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Immigrant student voices

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For international studies week on immigrant experiences

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Immigrant student voices

  1. 1. IMMIGRANT STUDENT VOICES: PERCEPTIONS OF RACE, LANGUAGE, AND CULTURE ELISABETH L. CHAN ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, ESL ECHAN@NVCC.EDU
  2. 2. AGENDA  Background  2015 Research  Implications  Relevant literature  Campus culture  Pedagogy
  3. 3. INSPIRATION “My customer yelled at me that I should learn English or go back to where I came from. Then my manager told me the customer is always right.” (Ethiopian female) “I’m unlucky because I was born speaking Chinese and not English.” (Chinese female)
  4. 4. TRUE OR FALSE?  There is an official body in the U.S. which regulates the rules of English.
  5. 5. TRUE OR FALSE?  Standard English is a distinct dialect of English, required to succeed in school and business.
  6. 6. TRUE OR FALSE?  “People who invoke the term Standard English rarely make clear what they have in mind by it…”  “is highly elastic and variable, since what counts as Standard English will depend on both the locality and the particular varieties that Standard English is being contrasted with.”
  7. 7. TRUE OR FALSE?  English is the official language of the United States.
  8. 8. WHAT IS “ENGLISH”?  What is “English”?  What is “good” English?  What is “bad” English?  What is “correct” English?
  9. 9. ENGLISH AS SOMETHING MORE THAN LANGUAGE English Culture Power Economy Ownership Politics Othering
  10. 10. ENGLISH AS SOMETHING MORE THAN LANGUAGE English Culture Power Economy Ownership Politics Othering
  11. 11. ENGLISH AS SOMETHING MORE THAN LANGUAGE English Culture Power Economy Ownership Politics Othering
  12. 12. ENGLISH AS SOMETHING MORE THAN LANGUAGE English Culture Power Economy Ownership Politics Othering
  13. 13. KEN ASKED TOM FOR HELP WITH HIS ENGLISH HOMEWORK.  What color is Tom’s shirt? (Romney 2010) (Kang & Rubin 2009) (Rubin 1992; Roberts et al 1992)
  14. 14. HOW MANY PEOPLE SPEAK ENGLISH? 25% 75% 2.5 billion people Native English Speaker "Non-native" English speaker
  15. 15. ESL TEACHER / ESL STUDENT
  16. 16. ENGLISH SPEAKER
  17. 17. LANGUAGE CHANGES OVER TIME  Why is English “sacred”?
  18. 18. LANGUAGE CHANGES OVER TIME  Why are some changes more acceptable?  Furnitures or Informations versus Coffees or Accomodations
  19. 19. LINGUISTIC DISCRIMINATION  “ideologies, structures and practices which are used to legitimate, effectuate, and reproduce an unequal division of power and resources (both material and immaterial) between groups which are defined on the basis of language” (Phillipson, 1992) (Han, 2014)
  20. 20. particular language varieties and accents, speech dysfluency, and nonstandard grammar LINGUICISM (Clement & Gardner, 2001; Lippi- Green, 2012) indicators of low intelligence relational disharmony and social unacceptability
  21. 21. CULTURAL DISCRIMINATION “Rationalizes the subordination of people of color on the basis of culture, which is of course acquired through acculturation within an ethnic group, while traditional racism rationalizes it fundamentally in terms of biology. Neo-racism is still racism in that it functions to maintain racial hierarchies of oppression.” (Spears, 1999)
  22. 22. EFFECTS ON SUCCESS (Grant & Zwier, 2011)(such as gender, race, ability)
  23. 23. ACCULTURATIVE STRESS  English language difficulties,  academic struggles,  cultural adaptation,  problematic perfectionism,  lack of social supports,  homesickness,  and perceived discrimination.” (Tung, 2011) “Perceived discrimination is a unique source of stress that is different from general stress” (Harrell, 2000; Meyer, 2003)
  24. 24. DISCRIMINATION? A MATTER OF PERCEPTION? “Also, some people have been impolite when I have reached their office with an appointment: I was not invited to have a sit, but I had to talk from the door.” (Chilean male) “Experiencing the whole issue of racism was surprising, I had never in my life even given thought to racism. And never before had I tick a box for my race when filling out documents.” (Estonian female)
  25. 25. COMPARING STUDENTS’ EXPERIENCES 2013 Study  52 of 56 (93%) reported differential treatment on the basis of race, language, and/or culture  Of those who reported NO differential treatment based on race:  78%DID report differential treatment based on language and/or culture 2015 Study  30 of 40 (75%) reported differential treatment on the basis of race, language, and/or culture  Of those who reported NO differential treatment based on race:  52%DID report differential treatment based on language and/or culture
  26. 26. EXAMINING IMMIGRANT STUDENTS IN DETAIL: 2015
  27. 27. IMMIGRANT VOICES FROM 2015  13 participants  8 female; 5 male  Average age = 28  Average years in the U.S. = 10  4 non-ESL; 6 co-enrolled; 2 College ESL
  28. 28. IMMIGRANT VOICES FROM 2015  Latino/a, Arab, White, Asian, Black, N/A  Spanish, Arabic, Farsi, Estonian, Lithuanian, Nepali, Berber  Russian, Hindi, French, Tigry, English  Only 7 listed English
  29. 29. PRIMARY QUESTIONS BEFORE COMING TO THE U.S.  What perceptions of America and racism did students have? AFTER COMING TO THE U.S.  How did those perceptions change once they had immigrated?  What types of differential treatment (positive and/or negative) do students perceive due to racial, linguistic, and/or cultural differences?
  30. 30. BEFORE: HOW WELL DID YOU THINK AMERICANS KNEW YOUR NATIVE COUNTRY? 77% 15% 8% Knew little to nothing Knew some Knew well Based on this assumption, how did you feel about immigrating? 8  4  1 
  31. 31. 15% BELIEVED AMERICANS WOULD BE KNOWLEDGEABLE 77% BELIEVED AMERICANS WOULD KNOW LITTLE OR NOTHING “I thought that they know my country very well… I knew very much about America before to immigrant to USA.” (Iranian male) “I think Americans don’t know very much about my country and my culture, but they do very well about my Arabic language.” (Sudanese male)
  32. 32. AFTER: HOW DID AMERICANS VIEW YOUR NATIVE COUNTRY? 42% 33% 17% 8% Column1 Positive view Positive & Negative Negative  El Salvador, Bolivia, Iran, Nepal  /  Sudan, Lithuania, Colombia, Eritrea  Bolivia, Mexico ? Algeria
  33. 33. RANGE OF PERCEPTIONS “makes an attempt to connect to me and find similarities between our cultures. He likes to try native recipes…very respectful and tolerant of my culture (El Salvadorean female) “shock that mexico has cars and television and that I dress ‘normal’ …some people don’t think of there being cities, but instead ‘pueblos’.” (Mexican female) “They don’t know anything.” (Algerian female)
  34. 34. BEFORE: WHAT DID YOU KNOW ABOUT RACE RELATIONS IN AMERICA? 46% 23% 31% Knew about racism Thought racism didn't exist
  35. 35. PERCEPTIONS OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION “One time a teacher told me to go back to my country because I was late to class. She said really bad things to me outside the classroom. I remember that I have that bad experience at Nova last semester.” (Colombian female) “people strongly disliked me for being Mexican. Even teachers…it was horrible. I thought teachers were supposed to be caring.”(Mexican female)
  36. 36. WHO WAS MORE LIKELY TO PERCEIVE DIFFERENTIAL TREATMENT DUE TO RACE? 0 2 4 6 8 Experienced differential treatment Did not experience differential treatment Knew prior to immigrating
  37. 37. WHY MIGHT THAT BE THE CASE? “Lake of new immigrants ability [should be addressed.] Because many newcomer because don’t know language and culture they feels discrimination only because of lake of their knowledge.” (Iranian male) “I didn't have any positive or negative experience. The main reason because I am white girl and most at time people think that I am American.” (Ukrainian female)
  38. 38. CORRELATION BETWEEN PERCEIVING DISCRIMINATION BASED ON RACE, LANGUAGE, AND CULTURE Language Culture Positive Negative + / - NO Positive Negative + / - NO YES 1 3 2 3 2 1 NO 1 1 5 1 1 5
  39. 39. CORRELATION BETWEEN PERCEIVING DISCRIMINATION BASED ON RACE, LANGUAGE, AND CULTURE Language Culture Positive Negative + / - NO Positive Negative + / - NO YES 1 3 2 3 2 1 NO 1 1 5 1 1 5 (2013) Of those who reported NO differential treatment based on race: 78% DID report differential treatment based on language and/or culture (2015) Of those who reported NO differential treatment based on race: 52% DID report differential treatment based on language and/or culture
  40. 40. PERCEPTIONS OF LINGUISTIC DISCRIMINATION “At first I did get treated differently, in fourth grade I attempted to read but people would just laugh. After I learned how to speak English I haven’t felt any different treatment since I know how to speak English well.” (El Salvadorian female) “most [Americans] were very patient, kept trying to understand me. I have negative experience with people who were not English native speaker, their would be more judgmental. (Lithuanian female)
  41. 41. PERCEPTIONS OF CULTURAL DISCRIMINATION “No [I have not experienced cultural discrimination] I think part of it is because might be due to the fact that people from my generation is not as attached to the culture and beliefs as before. (Bolivian female) “I never been to my religious place (Temple) and I don’t celebrate my own festivals. It is impossible and will be, because of big fish always eat small fish. (Nepalese male)
  42. 42. FINAL THOUGHTS
  43. 43. DANGEROUS CYCLE Silence Race Talk Future Talk Silenced Systemic Change Reduced Gaps, Inequities Patterned Privilege & Oppression (Castagno 2008)
  44. 44. INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION (Lee, 2007; Charles-Toussaint & Crowson, 2010; Hung & Hyun, 2010; Nilsson, Butler, Shouse & Chetan, 2008; Alfred, 2009) Faculty StudentsStaff
  45. 45. INCORPORATE DIVERSITY & INTERCULTURAL ISSUES IN CURRICULUM Materials on Race & Ethnicity Counter Narratives Anti-Racist Pedagogy Socially Responsible Teaching Change School Environment (Glass, 2012; Curran, 2003; Briscoe, 2003 as cited in Grant & Zwier, 2011)
  46. 46. GLOBAL ISSUES & PEACE CONTENT (Swenson & Cline, 1993; Yoshimura, 1993 as cited in Kruger, 2012)
  47. 47. EXAMPLES  http://gameslearningsociety.org/  http://www.gamesforchange.org/play/  (Using Games to Bridge Social Responsibility & Language Learning, Fri 3:00-3:45 802A)
  48. 48. REFERENCES  Lee, J. J. (2010). International students' experiences and attitudes at a us host institution: Self-reports and future recommendations. Journal of Research in International Education, 9(1), 66-84. doi: 10.1177/1475240909356382  Lee, J. J., & Rice, C. (2007). Welcome to America? international student perceptions of discrimination. Higher Education, 53, 381-409. doi: 10.1007/s10734-005-4508-3  Ly, P. (2008). Caught between two cultures. Diverse Issues in Higher Education, 25(14), 24-25.  Mahboob, A., & Szenes, E. (2007). Linguicism And Racism In Assessment Practices In Higher Education. Linguistics and the Human Sciences, 3(3), 325-354.  Nilsson, J., Butler, J., Shouse, S., & Joshi, C. (2008). The Relationships Among Perfectionism, Acculturation, and Stress in Asian International Students. Journal of College Counseling, 11, 147-158.  Niu, J., & Rosenthal, S. (2009). Trust discrimination toward socially dominant and subordinate social groups. North American Journal of Psychology, 11(3), 501-501.  Ng, S. H. (2007). Language-based discrimination. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 26(2), 106-122. Retrieved from http://jls.sagepub.com  Pac, T. (2012). The English-Only Movement in the US and the World in the Twenty-First Century. Perspectives on Global Development and Technology, 11, 192-210.  Poyrazli, S., & Lopez, M. D. (2007). An exploratory study of perceived discrimination and homesickness: A comparison of international students and American students. The Journal of Psychology, 141(3), 263-280.  Ramburuth, P., & Tani, M. (2009). The impact of culture on learning: Exploring student perceptions. Multicultural Education & Technology Journal, 3(3), 182-195. doi: 10.1108/17504970910984862  Saperstein, A. (2006). Double-Checking the Race Box: Examining Inconsistency between Survey Measures of Observed and Self-Reported Race. Social Forces, 85(1), 57-74.  Smith, R. A., & Khawaja, N. G. (2011). A review of the acculturation experiences of international students. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 35, 699-713. doi: 10.1016/j.ijintrel.2011.08.004  Talmy, S. (2010). Becoming “Local” in ESL: Racism as Resource in a Hawai‘i Public High School. Journal of Language, Identity & Education, 9, 36-57.  Tung, W. (2011). Acculturative stress and help-seeking behaviors among international students. Home Health Care Management & Practice, 23(5), 383-385. doi: 10.1177/1084822311405454
  49. 49. Contact Info: References & Handout available at: echan@nvcc.edu http://www.slideshare.net/ElisabethChan Assistant Professor, ESL Co-chair, TESOL Social Responsibility Interest Section That not all states are equally progressive when it comes to matters of race. I would have liked to know this before applying to schools US is good, US is fun, but US can also be very lonely. And I mean very, very lonely. I should have known that all the opportunities on campus are given to Americans and there is no equal opportunity in real. If I want some hands on experience by working on campus it is very difficult. I tried to read books about US culture before coming here, but to be honest, I couldn't understand it until I experienced it. I wish I just didn't take a lot of things too personal. It is important not to judge the whole nation by one unpleasant person. I am for the transparent media, but I think sometimes in a pursuit of sensation it polarizes the country and created disagreements inside of the nation. 1+1=2 in math, but white+ black =1 at all "Human". Thank you. Immigrant students are an important because they come from different parts of the world and have different knowledge which we can learn from each other. there should be more opportunities to make us succeed equally not leaving us behind. Either [Americans] have to adapt to it or I have to adapt to their likings, after all, this is not my country. I understand a lot of international students have trouble of surviving in America because they are reluctant to change. But the experiences made me grow up, hardened my heart a little, and gave me more confidence in myself and to be proud of my country. I do not regret coming here. It was a hard and lonely road for 8 years. It was hard to be such an outsider and disliked for being born where I was, something I had no control over. Thank you for this chance to share my own thoughts!!!!

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