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Contemporary Educational Issues: Barriers to Immigrant Learners

-There are many barriers facing an immigrant learner. We have chosen to
focus on only a few of the more prevalent ones based on conversations with
our teacher assistants and Principals at our respective placements.
-Immigrants who are English Language Learners (ELLs) face challenges that
native speakers do not, achieving _________ and dropping out __________.
-ELL provincial exam failure rates are __________ that of native-speakers
-Difference between refugee and immigrant
-We are going to present 3 scenarios and then brainstorm potential solutions
for each student in small groups, who will then present their ideas to the
-There is no cookie cutter solution for all learners, but we will hopefully find
helpful solutions.
Dustin- A refugee elementary student

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
Cannot verbalize his
perceptions, images and
thoughts associated with the
stressor (disaster, war)
Feels very vulnerable
Loss of sustained
Experiences angry outbursts
Highly impulsive

Potential Solutions

Ruby- An English speaking student from a traditional learning background.

Experiencing severe culture
Struggles with difference in
Educational Systems
Different expectations
between parents and
Often latches on to others,
fearing isolation.
Lacks autonomy
Sees a lack of importance in
extra-curricular activity

Potential Solutions

Trevor- A non-English speaking immigrant student who excelled in education

in his homeland.

Difficulty in verbal
communication with teacher
and students
Even further difficulty with
academic language in writing
and verbal context
Experiences social isolation
Difficulty working in groups
Does not comprehend social
norms and nuances
Needs instructions explained
in various ways
Parents speak native
language and cannot provide
effective help on homework

Potential Solutions

-3 important things to remember: ________________ __________________

-It is a process, not a product as a foundation for success is built.

Alberta Education. (2009). Supporting English as a Second Language
Students. Retrieved 06 06, 2015, from Education Alberta:
Barbara, S., & Van Ngo, H. (n.d.). Immigrant Children and Youth in Focus.
Retrieved from http://canada.metropolis.net/pdfs/Van_ngo_e.pdf
Great Schools Partnership. (2013). English-Language Learner. Retrieved from
The Glossary of Education Reform: http://edglossary.org/english-languagelearner/
Gunderson, L. (2012, 06 22). Immigrant students navigating Canadian
schools: a longitudinal view. 29 (si6), p. 142.
Schmidt, D. (2015). What is Culture Shock? Retrieved from about home:
Tamer, M. (2014). The Education of Immigrant Children. Retrieved from