Migrating Voices: Intricate Passages• “Language equals access to work.”• “Everything is time-consuming.”• “I’m not lazy. I’m diligent. I don’t want to show that I have difficulties.”• “I lost confidence in myself.”
Migrating Voices: Intricate Passages• “I needed to be cared for.”• “You have to learn on your own.”• “[They] don’t understand my thinking.”• “There is pressure to go into school right away.”• “We need to speak a common language.”
Honouring the Stories• by acknowledging the personal experiences of each student.• by understanding the uniqueness of each student’s needs.• by comprehending the desire to pursue an education.
Project Impetus• Internationalizing Campus (expand and maintain access)• Increased enrollment of students of different cultural and educational backgrounds – Barriers along educational journeys – Barriers are compounded by others which cannot be easily seen or remedied: • Adapting to a new host culture and learning environment • Meeting academic requirements and expectations that grant them the Canadian education they are pursuing
The Project GoalsPrimary Goal:This present study seeks to investigate levelsof support for LESLLA transitioning intopost-secondary studiesTertiary aims are twofold: – Identify gaps, barriers or struggles students face in transition – Explore strategies to enable a better transition experience and promote success during transition
Primary Research Question• What factors or barriers influence the adjustment of adult learners’ transitions into post-secondary studies? – implications for understanding these barriers
The Distinctness of the Project• This study focuses on one learner demographic (LESLLA) a significant portion of the student population – involved in complex processes of navigating around and adjusting to a new learning culture – in constant states of negotiating between the complexities of a new culture and education system, and adjusting to a new life
The Details• stages of acculturation which can compound the educational experience• Face barriers that limit them from succeeding with their educational agendas (institutional policies may marginalize, underrepresent, or generalize)
The Literature• much value in the research that looks at how socioeconomic and literacy barriers impact the attainment of a post-secondary education – adjustment challenges host learners face such as learning a new language, integrating into a new campus culture, and making new friends (Constatine, Anderson, Berkel & Utsey, 2005; Surdam & Collins, 1984).
The Literature• Current research on academic success and language and literacy development specifically English Language Learners (Vinogradov and Liden 2009; Schönwetter, Clifton, & Perry, 2002; Harklau, 1999) has identified barriers that impact the academic success of English Language Learners transitioning into college.
The Literature• additional language acquisition and acculturation processes (Brilliant, Lvovich, and Markson, 1995)• language and learning barriers students face while in college level courses (Cazden, 1988; Chaudron, 1988; Ellis, 1990; Zamel & Spack, 2004)
The Project• Qualitative study that targeted adult learners enrolled in college programs• Eight face-to-face interviews – participants ranged from ESL to (former) LESLLA – More are coming forward!• The conversation: transition experience; academic and social life; family and community life
Following One Path• Approaching transitions – “I used to do this and it worked. So I tried it here.”• Learner enters with some prior experience; inlays one experience onto another; processes do not translate – each transition brings on a new way of navigating – difficulty navigating the differences
Following One Path• diverse educational landscapes – negotiating processes that form pathways – had few educational opportunities in home country – attended high school in Canada (graduated) – attended an ESL Literacy program – went from a part-time to a full-time Business Admin student in college
Following One Path• Translating processes (more complex educational system) – Come with educational goals (how to translate those goals)• time (reality and expectations=misconceptions)• social success: developing peer relations• initiative to seek out help• accommodating learners to expand educational opportunities
Navigating Transitions• The project provided insights into understanding the multiple transitions traveled between of home, school, and community. – How are students navigating new educational environments?• transitions laden with prerequisites, grades, course expectations, policies or general program expectations – Look at the intricate nature of student’s actions, decision-making processes
Helping Students to Reach the Highest Points• Entrance into-newness of the environment; socializing; connecting; seeking help• Within transition-prioritizing; becoming; adapting; adjusting to the academic rigor; production-orientated; execution of skills; clarifying, relearning; self-styled strategies become more intentional; assessing what exists• Departure-transitioning into yet new (work) communities
Preliminary Summary• Capture the experience inlayed in the social and personal• Desires “a common language” to be used• insight into the tension between the personal and the social and the experiences that surround their transitions – College success – Educational attainment• Negotiating these complex tensions: never out of the process
Preliminary Summary• Student reflections on their transitions and adjustments to college life revealed varying levels of satisfaction and dissatisfaction while in transitions. – Self-perceived barriers to the point of drop out
Preliminary Summary• Constraints (financial) forces student to enter into self-sustaining and coping (crisis) processes rather than ones which are logistically created to sustain all levels of support throughout the students’ education• Entering into the system with a level of preparedness only to be confronted with new challenges that cannot be anticipated
Preliminary Summary• valuable commentary emerging from the data suggesting that ESL Literacy learners enrolled in college are facing more significant challenges such as learning in an academic way – ineffective strategies used to negotiate processes – frustration with being unable to navigate effectively and successfully in order to access college programs
Preliminary Summary• What shapes successful academic journeys? – Capacity to support linguistic and academic transitions – Social networks are critical to success in school – improve access and ease to undergraduate studies by bridging those gaps students are unable to navigate independently. – Perceptions that some systems are less advantageous
Preliminary SummaryWorking with adult learners– needed to regain what was lost– adopt strategies (innovations) to maintain first careers from home countries– enhance the skills they already have
Preliminary Summary• the importance of collaboration amongst college program developers and post- secondary sectors that would motivate students to go to college. – What motivates students to go to college? • Bridging a gap: continuing an education left behind in home country
Bringing the Stories to Light: The Implications• Prioritizing the students’ adjustment experiences minimizes the chances of barriers emerging while in transition• Social support provisions encourages successful integration into new academic communities• different forms of transitions and adaptations to them influenced the larger transition into college• Rangel (2001) “academic invulnerability”
Connecting Closely: Better Navigating the Future• Even though this project did not focus on program and policy development, the data from it may impact future institutional vision statements surrounding the education of adult learners from all cultural and educational backgrounds.• May call for revision of institutional responsibilities surrounding the delivery of a post-secondary education to LESLLA learners.
A Sense of Agency: Defamiliarizing the Familiar • “You gotta believe that you are worth it.”