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Immigration and secondary mainstream academic communication and instruction : The expressed concerns of Richmond School District Hebb, Lisa Marguerite


The purpose of this study was to determine the expressed immigrant student academic communication and instruction concerns of Richmond School District (RSD) secondary mainstream educators. A participant-observation (Bruyn, 1966; Denzin, 1970, 1978) research design, including a secondary mainstream educator Likert-type Scale survey (N=36), 13 secondary mainstream educators standardized open-ended interviews, and 20 secondary English as a Second Language (ESL) and 40 secondary mainstream content area one hour classroom observations, was used. The findings of this study can be summarized as follows: 1. Although RSD secondary mainstream educators are aware of the number of immigrant students in their classrooms, their knowledge of the educational and cultural backgrounds of these students is limited. 2. Differences exist between the academic communication and instruction needs of immigrant and mainstream students. 3. Immigrant student language-related difficulties are affecting secondary mainstream communication and instruction in the RSD. 4 . The cultural backgrounds of immigrant students are an issue in the secondary mainstream classroom. 5. Eighty-three percent of the RSD secondary mainstream educators surveyed reported making instructional methods adjustments in their teaching to accommodate the immigrant students in their classrooms. 6. Although two-thirds of the survey sample group felt their current teaching practices were adequate to accommodate all learners, two-thirds also felt they had to make additional instructional methods adjustments to accommodate the immigrant students in their classrooms. 7. Although the presence of immigrant students in the classroom does not make RSD secondary mainstream educators uncomfortable, two-thirds are experiencing academic communication and instruction difficulties with immigrant students because they are unaccustomed to dealing with immigrant students in their classrooms. 8. The three major immigration and academic communication and instruction concerns expressed by the RSD secondary mainstream educators were: (a) immigrant students are being integrated into the secondary mainstream classroom before their English language level is equal to content demands, (b) a lack of communication, or coordination of efforts, or both, between ESL and mainstream teachers, and (c) a district-wide need to acknowledge and respond to the changes immigration is making in the RSD.

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