette analyse d'experts dans le domaine montre bien que les questions que nous nous posons sont pertinentes et qu'on n'y a pas encore apporté de réponses satisfaisantes.

Jusqu'à présent, dans nos recherches, la distinction entre le succès ou l'échec de courtes sessions de formation ou de sensibilisation soit n'a pas été possible, soit a relevé d'une décision à partir de données ambigües. La difficulté d'en arriver à un verdict clair au moment de se prononcer sur l'impact de telles sessions tient principalement à deux limites méthodologiques que nous avons rencontrées, comme la plupart des chercheurs dans le domaine, et que nous cherchons à corriger dans nos travaux actuels.

La première limite méthodologique se situe au niveau des plans de recherche que les circonstances imposent habituellement. On doit souvent se contenter d'une évaluation avec posttest seulement et avec groupe témoin quasi-équivalent au groupe expérimental. Bien souvent en plus, le posttest survient longtemps après la formation. Ce type de plan n'est pas propice à mettre en lumière des effets d'une formation dont on a beaucoup de raisons de croire qu'ils sont plutôt modestes, surtout dans les cas de courtes sensibilisations. Dans nos recherches actuelles, l'évaluation est planifiée en même temps que la formation elle-même : ainsi, un plan avec prétest, posttest à court terme et posttest à plus long terme devient possible, de même que la constitution de groupes témoins et expérimentaux vraiment équivalents.

La seconde limite méthodologique fréquente se situe au niveau des instruments de cueillette d'information conçus pour évaluer les effets de la formation. Ils sont de deux types : les uns, comme des grilles d'entrevue individuelle et de groupe, vont chercher les points de vue des participants d'une façon sensible et nuancée, mais fortement teintée de subjectivité et vulnérable aux biais de désirabilité; les autres, comme des questionnaires, cherchent une information plus systématique, plus difficile à biaiser et plus quantitative. La difficulté vient de ce que les premiers font croire à des effets de la formation, sous forme d'impressions que les seconds n'arrivent pas à confirmer selon les critères statistiques habituels. Nous cherchons donc à intensifier et à diversifier nos efforts pour obtenir des mesures à la fois sensibles et objectives : observations directes du comportement des personnes, avant et après une formation, questionnaires impliquant des questions autres que des questions objectives avec choix de réponses, recours au témoignage de tiers. Nous planifions cette démarche comme une étape d'exploration des effets décelables de la formation, dans une entreprise de développement d'un instrument objectif, à la fois sensible et léger, de mesure des effets de courtes sensibilisations.

Notre recherche se déroulera, à compter de janvier, dans trois milieux avec lesquels nous avons établi un partenariat. À la Régie Régionale de la Santé et des Services Sociaux du Montréal-Centre, nous évaluerons des sessions de formation à la gestion de la diversité, offertes au personnel cadre des certains établissements de santé. À la société Hydro-Québec, nous évaluerons des sessions de sensibilisation aux questions autochtones, pour des employés travaillant auprès des autochtones ou sur des dossiers les impliquant. À la Ville de Montréal, nous évaluerons des sessions de formation aux relations interculturelles offertes aux employés de la fonction municipale en contact avec des clientèles multiethniques.

Lors de la présentation, nous pourrons présenter les résultats préliminaires de ces recherches, et cela sous deux angles : 1) Les sessions évaluées ont-elles un impact? 2) Qu'avons-nous appris sur les instruments de mesure de l'impact de courtes sessions de formation aux relations interculturelles?


IIB Institutional Adaptation and Intercultural Competencies, Part II: Cultures, Forms of Schooling, and Research Methodologies

Adaptation institutionelle et compétences interculturelles, Partie II: Cultures, formes of scolarisation et les méthodologies de recherche

Reconceptualizing schooling for multicultural contexts: A case study

La reconceptualization de l'école en contextes interculturels : Une étude de cas

Linda LaRocque & Renu Woodbridge, (Faculty of Education, Simon Fraser University)

Abstract/Précis. The literature on educational attainment of immigrant students has found that school culture-its inclusiveness, respectfulness and supportiveness of all members of the school community-is important, and that it depends largely on the school administrator. Thus a recently completed study examined the role of principals in eight ethnically diverse elementary schools (LaRocque, 1999). The composite profile of the principals discussed, among other things, the relationship of ethnic diversity and school priorities; strategies to overcome the language barrier in communications with parents; ESL instruction and the use of heritage languages for immigrant students; differing parental expectations; and the lack of professional development concerning ethnic diversity for principals. The work of the principals in the study was carried out "increasingly in the midst of competing and often conflicting professional and community expectations for their performance" (Greenfield, 1995, p. 66). The need to overcome language barriers was so compelling that it seemed to overshadow other considerations, including a broader discourse of the learning needs of ESL children. Yet the principals all recognized that there are broader issues of culture than simply language, and that these cultural differences both enrich the school community and create conflict. They all were willing to help newcomers to feel welcome in and to adapt to Canadian schools, but all also were grappling, to different degrees, with the question of how much schools should change in response to their changing communities.

The rapidly changing demographics of the schools presented a variety of challenges to educational administrators, who had little time and guidance to respond. And yet, as Estrada and McLaren (1993) argue, these challenges can only be addressed by considering deeper structures and beliefs. In fact, we probably need to reconceptualize how we think about schools if they are to be truly inclusive of all who inhabit them. We turned to a jurisdiction-the County of Kent in Great Britain-which had attempted a reconceptualization of this nature for insight into what it might look like and how it might occur.

Purpose of the Proposed Presentation

The proposed presentation is based on a case study of the establishment of a language support service, which is known as KCLSS (Kent County Language Support Service) for multilingual students in a large county in the United Kingdom. More specifically, we will examine the policies, practices and structures pertaining to:

assessment of and response to the needs of multilingual students;

the teaching and learning environment of multilingual students;

relationships between educators and parents / community groups;

relationships between county and school-level educators.

This examination includes consideration of how equality of educational opportunity was defined in that particular context, and of how this principle shaped both (a) conceptualization of each of the above areas and (b) development of the policies, practices and structures we describe.

The Case Study

The data which were analysed for the case study include planning documents, minutes of meetings, evaluation data, program descriptions, and feedback data from students, parents, community groups and different educator groups. There were about 750 primary and secondary schools in Kent County, serving a total 3,403 students who needed ESL support. These students were located within approximately 250 of the County's schools


Consultation. At the heart of the Service was the belief that the key to understanding the needs of multilingual students involved consultation with all interested parties. Interested parties included parents, community organizations, the commission of racial equality, unions, teachers and officers from other professions; they were consulted at every stage in the cycle, including needs identification, policy formulation and implementation and evaluation.

In addition to day to day consultation through meetings, school visits and written communications, a number of formal meetings were arranged each term for local and county-wide groups formed from representatives of both client groups and the local education authority [district]. These included: local consultation group meetings; the KCLSS Community Partnerships Forum; the Headteachers' Partnership Group; and the KCLSS Advisory Group.

An example of an initiative arising from consultation is homework clubs. Community groups identified a need for some education provision at weekends and evenings to reinforce school work and help students understand their homework, in the absence of parents who spoke English fluently. One of the results of the identification of this need was the establishment of

seven outstationed posts in homework clubs run by the voluntary sector. These were teaching posts which liaised with school staff to link what was taught in the homework clubs to the school curriculum. Prior to this any teaching undertaken by the voluntary sector was not linked to the

curriculum, teaching methods were inconsistent with those used in school and students were largely unsupported when not in school. This service initiative was of low cost to the education authority but of great benefit to students.

Needs assessment. Another fundamental belief of KCLSS was the importance of needs assessment, which involved three inter-related aspects: the assessment of the stage of English development of new arrivals; the assessment of students' progress (within curricular areas as well as English proficiency) during the period of English language acquisition; and the assessment of school needs for purposes of staff allocation. Examples of initiatives that arose from needs assessment fell into two broad categories:

o Supporting Language and Raising Achievement-by enabling multilingual students under the age of 5 to develop English language competence and learning skills necessary for the early years; and by giving school age multilingual students whose mother tongue is not English, equal

access to the curriculum in order to combine learning with curriculum specific language acquisition.

o Pastoral Care-by strengthening the ties between schools and parents, in particular where those ties are hard to establish because of linguistic, cultural or social factors.

Language and curriculum support. KCLSS based its approach to providing language and curriculum support for multilingual students on current relevant theory. Guiding principles included: a focus on curriculum access; recognition of the role of the home language in learning

English and in accessing the curriculum; ensuring learning is cognitively demanding and context embedded; provision of adequate time to achieve mastery; and equality of the status of languages.


The work of KCLSS was grounded in three broad principles, which may also have applicability in the Canadian context: the underlying goal is equal access to the curriculum and equality of educational opportunity for full and free participation in society; how multilingual students learn must inform all policies and practices; and accountability not only in the financial sense, but also in the sense of equal access and equality of educational opportunity.


Estrada, K., & McLaren, P. (1993). Dialogue on multiculturalism and democratic culture. Educational Researcher, 22(3), 27-33.

Greenfield, W. D. Jr. (1995). Toward a theory of school administration: The centrality of leadership. Educational Administration Quarterly, 31(1), 61-85.

LaRocque, L. (1999, April). The changing role of administrators in ethnically diverse schools. Vancouver, BC: RIIM Centre of Excellence Working Paper Series #99-11.


The Address of Cultural Difference: Exploring the Tensions and Intentions of Collaborative Research

Une exploration des tensions et des intentions de la recherche collaboratice qui porte sur les différences culturelles

Terry Carson and Ingrid Johnston (University of Alberta), Wanda Hurren and Kathryn McNaughton (University of Regina) (PRESENTED BY TERRY AND WANDA)

Abstract/Précis. This presentation will consider how cultural difference in a variety of locations, including community, school and university, addresses us as teacher educators and researchers. We will explore the intentions and emerging tensions of conducting collaborative research with teacher educators, student teachers, school administrators, teachers, parents and their children around issues of cultural difference, immigration and teaching. Our discussion will be informed by findings and reflections on ongoing research in Edmonton and Regina funded by the Prairie Centre of Excellence for Research on Immigration and Integration.

Research Context, Emerging Issues and Presentation Format

The Culture and Teaching Project is a tri-university Prairie initiative to explore issues of cultural difference and teaching. The research is underpinned by insights from postmodern, critical, and psychoanalytical theories (Britzman, 1992, 1998; Bhabha,1992, 1994). In this presentation we will focus on questions emerging from two of the three projects, considering the ways collaborative research on issues related to cultural difference may create dilemmas and conundrums for researchers.

At the University of Alberta, a research team has worked collaboratively with teacher educators, student teachers, school administrators, teachers, and parents on initiatives to promote ethnocultural harmony and understanding. The project has including the collaborative creation of a video that highlights these initiatives in schools, in the university and in the community. The video is intended as a resource for teacher education classes and for professional development in schools and community groups. In the presentation, Terry Carson and Ingrid Johnston will reflect on tensions, concerns and questions that have emerged during the past three years of this project. These include student teachers' resistance to "difficult knowledge" that relates to issues of cultural difference, racism and teacher identity, and school students' complex responses to initiatives to promote cultural harmony.

At the University of Regina, researchers are engaged in a study involving parents and teachers of immigrant children, and teacher education students and instructors. Through an inquiry project, student teachers had the opportunity to interview parents and teachers regarding their concerns and issues about teaching immigrant children. Major areas of concern were issues related to communication, social relationships and differing expectations. While the interviews proved to be valuable in terms of raising awareness of classroom and community issues around cultural diversity, and in providing the opportunity for parents and teachers to discuss their concerns, it is evident to the researchers that there are still significant questions to be asked and answered. These include: What is the role of the researcher? How can funding issues be addressed? What do the various stakeholders expect to happen now? Who will do it? Wanda Hurren and Kathryn McNaughton will consider how these questions raise tensions around the intents of the research and articulate the difficulties surrounding collaborative research with a variety of stakeholders.

Notes/Compte rendu. Discussion ensued upon basic research questions. The definition of 'culture' was queried, as was the distinction, if any, between the activities of researchers and student teachers. (YMH)


IIIA Apprentissage de langues et littéracie, Partie I : Globalisation, familles et scolarisation

Language Learning and Literacy, Part I: Globalization, Families and Schooling

Le multilinguisme comme capital linguistique sur le marché global : Perspectives de familles immigrantes

Multilingualism as linguistic capital on the global market: Perspectives of immigrant families

Diane Dagenais (Simon Fraser University)

Notes/Compte rendu. The author reported on the results of her ethnographic study of the motives of South Asian families in Vancouver for selecting French immersion education for their children, while at the same time, maintaining their South Asian languages. According to Dagenais, the principal incentives were (1) their view of English-French bilingualism as a way of integrating themselves into Canadian society (2) their realization of English-French bilingualism as linguistic capital within Canada, and (3) their view of multilingualism as linguistic capital on the international market.

During the discussion that followed the presentation, several researchers alluded to similar findings in their studies of these issues. Enrolment in French immersion programs, it would appear, seems to be based primarily on the extrinsic rather than intrinsic value of bilingualism and/or multilingualism. (RP)

Abstract/Précis. Dans cet exposé nous présenterons la progression de notre étude de cas sur les pratiques langagières de familles immigrantes ayant un enfant inscrit en immersion française. Cette recherche s'insère dans le cadre du Projet Métropolis, projet international sur l'étude de l'immigration dans les milieux urbains et, plus spécifiquement, elle fait partie du Centre

d'excellence pour l'étude de l'immigration et de l'intégration de Vancouver. Nous allons premièrement situer le contexte et la problématique de cette étude en milieu familial. Par la suite, nous allons brièvement expliquer le cadre conceptuel et la méthodologie. Enfin, nous allons nous attarder à faire le compte-rendu de la recherche sur le terrain et donner un aperçu de l'analyse des données, plus spécifiquement de celles qui portent sur les familles provenant du sud-est de l'Asie.


La métropole de Vancouver est le deuxième plus important site d'accueil des immigrants au Canada après Toronto. Dans les écoles de Vancouver, les enfants ayant une langue maternelle autre que l'anglais ou le français représentent environ 50% de la clientèle scolaire. La présence d'enfants immigrants se fait ressentir dans tous les programmes scolaires, y inclus les classes d'immersion françaises, traditionnellement destinées à une clientèle anglophone de souche.

À l'automne l994, le Consortium du Bas Fraser, un groupe de représentants des enseignants de français de 14 commissions scolaires de la grande région métropolitaine et rurale de Vancouver, nous ont demandé de mener une enquête sur le vécu scolaire des enfants plurilingues inscrits en immersion française. Notre recension des écrits indiqua qu'à l'intérieur du très large corpus de recherche en immersion française accumulé depuis trente ans, il y avait très peu d'études portant spécifiquement sur les expériences des enfants allophones dans ce programme, comme l'ont signalé, d'ailleurs, Genesee (l994), Hurd (1993), Swain & Lapkin (l991) et Taylor (l992). En fait, très récemment, le Conseil des universités de l'Association canadienne des professeurs d'immersion vient de compléter une recension des écrits à ce sujet. Il recommande que la recherche ultérieure examine de plus près le vécu des élèves immigrants. Alors notre recherche a été menée en réponse à une demande du milieu et à un manque d'information empirique sur cette clientèle de l'immersion.

Cadre théorique

Notre cadre théorique s'inspire des interprétations récentes des théories socioculturelles vygotskiens (Vygotsky, l986) et bakhtiniens (Bakhtin, 1981) qui articulent une conception de la langue comme activité sociale et idéologique. Dans la même veine, Bourdieu (1977) insiste que toute analyse de la langue doit considérer le contexte dans lequel elle émerge, y inclus les conditions sociales et matérielles. Il explique que dans un cadre d'inégalité sociale, certains groupes doivent devenir plus stratégiques que d'autres afin d'obtenir les ressources nécessaire à la survie. Ces ressources comprennent la compétence linguistique car celle-ci fonctionne, selon Bourdieu, comme tout autre capital, en rapport avec le marché. Dans cette présentation, nous examinerons plus particulièrement comment les concepts de Bourdieu (1977) sur la nature idéologique et contextualisée du langage permettent d'analyser l'intérêt des familles immigrantes pour le multilinguisme. Dans le discours de ces dernières le multilinguisme est associé à un capital linguistique tant dans dans le contexte canadien que sur le marché global.


Cette recherche consiste en une étude de cas longitudinale, inspirée d'une tradition ethnographique. Cette approche génère une description riche du contexte car elle présente la possibilité d'observer directement l'organisation sociale des participants et de questionner le sens qu'ils attribuent à leur vécu commun. La recherche sur le terrain familial s'étend sur une période de 4 ans auprès de 12 familles immigrantes ayant un enfant en immersion française dans la métropole de Vancouver. Elle tente de répondre aux questions suivantes: 1) Comment les pratiques langagières des enfants se développent-elles à la maison sur une période de temps? 2) Comment utilisent-ils leurs langues (langue d'origine, français, anglais)? 3) Quelles sont les valeurs culturelles de leurs familles en ce qui concerne la littératie et l'apprentissage de la langue? 4) Pourquoi leurs parents ont-ils choisi de les inscrire en immersion? Nous avons mené quatre entrevues semi-structurées auprès de chaque famille soit en anglais ou dans leur langue maternelle, dépendant de leur préférence. Nous avons aussi sollicité l'aide des parents pour enregister des dicussions orales menées en famille et pour recueillir des données sur

les pratiques littéraires des enfants au foyer.


Tel qu'indiqué, dans notre discussion nous examinerons la pertinence des concepts de Bourdieu (1977) pour notre analyse des discours sur le multilinguisme comme capital linguistique. Nous nous concentrerons, dans cette analyse, sur les familles provenant du sud-est de l'Asie. Il semble

que les familles immigrantes de cette étude ont choisi l'éducation en immersion française comme un moyen de s'intégrer dans la société canadienne en adoptant les valeurs du groupe majoritaire à l'égard du bilinguisme anglais-français et de son capital linguistique à l'intérieur du pays. De

plus, ils maintiennent simultannément la langue d'origine et ils favorisent le développement du multilinguisme comme capital linguistique sur le marché international.


Bilingual Proficiency in Language Minority Students

Compétence bilingue chez des étudiants de langue minoritaire

Leslie Blair and John Archibald (Department of Linguistics, University of Calgary)

Notes/Compe rendu. The authors addressed the difficulties in school experienced by Lebanese immigrant students who left Lebanon prior to acquiring literacy in Arabic. They asked whether these problems were related to a language deficit in either their L1 or L2, or both, and if so, was the deficit in language knowledge or in language skills? The results of their study, they claimed, indicate that the source of the subjects' difficulties was not language knowledge but rather, language skills. While all subjects possessed grammatical competence in both their first and second languages, they lacked literacy skills. These results, they suggested, support Cummins (1984) warning that conversational fluency often masks a deficit in the ability to use language for school purposes The authors also speculated that the subjects' literacy problems in the second language may be related to their lack of those skills in their first language. These findings, they asserted, point to a need for greater emphasis on language skills within the ESL program.

During the discussion that followed, although most of the participants agreed with the authors' conclusions, several commented that it would have been helpful if the instruments for the study had included reading tests in both the first and second languages. As it was, it was not clear,

based on the data presented, how the information on the subjects' literacy level was obtained. (RP)

Abstract/Précis. Recent studies inform us that the high school dropout rate for ESL students in Alberta is 61%, as compared to an overall dropout rate of 33%. A study that tracked ESL students in an Alberta high school from 1988 to 1993 (Watt and Roessingh (1994)) found an alarming dropout rate of 74%. A number of studies indicate that language minority students do not experience academic success in school, but rather suffer from frustration and marginalization, finally culminating in dropout.

In an attempt to "put a human face on the research", this paper presents a case study of 3 individuals who were born in Lebanon and immigrated to Canada at the ages of 7, 10, and 11 respectively. None were literate in Arabic when they left Lebanon. In varying degrees, all have experienced difficulty in the Canadian school system. Further, the spoken Lebanese of one of these students was informally assessed by later-arriving fellow Lebanese students as "undeveloped", giving rise to the question of whether she possessed linguistic competence in either her first or her second language.

The study sought to answer the questions: "Why did these 3 students struggle in school?" and "Were their difficulties in school related to a language deficit, and if so, is it a deficit in language knowledge, or in language skills?" The research was placed within the context of Bachman's Model of Communicative Competence. The subjects were tests were in both Lebanese Arabic and English, in the areas of syntax/ morphology, phonology, and vocabulary. Results indicate that for both languages, all three subjects possess a grammatical competence that compares well with native speakers in phonology, syntax and morphology. For all of the subjects, deficits were noted in one or both languages in vocabulary, the one area of grammatical competence that is amenable to improvement over the course of our lifetimes.

School performance indicates that what these individuals do lack is literacy skills. Researchers in bilingual education (Cummins (1984), Collier (1987)) have claimed that while children can achieve spoken fluency in a second language within 2 years, it requires considerably longer (5-10 years) to catch up academically in English.

All 3 of the subjects exemplify how a facility with spoken English, acquired within a short time after arriving in Canada, can mask a need for help with reading and writing. Two of the subjects, who arrived at the age of 10 and 11 respectively, have experienced greater school success than the student who arrived at 7 years of age. These results support Collier's (1987) claim that students who enter an ESL program at 5-7 years old take more time to "catch up" in school than do those who enter ESL programs at 8-11 years of age.


Language and dialogue: English language learning in a Punjabi Sikh school

Langue et dialogue : L'apprentissage de la langue anglaise dans une école panjabi sikh

Kelleen Toohey (Simon Fraser University)

Notes/Compte rendu. This study examines how the practices of the children and the teacher in a classroom might influence the usage and learning of English by immigrant children. The data for the study was collected in an independent Punjabi Sikh school in the lower mainland of British Columbia, where teachers and other members of the school community were sensitive to the relationship between identity formation and second language learning. he study was informed by the literature that emphasizes the "fundamentally dialogical character" of human life (Taylor: 1994: 32). The analysis of the data, according to the presenter, appears to support Taylor's contention that one's identity critically depends on one's dialogical relations with others, and that "a person or group of people can suffer real damage, real

distortion, if the people or society mirror back to them a confining or demeaning or contemptible picture of themselves" (Taylor: 1994: 25).

The presentation was followed by a lively discussion on the relationship between positive identity formation and learning in general. (RP)

Astract/Précis. This presentation is concerned with the English language learning of a group of young Punjabi Sikh children attending an independent Punjabi Sikh school. I explore how the common linguistic, cultural and religious background of the children seems implicated in their second language usage and learning. A common sense assumption might be that the minority language homogeneity of the site would inhibit or retard the children's progress in using and learning English. I explore this assumption, analyzing how a "sociocultual" perspective might see this matter rather differently, and present data which contradicts the assumption.

Theoretical framework

The overall theoretical frame for this presentation is that variously termed, sociocultural, socio-historical or cultural-historical activity theory, based on the work of the Russian scholars, Vygotsky and Bakhtin, and developed in North America by researchers interested in social and

cultural aspects of development and learning (Bakhtin, 1981, 1984; Lave & Wenger, 1991; Rogoff, 1994; Vygotsky, 1978; Wertsch, 1991, 1998). Fundamental to this approach is the assumption that "learning and development occur as people participate in the sociocultural activities of their community" (Rogoff, 1994, p. 209). For these theorists, social activities are "mediated" through the use of culturally and historically formed artifacts, or tools. Within this perspective, the persons, the activities and the tools have been variable foci for analysis and are shown to be inextricably linked one to another.

While second language acquisition research has traditionally seen second language learning as an individual cognitive phenomenon of internalization of second language knowledge, this sociocultural perspective encourages us to see learning a second language as increasing

one's participation in a community which uses this particular linguistic means to mediate community activities. Conducting research in classrooms from this perspective might involve examining relationships between and among the teacher and the children, the activities in which they engage and the material, linguistic and other intellectual resources with which they mediate their activities. Recognizing the dynamic interdependence between persons, practices and resources makes such analysis extraordinarily complex.


Data for this study was collected in an independent Punjabi Sikh school in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. Children were observed once a week for a half-day each time, from the beginning of kindergarten to the end of Grade 2. Audiotaping accompanied these observations. The children were videotaped once a month.

All of the children in this study (and some of their teachers) are of Punjabi Sikh background and are members of the religious community of the temple. The children come to school with diverse experience with English, but all speak Punjabi and receive daily half hour instruction in

Sikh Studies and Punjabi Language. Many of the adults on the school site speak exclusively Punjabi to one another and to the children.


Informed by current discussions in second language learning literature concerning the importance of investigating the social, cultural and political practices of classrooms, this study examines how practices of the children and the teacher in a classroom might influence the usage and

learning of English by the children. In particular, we have been interested in examining how practices concerned with "recognition" seem important in the children's learning.

Taylor (1994) emphasizes the "fundamentally dialogical character" of human life (p. 32), making the point that: We define our identity always in dialogue with, sometimes in struggle

against, the things our significant others want to see in us. Even after we outgrow some of these others--our parents, for instance-- and they disappear from our lives, the conversation with them continues within us as long as we live (p. 32-33). For this reason, then, one's identity critically depends on one's dialogical relations with others. Taylor further notes that "a person or

group of people can suffer real damage, real distortion, if the people or society mirror back to them a confining or demeaning or contemptible picture of themselves" (p. 25). The opposite case, wherein teachers and other members of the school community mirror to children their

possibilities and strengths, is explored here and effects on learning are discussed.


IIIB Apprentissage de langues et alphabétisation, Partie II : Contextes et compétences

Language Learning and Literacy, Part I: Contexts and Competencies

Systemic Barriers to Lifelong ESL Learning: The Genesis of a Joint Common Multi-Site Project

Les empêchements à l'apprentissage de l'anglais L2 tout le long de la vie : La genèse d'un projet de recherche conjoint, commun et multi-localisé

Sandra G. Kouritzin and Patrick G. Mathews (University of Manitoba)

Abstract/Précis. In October, 1999, affiliated researchers and stakeholders in the Prairie Centre of Excellence for Research on Immigration and Integration came together at the Second Regional Workshop and Conference held in Calgary, Alberta. At that conference, participants in the Education Domain gathered to discuss a prairie-wide research project examining issues of inclusivity in Canadian education as seen from three points of view:

(a) systemic barriers to lifelong ESL learning (hereinafter identified as te literacy working group);

(b) the nature and impact of racial stereotyping and discrimination; and

(c ) the construction and enactment of citizenship (Summary Report of Progress, 1999).

The research of the literacy working group is the focus of this proposal, specifically, ESL policy and policy implementation in educational systems on Canada's prairie provinces. Because learning an official language is essential to school success and to socio-economic integration, the key research question identified by the working group on literacy was:

Are there systemic barriers to coordinating and sustaining support for lifelong ESL learning? If so, what are they? And what recommendations can be considered?

These questions are to be answered in a descriptive comparative fashion, focusing on what already exists in terms of (I) policy, (ii) implementation, and (iii) outcomes; as well as (iv) how people see their roles (Summary Report of Progress, 1999).

Description of the Study

In the broadest sense, policies are "statements of principles about what should happen" (Grundy, 1992, p. 22). Public ESL education in Canada is the product of provincial school acts, as they are informed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the federal and provincial Human Rights acts, the Multiculturalism Act, and other related acts. Adult ESL education in Canada is somewhat less regulated in policy terms, but the working documents that do exist (such as the Benchmarks document of 1996) need to be sought out and examined.

The first step is the process identified by the working group on literacy is collecting data from archival sources and from extant literature concerning policy analyses, examining the written policy statements affecting lifelong ESL learning at the federal, provincial (i.e., Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba), municipal (i.e., focusing on Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, and Brandon), and local (i.e., school board and institutional) levels.

The second step in the process is the study of de facto policy, meaning examining 'business as usual' in ESL classrooms and in mainstream classrooms containing ESL students. According to Mary Ashworth (1984), one of the first advocates for ESL education in Canada, these include, but are not limited to:

(a) national questions such as who, when, where, from where, how many, and under what circumstances, people are permitted to enter the country;

(b) social issues such as whether integration or assimilation is stressed, the status of teachers, the tolerance for diversity in the community, the curriculum and support for programmes;

(c ) institutional influences like the philosophy and goals informing practice, the design length and quality of programmes; and

(d) economic forces which would direct the presence or absence of an ESL programme, the class size, the number of teachers, and the community's attitude towards immigrants.

These would be examined through interviews with the various stakeholders in ESL education in the prairie provinces. The interviews would be conducted and analyzed within a theoretical framework aimed at determining successes, challenges, and any responsibility and/or delivery gaps. It is the goal of this research to formulate relevant recommendations for ESL programming policy in communities, schools, and school divisions or districts.

Goals and Organization of This Presentation

In this paper, the completed archival policy research will first be briefly overviewed in order to provide context for the audience. Following this overview, the issues involved in developing quesitonnnaires and interview schedules from the policy statements (such as the variability of contexts, the variablity of languages, the lack of clear and consistent policies and/or practices) will be addressed. Preliminary drafts of the interview questions will be distributed, and the audience will be asked to try to answer some of the questions, and to make suggestions for revision, deletion, or addition. As the aim of this research is to be as comprehensive as possible, the presentation will conclude with a call for participation in the larger research project.


ESL Policies and Practices in Alberta/ Politiques et pratiques portant sur l'anglais langue seconde en Alberta

Rolande Parel (University of Lancaster and Calgary Catholic School District)

Abstract/Précis. In recent years, there has been a shift in the socioeconomic profile of immigrants to Canada. Today's newcomers are more likely to possess marketable skills and high levels of formal education in the first language than their predecessors were. Nevertheless, despite the fact that there is now a larger number of ESL students with first language academic skills, the dropout rate for high school students in ESL programs remains changed. It is still over 70 %, as compared to 35 % for native speakers. The underlying cause of this lack of success, according to Alberta Learning researchers, is second language literacy.

Undoubtedly, the socioeconomic status of first-generation immigrant parents strongly influence the educational and occupational aspirations of their children. Thus, it is likely that the academic goal of most children whose parents met the criteria for the business and professional category is a university degree. Unfortunately, unless they can overcome the obstacles in the way of acquiring second language reading proficiency, they are unlikely to realize this aspiration.

One of the contributors to the current second language literacy crisis is the imbalance between the Canadian government's immigration and language support policies in educational systems. Examining this situation, this paper deals with (1) the various shifts of immigration profiles over the past thirty years, (2) the government's response to the need for appropriate language services arising from those shifts, and (3) the impact of that response on English as a Second Language programs in Alberta.


Knowledge and Ability in Bilingual Proficiency

Savoir et compétence bilingue

John Archibald and Leslie Blair (Department of Linguistics, University of Calgary)

Abstract/Précis. The relationship between language proficiency and other social and cognitive phenomena is often controversial. This is particularly true when we deal with levels of bilingual proficiency. I think it is fair to say that throughout the 20th century there have been some studies which suggested that bilingualism was a disadvantage to students, and there have been some studies which suggested that bilingualism was an advantage to students. Perhaps the most basic question is this, if studies noted that non-native speakers of English tended to be at risk in the school system, is it correct to say that the fact that they are non-native speakers is causing their failure. There are many factors that need to be controlled for before we can be confident in that statement. How do we know it's not their Socio-Economic status, or their motivation, or their knowledge of literacy, or the attitudes toward or treatment of them in the school system that results in their differential success?

In this paper we are trying to pull apart the components of this question. Cummins (1986) proposed an interesting hypothesis that we seek to elaborate. The first is known as the Dual Threshold Hypothesis. With this hypothesis, he seeks to explain the variety of performance levels of bilinguals. The central claim is that people with below average levels of proficiency in both languages will suffer cognitive deficits while people with above average levels of proficiency in both languages with achieve cognitive advantages (people with average proficiency will perform averagely). This is illustrated graphically in the following figure:

The semi-lingual category has not been uncontroversial in the field (see Bratt Paulston, 1982). Wong Fillmore (1991) has suggested that the existence of a semi-lingual population results in a sub-group who are not influcenced by their family insofar as they cannot interact fruitfully with them in their first language. Roessingh (1996) has shown that students in a Calgary high school who are born in Canada of minority-language parents are at greater risk in the school system than are minority-language students who emigrate to Canada. Roessingh's research was primarily concerned with measuring the literacy skills of the students.

This research project seeks to address these questions by administering standardized tests of proficiency in the subjects' first and second languages. We have administered tests of English proficiency to 5 native speakers of Chinese and 3 native speakers of Arabic at two points in time, and we have noted that their Listening and Grammar scores have improved (with the exception of one subject whom we will discuss). We have also administered tests of their proficiency in Arabic and Chinese. For all of the subjects, the L1 listening and reading ability remained constant. However, for the Chinese subjects, everyone showed a decrease in their Grammar scores (the Arabic test does not have a separate Grammar component). Something is happening to their L1 proficiency. These tests were also given to 2 Arabic-speaking students who are studying at the University of Calgary. Their English scores were the highest of any of the subjects as were their Arabic scores. At the very least, this demonstrates that maintaining their dual proficiency is correlated with success in an educational institution. In this paper, we will flesh out our discussion of these results, in light of Bachman's model and Cummins' Threshold Hypothesis. We will also compare these results to those of Blair and Archibald (in preparation) in which students from Roessingh's research project have been followed up and given grammaticality tests.

In addition, we have administered a questionnaire to all of the subjects which gives us some information on their patterns of language use and language background. From the 1991 census, we see that Calgary had 24,735 Chinese speakers (3%) and 3,850 Arabic speakers (.51%). In the talk we will be reporting on the questionnaire results in more detail.


Bachman, L. (1990). Fundamental Considerations in Language Testing. Oxford University Press.

Bratt Paulston, C. (1982). Swedish Research and Debate about Bilingualism. National Swedish Board of Education.

Cummins, J. (1986). Bilingualism, cognitive functioning and education. In J. Cummins and M. Swain, Bilingualism in Education. Longman

Roessingh, H. (1996). ESL Students and the Inclusive High School Science Class: An Investigation into the Effects of Curriculum Restructuring. PhD thesis, University of Calgary.

Wong Fillmore, L. (1991). A question for early-childhood programs: English first or families first? Education Week. June 19.

Friday May 26, 2000 ~ 3:00pm-4:15pm

Research on Immigration and Education: Future Directions

Minutes of the MERF/FREM annual general meeting

Compte rendu de l'assemblée générale annuelle

As chair and organizer this year, Dr. Hebert:

  • Explained that there were two thematic sessions held during this conference: (1) Institutional Adaptation and Intercultural Competencies, and (2) Language Learning and Literacy
  • There are four MERF/FREM groups, but only two were represented at this conference.

Dr. Masemann expressed her concerns that:

  • The MERF/FREM members and presenters were not present at her plenary, nor at other CIESC sessions.
  • There is a need for more collaboration, interaction and mutual support between the groups.
  • There is a need for MERF to be a part of the program and the organization.
  • CIESC is open to MERF joining their organization and maintaining and improving the relationship between the groups.

Central to this discussion was the following question:

  • How can MERF continue to participate in CIESC in the future?

--Should abstracts be sent directly to CIESC and be programmed by their organization? Or, should they remain separate?

--Should MERF, CERN and CIESC organize joint presentations and program around similar research interests?

--Who will organize the 2001 program?

Kelleen Toohey:

  • Are MERF/FREM groups along the lines of CIESC? (i.e. Do they fit together?)

Diane Dagenais:

  • Concerned that integrating MERF/FREM into the CIESC program would cause them to lose the sight and focus of who is part of Metropolis, what is Metropolis research.


  • MERF is very local whereas CIESC is more international.
  • Can CIESC work with the MERF domain leaders across the centres to improve interaction and integration, to avoid overlap between sessions of both organizations?
  • The President of CIESC would like to see MERF and CERN within the overall CIESC program for Congress 2001. This would mean that abstracts and symposia would need to be compiled and submitted directly to CIESC by the CSSE due date (October 16, 2000).
  • Eliminating the keynote address and the organization meeting (or moving it to a dinner), would free up presentation spaces.
  • Should a MERF member be designated to work with a CIESC member to organize the joint program? Or should the domain leaders act as program liaisons in the organization of the program?

MERF related issues discussed:

  • There is an issue regarding the publication of papers that have been posted on a website. Some journals are not accepting them for publication.
  • Toronto National Conference (March 2000): MERF/FREM was very productive and they are looking to publish papers from previous conferences. There is a need for more policy relevant research. Should they target certain journals, such as the new JIMI and the CIESC Journal? How can the research be more accessible?

The meeting was adjourned until next year at U Laval, fin mai, 2001.

In attendance:
Yvonne Hebert (Chair)
Vandra Masemann
Linda LaRocque
Claude Charbonneau
David Mandzuk
Donatille Mujawamariya
Rolande Parel
Kelleen Toohey
Diane Dagenais
Leslie Blair
John Archibald
Christine Racicot (recorder)

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