• Insights Into the Remembered Educational Experiences of Male Caribbean Immigrants to Canada: Literacy and Identity in the Canadian Classroom

      Medford-Williams, Cynthia; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education (Brock University, 2013-09-05)
      Abstract Past research has addressed the issue of male underachievement in literacy as an issue of global concern. This qualitative study focused on one subgroup of males which the literature highlighted as most at risk of educational underachievement in the Canadian educational landscape: male Caribbean immigrants to Canada. The research questions that framed the study sought to gain insight into the educational experiences of this group of learners so that ways through which their literacy achievement as measured by academic performance and classroom engagement could be projected. New literacy studies view literacy as socioculturally bound in social, institutional, and cultural relationships (Gee 1996). Literacy can therefore be thought of as an extension of self that Lankshear and Knobel (2006) assert is always connected to social identities. Central to the research questions as a result of this perspective was the discovery of the ideologies of reading held by the participants and their connections to literacy practice. Supplementary questions delved into socially valued literacy practices and ways in which learners saw themselves as Black males reflected in the Canadian educational framework. In this qualitative study with an interview design, data were collected through individual semistructured interviews with the 4 participants and through a focus group session with all the participants. The findings depicted that identity, interests, and ideologies of reading all influenced the literacy practices and engagement of Caribbean males. The findings documented are valuable as they provide a fresh perspective surrounding the educational experiences of the male Caribbean learner and can present insights which can lead to enhanced academic engagement and improved student achievement for this group of learners.
    • Reading Instruction and Instructors’ Perceptions of Learners’ Needs in LINC Level 1-3 Classes

      Henrie, Kimberley A; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education (Brock University, 2012-05-03)
      This study investigates instructors’ perceptions of reading instruction and difficulties among Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) Level 1-3 learners. Statistics Canada reports that 60% of immigrants possess inadequate literacy skills. Newcomers are placed in classes using the Canadian Language Benchmarks but large, mixed-level classes create little opportunity for individualized instruction, leading some clients to demonstrate little change in their reading benchmarks. Data were collected (via demographic questionnaires, semi-structured interviews, teaching plans, and field study notes) to create a case study of five LINC instructors’ perceptions of why some clients do not progress through the LINC reading levels as expected and how their previous experiences relate to those within the LINC program. Qualitative analyses of the data revealed three primary themes: client/instructor background and classroom needs, reading, strategies, methods and challenges, and assessment expectations and progress, each containing a number of subthemes. A comparison between the themes and literature demonstrated six areas for discussion: (a) some clients, specifically refugees, require more time to progress to higher benchmarks; (b) clients’ level of prior education can be indicative of their literacy skills; (c) clients with literacy needs should be separated and placed into literacy-specific classes; (d) evidence-based approaches to reading instruction were not always evident in participants’ responses, demonstrating a lack of knowledge about these approaches; (e) first language literacy influences second language reading acquisition through a transfer of skills; and (f) collaboration in the classroom supports learning by extending clients’ capabilities. These points form the basis of recommendations about how reading instruction might be improved for such clients.