2nd language learning

The last of the Minerva Lecture Series, sponsored by the Canadian Council on Learning, was delivered to a New Brunswick audience last week by Dr. Esther Geva, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) and language and literacy researcher. Second language learning is a current topic in NB. The Telegraph Journal:

“According to recent census figures, New Brunswick is currently attracting relatively few immigrants, making retention a key issue with the impending boom. Encouragement to stay can come from the grass roots, by providing adequate education opportunities for immigrant children whose first language is not English, allowing them to succeed on their own here”.

Geva emphasized an important aspect of second language learning: “Learning to read in multiple languages does not hinder achievement, but rather enhances one’s ability to learn”.

For more on the importance of language and literacy for immigrant children, see mylanguage.ca.

CCICY monthly newsletter seeks ‘soap-box’ submissions

The Canadian Coalition for Immigrant Children and Youth (CCICY) puts out a monthly newsletter. The newsletter now has a regular ‘soap-box’ feature. Members of the CCICY are invited to submit opinion pieces on topics related to immigrant children and youth. Submissions should be 300 words or less and may address policy, legislation, programming, services, issues and trends or local or regional news.

Submission may be edited for length and content and are subject to approval of the newsletter editor and Co-Chair of the CCICY. Deadlines are the first Friday of every month. Contact the newsletter editor for more information at: ccicybulletin@gmail.com.

OECD Thematic review of migrant education – an update

As posted Jan 22 on this blog, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development – the OECD – is undertaking a thematic review of migrant education.

The question being asked is ‘What policies will promote successful education outcomes for first and second generation migrants’? 

The objectives and outputs are based on criteria for the assessment of the successful integration into the education system, including pre-school education, which is threefold:

1. Access: Do immigrant students/children have the same opportunities to access quality education as their native-born peers?

2. Participation: Do immigrant students/children participate (enrol and complete) as much as their native-born peers?

3. Learning outcomes: Do immigrant students/children perform as well as their native-born peers?

An interesting project. Here’s the site.

The Canadian Coalition for Immigrant Children and Youth: The Ottawa meeting & report

Early Childhood Working Group members will recall that a meeting was held in Ottawa at the end of November to do some visioning and priority setting for the Canadian Coalition for Immigrant Children and Youth (CCICY). The meeting was facilitated by Joan Riggs, Catalyst Research and Communications.

The report on that meeting, written by Riggs, is posted here: ccicyreportnov28.htm.

Launch of the OECD thematic review of migrant education

Migration is a key policy area of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Speech of Deputy Secretary-General Aart de Geus at the launch of the OECD Thematic Review on Migrant Education, Jan 21-22, 2008:

“The education of migrants is challenging and complex, not least because each migrant group has its own distinctive history. And so does each country, where often, different layers are built up.

Migration is one of the Organisation’s central priorities. Indeed it is a topic that comes up regularly at Ministerial Council and other high level meetings and will continue to do so. So you can help us — your work over the next year or so will help policymakers across the OECD understand better how to tackle migration challenges effectively – through education. The patterns of migration differ from country to country and can change over time – perhaps reflecting shifts in policy or maybe other factors. However, one thing is clear. No matter which scenario we take, international migration is here to stay”.

Country Notes and Background Reports will be available soon on the OECD Migrant Education website.

10th Metropolis: Sessions on immigrant children & families

The 10th annual Metropolis conference will be held in Halifax, Nova Scotia from April 3-6, 2008. The theme is ‘Expanding the debate: Multiple perspectives on immigration to Canada‘. Several events focus on children and families (descriptions from the conference website), including:

Workshops at the Conference

School-family relations arising from immigration: A Critical perspective. This workshop brings to light, in a comparative manner, recent efforts regarding migrants and the school environment, identifying strategies to avoid difficult interaction and highlight available tools to improve intercultural interaction. Annick Lenoir, Université de Sherbrooke, QC.

Defining the issue of missing child migrants. This workshop will examine the issue of unaccompanied migrant children who go missing after being released into the care of relatives, what can or should be done to assay how large an issue it really is. It will also explore the academic and policy dimensions that need to be addressed. Steven L. Morris, Metropolis Project Secretariat at Citizenship and Immigration Canada and Dr. Madine VanderPlaat, Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, NS.

Health and wellbeing among newcomer families, children and youth. Data from the national longitudinal New Canadian Children and Youth Study is discussed in relation to identity, health, discrimination, and education of newcomer youth. Findings are presented by project researchers and a response panel comprised of policy makers and community representatives. Lori A. Wilkinson, University of Manitoba, MB.

Roundtables at the Conference

Various stakeholders: Creating potential alliances to serve immigrant families. Goal: Talk about the issues of knowledge exchange among various stakeholders which tends to be shared within, not among, each stakeholder group. Susan Chuang, University of Guelph, ON.

Poster Presentations at the Conference

Art therapy: Meeting the mental health needs of immigrant and refugee families. Immigrant and refugee families underutilize mental health services due to multiple barriers that inhibit accessibility to conventional services. Integrating art therapy in a naturalized setting, such as the child’s school or home, may reduce the constraints of providing services to this population. Presenters: Lucy Lu and Karin Derouaux, Concordia University, Montréal, QC.

Poverty, social support and the health of children born to minority migrants. We examined differences in health status between 17-month-old children of minority migrant mothers and children of Canadian and majority migrant mothers. When facing poverty and lack of social support, the health advantage of children born to minority migrant mothers is lost. Presenter: Andrea Van Hulst, Université de Montréal, QC.

Don’t forget me: Immigrant Chinese fathers of today. Since the 1970’s, there is substantial evidence that fathers are important which has beneficial effects on their children’s development. However, our understanding of Asian fathering remains limited. The poster will present a multi-informant, multi-methodological study addressing these concerns. Presenter: Susan Chuang, University of Guelph, ON.

For more information, see the Metropolis conference website: http://www.metropolis2008.net/english.html

Census 2006 & immigration stats

Statistics Canada has released several data sets of interest. The news yesterday focussed on the increase of immigrants and the type of immigrants Canada is receiving. It’s important to flag the issues that immigrant parents and children are experiencing. An op-ed, anyone?

See the Statistics Canada website for:

Immigration and citizenship highlight tables

Language highlight tables

2006 community profiles.

Customized views of data sets are available and, for our purposes, allow us to look at the numbers of immigrant children coming into Canada. Age breakdowns: 0-4 yrs, 5-9.

Also of interest is mother tongue and language spoken most often at home.

Call for papers: ECE & immigrant children

Early Childhood Research Quarterly – Special Issue: Call for Papers

Early Childhood Education and Immigrant Children: Promises, Perils, Cultures, and the Transition to School

Early Childhood Research Quarterly is planning to publish a special issue dedicated to the diversity of early childhood environments for young immigrant children, and implications for successful development and school transitions. …Most of the current research … has been conducted with older children and adolescents, leaving our knowledge of the development of young immigrant children (age 0-8) sorely lacking.

The deadline for manuscript submission is April 1, 2008, with a projected deadline for receipt of final revised drafts of papers accepted by October 1, 2008. Questions should be directed to Micere Keels micere@uchicago.edu.