Materials for Teaching, Research and Policy Making



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KEY WORDS: Professional; Work; Immigrants Education; Unemployment.

Bey, M. (2003). The Mexican child: From work with the family to paid employment. Childhood, 10(3), 287-299.


The author considers the role of the work in the socialization of children who grow up in conditions of extreme poverty. Based on research among families of seasonal migrant agricultural labourers form the south of Mexico coming to work in the north of the country. One of the few options open to these peasant families, the author argues that it also represents an effective form of socialization that enables children to prepare for their future. The article discusses the conditions surrounding the children's work and schooling, whether the minimum age of employment should be enforced, and presents the dilemma of whether it is best for children to pursue waged labour or school education.
KEY WORDS: Child Work; Family; Mexico; Migration; Formal Training; Employment and Education; "At Risk".

Budder, H. (2006). Origin, employment status and attitudes towards work: Immigrants in Vancouver, Canada. Work Employment and Society, 20(4), 709-729.


It is often implied in academic and public debate that non-immigrants and immigrants of various origin harbour different attitudes towards work. To examine whether these differences relate to men and women's origin, labour market status, and length of time living at the place of settlement, an interview survey of 509 individuals was conducted in a predominantly Chinese-speaking neighbourhood, a Punjabi-speaking area and an English-speaking neighbourhood in Vancouver, Canada. The results of the survey are critically interpreted in light of Pierre Bourdieu's concept of habitus. Although the study reveals origin-based differences in work attitudes, the article rejects the cultural essentialism that could be used to explain differences in economic performance.
KEY WORDS: Immigrants and Work; Health Surveys; Survey Response Rates; Labor Relations; Markets; Economics.

Capps, R., Fix, M., Passel, J., Ost, J., & Perez-Lopez, D. (2003). A profile of the low-wage immigrant workforce. Immigrant families and workers. Facts and perspectives brief. Washington DC: Urban Institute.


Immigrants compose an increasingly large share of the US labor force and growing share of low-wage workers. Immigrants' hourly wages are lower on average than those for natives. Immigrant workers are much more likely than native workers to drop out of high school. Three-fourths of all US workers with less than a ninth grade education are immigrants. Nearly two-thirds of low-wage immigrant workers do not speak English proficiently, and most of these workers have little formal education. Two of every five low-wage immigrant workers are undocumented. While the low-wage native labor force is mainly female, men dominate the low-wage immigrant labor force. Even though they are less likely to participate in the labor force, female immigrant workers are better educated and more likely to be in the country legally than male immigrants. Foreign-born women earn substantially lower wages than foreign-born men and native women. Although immigrants dominate a few low-wage occupations, such as farming and private household work, immigrants in these occupations represent a small share of all immigrant workers. There are more foreign-born workers in low-skilled manufacturing and services.
KEY WORDS: Dropout Rate; Educational Attainment; Employment Patterns; English (Second language); Immigrants; Labor Force; Language Proficiency; Limited English Speaking; Second Language Learning; Sex Differences; Urban Areas; Wages; Formal Training; Employment and Education; "At Risk".

Carreon, G. P., Drake, C., & Barton, A. C. (2005). The importance of presence: Immigrant parents' school engagement experiences. American Educational Research Journal, 42(3), 465-498.


The authors have been engaged in research focused on how parents in high-poverty urban communities negotiate understandings and build sustaining relationships with others in school settings. In this article, the authors draw upon ethnographic methodology to report on the stories of three working-class immigrant parents and their efforts to participate in their children's formal education. Their stories are used as exemplars to illuminate the challenges immigrant parents face as they work to participate in their children's schooling. In contrasting the three stories, the authors argue that parental engagement needs to be understood through parents' presence in schooling, regardless of whether that presence is in a formal school space or in more personal, informal spaces, including those created by parents themselves.
KEY WORDS: Immigrants; Parents; Parent Participation; Parent School Relationship; Parent Student Relationship; Urban Education; Urban Areas; Poverty; Working Class; Economically Disadvantaged; Parent Role.

Cavallaro, F. (2005). Language maintenance revisited: An Australian perspective. Bilingual Research Journal, 29(3), 561-582.


Language maintenance has been an issue debated whenever languages come into contact. This paper presents a detailed discussion of the reasons most often cited as to why languages should be maintained, with a specific focus on Australia because of the country's multilingual makeup. Australia currently has about 150 aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages still in use, and more than 100 languages other than English are spoken by its immigrant population. However, these diverse language resources have been allowed to steadily decline. The arguments for the maintenance of Australia's languages are categorized loosely based on Thieberger's (1990) work and each of the arguments is discussed: (a) group intergrity and group membership, (b) identity, (c) cultural heritage, (d) social-humanitarian and economic implication, (e) assimilation, and (f) cognitive development and academic achievement. This paper argues that there are many apparent advantages to maintaining languages.
KEY WORDS: Language Maintenance; Multilingualism; Indigenous Populations; Languages; Group Membership; Cultural Background; Cognitive Development; Acculturation; Academic Achievement; Foreign Countries; Sociolinguistics; Immigrants; Ethnic Groups; Racial Identification; Ethnicity; Australia.

Department of Labor. (2001). No longer children: Case studies of the living and working conditions of the youth who harvest America's crops. Washington, DC: Aguirre International.


Examined are the living and working conditions of adolescent migrant farmworkers. Interviews with 216 youth working during peak harvest time in 6 states, as well as with adult farmworkers, family members of working youth, and farm labor contractors. Most of the youth were 14-17 years old, although a few had begun work as early as age 11; were overwhelmingly male; and were living on their own. Few were US citizens or legal residents. Originating primarily in Mexico and Guatemala, a surprising proportion were indigenous. Adolescent farmworkers lived in the most marginal conditions within an already marginalized population. Extremely crowded housing was substandard. The 70% of interviewees had only an elementary education or less. Those with at least some secondary education were generally interested in furthering their education. Migrant youth working in agriculture suffered many threats and risks to both their physical and mental health. Extensive recommendations are made concerning needs for longitudinal research to guide initiatives; educational program designs to serve out-of school migrant youth, particularly in the areas of English language learning, numeracy, and lifelong learning skills; expanded eligibility for federal job training programs; enhanced legal protection of working youth and enhanced enforcement housing; and new strategies to manage the influx of migrant youth into the US farm labor market.
KEY WORDS: Adolescents; Agriculture; American Indians; Child Labor; Educational Needs; Elementary Secondary Education; Labor Conditions; Mexicans; Migrant Education; Migrant Health Services; Migrant Housing; Migrant Youth; Public Policy; Social Network; Undocumented Immigrants; Work Environment; "At Risk".

Duff, P., Wong, P., & Early, M. (2002). Learning language for work and life: The linguistic socialization of immigrant Canadians seeking careers in healthcare. The Modern Language Journal, 86, 397-422.


This article discusses research on ESL for the workplace, identifying gaps in the existing literature and promising directions for new explorations. A qualitative study was conducted in one type of program for immigrant women and men in Western Canada seeking to become long-term resident care aides or home support workers. The study examined the linguistic and social processes at work in the education and integration of immigrant ESL speakers into the workforce and the broader community; the issues participants in such programs face; and the insights that can be gleaned for understanding language socialization in this context. Of particular interest was the contrast observed in one such program between the focus on medical and general English language proficiency, as well as nursing skills, and the actual communication requirements within institutions with large numbers of staff and patients who do not speak English, and who, in the case of elderly, may also face communication difficulties associated with ageing, illness, and disability. Implications for future research and curriculum development are discussed.
KEY WORDS: Immigration; ESL; Western Canada; "At Risk".

Gallo, M. (2001). Immigrant workers' journeys through a new culture: Exploring the transformative learning possibilities of photography. Studies in the Education of Adults, 33(2), 109-119.


Study examines how the use of learner-generated photography in an English as a Second Language (ESL) curriculum influenced knowledge production of migrant workers in the U.S. Data were obtained from 23 immigrant workers who participated in the 26-week project. Results show that the use of learner-generated photography in the ESL classroom served as an impetus for sharing stories and beginning conversations, helping learners to see connections between past and present experiences. The use of photography also prompted a number of issues to be raised concerning such topics as racism, low wages,work inequalities, unsafe working conditions, & difficulties faced in obtaining citizenship. The project resulted in 5 transformative outcomes that helped learners both inside & outside the work space. These were critical reflection, creation of knowledge, communication, community building, and change-making.
KEY WORDS: Immigrants; Education; Great Britain; English as a Second Language; ESL; Transformation Theory; Adult Learning; Photography in Education; "At Risk".

Goldberg, M., & Corson, D. (2001). Minority languages learned informally: The social construction of language skills through the discourse of Ontario employers. NALL Working Paper No. 22 . Toronto: Centre for the Study of Education and Work, OISE/UT. Available at: www.nall.ca.


Many immigrants, refugees, and aboriginal Canadians learn their own languages in the normal, informal way. These minority languages learned informally are not valued as a skill that yields returns in the labor market in the same way the official languages or formally learned languages do. What counts as a skill in a society, in a given point in time, is the product of complex phenomenological, social, economic, ideological, and political processes. Discourse is key to this process of social and cultural reproduction. The discourse of Ontario employers socially constructs the definition of what counts as a skill in Ontario workplaces and thus what warrants value in the labor market. The notion of skill is a construction that is socially created and hence changeable. If we want to change the unjust situation that affects the speakers of minority languages, we need to change the discourse surrounding minority languages to one that truly values minority languages as skills worth conserving, maintaining, and putting to use.
KEY WORDS: Adult Education; Bilingualism; Canada Natives; Developed Nations; Discourse Communities; Employer Attitudes; Employment Potential; Foreign Countries; Immigrants; Indigenous Populations; Informal Education; Job Skills; Language Attitudes; Language Minorities; Native Speakers; Refugees; Ontario; "At Risk";Immigrant Workers; Refugees.

Green, C., Kler, P., & Leeves, G. (2007). Immigrant overeducation: Evidence from recent arrivals to Australia. Economics of Education Review, 26(4), 420-432.


Australian immigration policy, in common with the US and Canada, has increased the emphasis on skill-based selection criteria. A key premise of this policy is that skilled immigrants are more employable and can add to the productive capacity of the economy. However, this effect will be diminished if immigrants are working in occupations that fail to utilise their skills. The authors examine the extent of overeducation for recently arrived immigrants to Australia. They find that they are more likely to be overeducated than the native population, even if they enter on skill assessed visas. Overeducation is greater for immigrants from non-English speaking backgrounds (NESB) and generates lower returns to education. Tighter restrictions to welfare support on entry raised employment levels but increased overeducation. This will serve to reduce the potential productivity gains from skill biased immigration policies.
KEY WORDS: Foreign Countries; Employment Level; Productivity; Non English Speaking; Immigration; Immigrants; Public Policy; Educational Attainment; Job Skills; Skilled Occupations; Welfare Services; Canada; Australia.

Greenberg, E., Macias, R. F., Rhodes, D., & Chan, T. (2001). English literacy and language minorities in the United States. Education Statistics Quarterly, 3(73-75).


Using data from the National Adult Literacy Survey, explores the English fluency and literacy of U.S. adults whose native language is not English, their fluency and literacy in their native language, and their employment patterns and earnings. Data show that only nonnative English speakers with low levels of formal education were truly disadvantaged in the labor market by their lack of English native language skills.
KEY WORDS: Educational Attainment; Employment Patterns; English (Second Language); Income; Labor Market; Language Minorities; Language Proficiency; Literacy; "At Risk".

Grognet, A. G. (1997). Integrating employment skills into adult ESL instruction. Washington, DC: Office of Educational Research and Improvement.


This paper discusses employment preparation and how it can be integrated into English-as-a-second -language (ESL) curriculum in a workplace or standard adult ESL program. It chronicles the historical link, since federal legislation in 1964, between employment and adult education and the relationship of employment and ESL instruction with the large influx of immigrants from the '70s. Distinctions between workforce and workplace instruction is discussed, noting trends since the 1970s. Research on both linguistic skills and other workplace skills needed in the workplace is reviewed briefly, and 5 areas of workplace competency identified in a major federal report by the Secretary of Labor's Commission on Achieving necessary Skills (SCANS) are detailed. Ways in which ESL practitioners can teach the SCANS skills are briefed, and other ways in which they can advance workplace ESL instruction are identified.
KEY WORDS: Adult Education; Educational Needs; Employment Patterns; English (Second language); Job skills; Labor Force Development; Language Proficiency; Language Role; Language Usage; Limited English Speaking; Literacy Education; On the Job Training; Second Language Instruction; Vocational Education; Vocational English (Secondary language); Work Environment; "At Risk".

Hite, L. (2007). Hispanic women managers and professionals: Reflections on life and work. Gender, Work, and Organization, 14(1), 20-36.


Much of the research on professional and managerial women actually describes the experiences of White women, excluding those of other racial and ethnic backgrounds. This exploratory qualitative study focuses on the life and work experiences of Hispanic women in managerial and professional positions and how those experiences influence their career possibilities. Data from individual interviews of first-, second- and third-generation Hispanic women in the USA are used to illustrate a framework of career possibilities that reflects both cultural and personal perspectives. Implications for further study are addressed.
KEY WORDS: Careers; Women; White; Hispanic.

Jayarman, S., & Ness, I. (2005). The new urban immigrant work force: Innovation for labour organizing. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe.


In this edited volume, the authors and collaborators investigate the working lives of immigrants employed in New York City's low-wage service sector and the challenges they pose for unions. A major theme of the book is the importance of empowerment. Regardless of their origin, occupation, gender, or racial identity, various contributions emphasize that workers must be at the forefront of struggles to improve their working conditions. This finding suggests that external advocacy groups, including unions, should look to involve these workers in defining issues and strategizing.
KEY WORDS: Immigrants; Urban Population; Immigrants; Labour Force; Work Organization.

Kadkhoda, A. (2002). Assisting foreign trained immigrant professionals. In G. R. Walz, R. L. Knowdell & C. Kirkman (Eds.), Thriving in challenging and uncertain times (pp. 105-110). Greensboro, NC: ERIC/CASS Press.


Too often career counselors hear of, or work with, unemployed or underemployed foreign trained immigrant professionals. With the globalization of economy and shortages in skilled labor in Canada, the number of immigrant professionals is on the rise. It is becoming clear that services and programs are necessary to assist such individuals to ensure their contribution to the economy and smooth transition into a new country. However, the traditional job search and career development programs do not necessarily address the concerns and challenges that this group faces. This chapter identifies some of these challenges and proposes new programs and initiatives that may better address some of these concerns.

KEY WORDS: Career Counseling; Counseling Techniques; Employment Services; Immigrants; Job Search Methods; Professional Occupations; Underemployment; Unemployment.

Krahn, H., Derwing, T., & Wilkinson, L. (2000). Educated and underemployed: Refugee integration into the Canadian labour market. International Journal of Migration Review, 1(1), 59-84.


This study explores issues of access to high-status occupations in the Canadian labor market, with particular emphasis on refugees who were in professional or managerial positions prior to their arrival in Canada. The study is based on interviews with a sample of 525 adult refugees who were initially resettled in the province of Alberta between 1992 & 1997. About two thirds of the respondents came from the former Yugoslavia, the remainder from countries in the Middle East, Central America, Africa, & Southeast Asia. Despite the generally high educational attainment of these refuges, the results show that they experience much higher rates of unemployment, part-time employment, & temporary employment than do Canadian-born individuals. A variety of structural factors operating in a segmented Canadian labor market help to explain the downward mobility of these highly qualified refugees. The policy implications of these results are examined in detail.
KEY WORDS: Canada; Alberta; Labor Market; Refugees; Underemployment; Employment Opportunities; Occupational Mobility; Labor Market Segmentation.

Leventhal, T., Xue, Y., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2006). Immigrant differences in school-age children's verbal trajectories: A look at four racial/ethnic groups. Child Development, 77(5), 1359-1374.


This study explored inter- and intraindividual immigrant group differences in children's English verbal ability over ages 6-16 in 4 racial/ethnic groups--White Americans, Black Americans, Mexican Americans, and Puerto Ricans (N=2,136). Although all children's mean verbal scores increased with age, immigrant children (except for Black Americans) had lower scores than respective nonimmigrant children. In contrast, immigrant children (except for Mexican Americans) had more persistent verbal growth into adolescence than respective nonimmigrant children. Family resources moderately accounted for immigrant differences in children's mean verbal scores only. The findings support different theoretical models for understanding inter- and intraindividual immigrant differences in achievement. Mexican-American immigrants and Black American nonimmigrants were struggling and merit policy attention.
KEY WORDS: Immigrants; Verbal Ability; English (Second Language); Mexican Americans; African Americans; Puerto Ricans; Scores; Whites; Children; Academic Achievement; Models; Racial Differences; Ethnic Groups; Second Language Learning.

Lockyer, J., Hofmeister, M., Crutche, R., Klein, D., & Fidler, H. (2007). International medical graduates: Learning for practice in Alberta, Canada. Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions, 27(3), 157-163.


Regarding physicians who graduate from a World Health Organization-listed medical school outside Canada and who migrate to Canada to practice, this article explores do their prior learning and the resources they access in adapting to practice in Alberta, a province of Canada. The physicians described two types of learning: learning associated with studying for Canadian examinations required to remain and practice in the province and learning that was required to succeed at clinical work in a new setting. This second type of learning included regulations and systems, patient expectations, new disease profiles, new medications, new diagnostic procedures, and managing the referral process. The physicians "settled" into their new setting with the help of colleagues; the Internet, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and computers; reading; and continuing medical education programs. Patients both stimulated learning and were a resource for learning.
KEY WORDS: Immigrants and Work; International Medical Graduate; Physician Learning; Continuing Medical Education; Canada; Continuing Professional Development; Physician Migration.

McBrien, J. L. (2005). Educational needs and barriers for refugee students in the United States: A review of the literature. Review of Educational Research, 75(3), 329-364.


Since 1975, the United States has resettled more than 2 million refugees, with approximately half arriving as children. Refugee children have traumatic experiences that can hinder their learning. The United Nations has specified in conventions, and researchers have concurred, that education is essential for refugee children's psychosocial adjustment. However, government officials, public opinion, and researchers have often differed about what is best for refugees' healthy acculturation. On the basis of a large-scale longitudinal study of the children of immigrants and refugees, Portes and Zhou (1993) suggested the theory of segmented assimilation, which accounts for diverse entry situations and receptions of immigrant and refugee populations. This review uses their theory to consider the needs and obstacles to education for refugees, and interventions for success.
KEY WORDS: Refugees; Students; Literature Reviews; Educational Needs; Acculturation; Well Being; Second Language Learning; Parent Influence; Rejection (Psychology); Stereotypes; Bias; Social Discrimination; Muslims; Student Experience; United States.

McEachron, G., & Bhatti, G. (2005). Language support for immigrant children: A study of state schools in the UK and US. Language, Culture and Curriculum, 18(2), 164-180.


In recent decades, immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers have sought a new way of life in large numbers, often leaving their countries of origin behind in search of places that offer a better way of life. The purpose of this study was to investigate how elementary and middle school students in state schools in Reading, England (primarily speakers of Asian languages), and Richmond, Virginia (primarily speakers of Spanish), were supported academically, when most children's first language was not English. The authors were interested in exploring whether or not there were cultural or structural differences in the way each country helped or hindered these students as they progressed through the school systems. Three UK schools in a district of approximately 100,000 and three US schools in a district of approximately 250,000 were the focus of this exploration from 2000 to 2003. Findings indicated that there were cultural and legislative differences and similarities. Teachers and administrators in both countries attempted to provide services with limited and sometimes diminishing resources. Community support varied based on resources, attitudes toward various ethnic groups, and the coping strategies adopted by these groups in their new environments. Marked differences appeared with regard to the manner in which assessments took place and how the results were made available to the public.

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