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Qualitative research of the students, their parents and teachers from the 2 nd level primary education in Prague regarding the question of the multicultural.

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Presentation on theme: "Qualitative research of the students, their parents and teachers from the 2 nd level primary education in Prague regarding the question of the multicultural."— Presentation transcript:

1 Qualitative research of the students, their parents and teachers from the 2 nd level primary education in Prague regarding the question of the multicultural assistant

2 Basic information The research was carried out within the project Multicultural Consultant – Educational Liaison Officer to support Children and Young People from ethnic minorities and immigrant communities in statutory education and non- statutory VET, Lifelong Learning Programme, Leonardo da Vinci The research was coordinated by Selma Muhič Dizdarevič, Ph.D. with the team of the students of the Faculty of Humanities: Martin Kolafa, Diana Quirschfeld, Krystina Svatá The research was carried out from May-October 2012 and included 20 students, 8 parents and 5 teachers.

3 Research goals The main goal of the research was to include the perspectives of the three groups of the respondents regarding the role of the multicultural consultant and the education process in more general terms. The second goal was to include the parents as respondent since, according to our view, they´re not “researched“ enough.

4 Methodology The research is a qualitative research, which means its goal is to provide deep understanding of individual experience, possibility to convey unique experience. On the other hand it means low output in terms of how representative it is. The respondents were selected if they were third country nationals, both children/students and parents, at the second level of primary education (i.e. children age 11-15). The teachers were from a Prague primary school, while students and parents were from different schools.

5 Methodology The research methods included semi- structured interviews, recording them on audio device and transcripts of interviews. The research was anonymous.

6 The research results: the teachers The structure of the questionnaire for the teachers: about the respondent, how they obtain information, about heterogeneous class, language and social/language barriers, lack of information, social networks, regulations, teacher assistants, plans which help migrant children gradually reach the level of their Czech speaking classmates, acceptance of migrant children at school, the teaching process, grading, the overall school atmosphere. There were 5 teacher/respondents of a primary school. Each one of them has a class with 5-7 migrant children. The respondents included: - a Czech language teacher - a history teacher - a class master - a school headmaster/geography teacher - an assistant for socially disadvantaged children/Czech for foreigners teacher

7 Obtaining information Although opinions of the teachers differed somewhat, the basic idea was they complained of the lack of the available material. “There is a huge lack of the appropriate teaching material in this matter.” That`s also the main reason for the teachers to prepare the materials and guidelines on their own using mainly: - Internet pages - materials from abroad - via cooperation with universities and Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. - and via courses and training.

8 The language barrier The school provides a few mechanisms to cope with the language barrier such as summer pre-school term courses or individual courses of Czech with a teacher specialized in work with migrant children. Although the number of migrant children is perceived as high, such language courses take place once or twice a week, which is not sufficient. Individual teachers adapt the school material according to language capacities of a migrant student so such a students “learns as s/he goes”. The success is perceived by the respondents also to the will and capabilities of the child itself. “In any case it would be highly recommended that the children start attending school with at least minimum of the knowledge of Czech.”

9 Social and cultural barriers Almost all respondents hold a similar opinion: although majority of the respondents doesn`t deny the barriers exist, they don`t see them as a problem but “rather as a natural situation, whose impact we should reduce. We try to reduce them by not stressing the differences.” The tendency not to stress differences is something the teachers see among students, too. “The children are different, but they don’t try to attract attention to them, they somehow solve in peacefully.” Just one respondent claimed that “children are cruel to one another. Some children don`t like when their nationality is stressed.” But the respondent added that such problem are likely to happen more often among younger children.

10 Teaching and grading According to the respondent the children with migrant background are not graded during the first term, the grading starts in the second term, while taking into account children`s abilities and individual situation. The most important change in their work occurred when the new regulation on socially disadvantaged persons was issued, which unlike the previous one, including language barrier into social disadvantages. After that it was possible to employ a teacher at their school who teaches Czech to migrant children. Currently the school works on preparation of individual learning programs and our respondents welcome it.

11 Multicultural assistant – teachers` opinions Teachers` opinions about the position of the consultant differed but were mostly negative. Except for one respondent, the rest couldn`t imagine what his/her job description would be. According to teachers the children are “civilized people and they are absolutely capable of adapting to local conditions, which are not that different from where they come from anyway.” They also claim that children quickly understand how the school works, by themselves. Further problems regarding the MA according to teachers lie in variety of languages spoken by migrant students and irregularity of their enrollment at the school. The headmaster also added that by employing a multicultural assistant “we would give money to someone else for the work we can do ourselves.” Only respondent had positive view on the MA. In this case the respondent thought the work of the MA would make sense mainly in case of children from non-Slavic countries.

12 Recommendations Intensive one year Czech language course. The biggest problem however is that children are legally obliged to attend all classes regardless if they understand the language. Increase number of the Czech language teacher and/or assistants for socially disadvantaged children of migrant background. This may however bring financial and grant policy problems. Specialized material of the kind would help not only students but also teachers to start teaching new pupils. Diagnostics, meaning assessment of if lack of knowledge in case of a particular student is due to his/her language or s/he simply doesn`t have the necessary knowledge. Interpreter, not only as a school employee since s/he would not be necessary all the time and because of variety of languages but rather as a municipality employee.

13 Questionnaire for the students Length of the residency in the Czech Republic (CZ). How do you like CZ compared to your country of origin Status and profession of parents, the school in the country of origin Status and situation in the class Language barrier, level of understanding during lectures Interpreter, patron Need and availability of the teaching material in the maternal language Assistant, need for an assistant, additional classes, after-school activities, parents and school The household situation (e.g. one`s own room, etc.) Classmates as friends also after school Are requirements expected from you different than requirements for other students What would you change at school if you could

14 Students` view: an assistant, yes or no? None of the respondents actually had an assistant to help them with learning. However the respondents` views on if they would like to have and if they need an assistant differ: 6 out of 18 said they would welcome help from an assistant; on the contrary 8 of them would not want an assistant and 2 of them learnt Czech before attending school. One respondent said he was against an assistant in the class because it would be embarrassing for him and bad for his class reputation. The respondents hold different views on the assistant position.

15 Suggestions improvement of inclusion Two students said that during first months at school the teacher helped them a lot with learning Czech. Therefore, the teachers partially played the role of the assistant. However, this was during the first level primary education (age 6-10) when typically teachers have more time for the students, it`s not clear if that would possible during the second level. The other way to help migrant children is by organizing Czech for foreigners courses to overcome the language barrier. This indeed is available at the school where the research was carried out. The migrant students attend special Czech for Foreigners classes taught by specially trained teacher. However, the question remains how efficient such lectures are since one respondent has attended such class for 3 years and his Czech was still basic.

16 Peer-mentors Migrant children use help when starting to attend the school in Czech of their classmates, who hence plays the role of a mentor. 7 children said they had such a mentor, 4 of them said the mentor was also a migrant child. It`s ideal when the mentor speaks the same or similar language as the student s/he helps and speak also Czech well so s/he can help his/her classmate with translation and learning process in general. However, during research we also encountered cases when the mentor was from a different country and spoke different language and regardless of that was able to provide support for his/her classmate.

17 Peer-mentors For example a girl from China helped her classmate from Vietnam, they were also best friends. It seems that a simple fact that the mentor and the mentored both went through the same problems specific for migrant students in the Czech schools plays a significant role. The common experience makes the bond stronger. The mentor can become one spontaneously and voluntarily but s/he can also be appointed by the teacher. During research some respondents said directly their mentor was appointed by the teacher.

18 Peer-mentors. For example a respondent from Vietnam was a mentor to his classmate also from Vietnam, because the teacher demanded so. His task was to translate for her from Czech to Vietnamese what teachers said. Other than that he didn`t communicate much with her and expressed negative attitude toward his role as a mentor. He said he felt uncomfortable in the role. The school should try to place a new student of migrant background into the class where there are other, more experienced students who speak the same or similar language and who could help at the beginning of the Czech school attendance. The school should not however impose the role of a mentor but rather try to strengthen the relation in a more natural way.

19 Other results A few respondents said that teaching program in their country of origin was much more demanding than the Czech one; often what they learn at school in the country of origin was material studied at the Czech school at later age of the student. Because of that sometimes they learn at the Czech school something they already know, specially when it concerns math and similar subject not depending on the culture. This gives opportunity to create a special schedule for migrant children – if they know more from e.g. math than required they should be scheduled to go to the Czech language instead of math class. This would help them adapt to new environment. Students` knowledge should be assessed during his admittance to school in order to show the degree of knowledge independent of the knowledge of language.

20 Other results Children who speak non-Slavic languages should be given more and individualized attention specially during first weeks and months at the Czech school. For them a personal assistant ideally speaking their language or some other form of individual help could be very significant and helpful. Based on the interviews conducted however we recommend to approach each student as individually as possible since each child has special gifts and needs; a child speaking a Slavic language may also need special and individual help at the beginning.

21 Other results Zde je tedy vidět rezerva, kterou by bylo vhodné zaplnit. 15 interviewed students said that during first months at the Czech school they attended no private Czech lessons. Most students said their parents were worse in Czech than them. Therefore, it`s not possible to rely on parents to teach their children Czech.

22 Other results Most children learnt Czech on their own. Almost all of them used services offered by their community and not by an NGO. Almost all of them have Czech friend in and out of class. Almost all of them said that teachers helped them – the teachers` effort to include children into class is visible.

23 The country or origin and the time spent in the Czech Republic (CZ) - parent-respondents view Uzbekistan, 6.5 years in CZ, his children and wife 8 months Ukraine, 6 years in CZ, the son in the 5 th grade (10 years old) Sri Lanka, 3 years in CZ, in the UK before that, his wife is Czech Afghanistan, 8 years in CZ, the eldest daughter went to 1 st grade after their arrival Kazakhstan, 14 years in CZ, the daughter was born in CZ Chechnya, 10 years in CZ, the older daughter attended the first grade after the arrival Mongolia, 20 years in CZ, both sons born in CZ Moldova, 8 years in CZ, the daughter is 6, attended 2 nd grade upon arrival

24 Migration reasons and the Czech language In majority of cases the respondents came to CZ because of work and better conditions for their children and children`s education. Such respondents don`t think of going back to their country of origin. The respondents who came because of political reasons are not sure if they will stay in CZ for good, some think of going back or don`t know. The interviewed parents learnt Czech mostly on their own, but they tried to secure lessons for their children. Such lessons were mostly private (i.e. not within school or an NGO programme), found via private contacts they obtained after immigration (typically they would learn about the Czech lessons via the teachers or via other children who already took them). The free courses offered by some NGOs were attended by a single child of a single respondent.

25 Discrimination “It happens but not very often” (a respondent from Ukraine) is the most often held opinion by majority of the respondents. Together with learning Czech most of the respondents feel integrated although remaining migrants, too. “Since we live here for quite a long time, a person becomes part of it all, but she also learns to avoid places where one can meet such people. Different demonstrations, when they celebrate, I rather don`t go out at all because I know there are many neo- Nazis gathering. Or for example I don`t to the cheapest pubs, to places where I know people can get nasty after getting drunk.” ( a respondent from Mongolia)

26 The biggest problems upon arrival The language Different laws Obtaining documents

27 Education of their child According to the respondents the Czech schools are less demanding that the schools at the country of origin. Despite that children usually repeat the class they already attended in the country of origin and are being graded at the end of the school year. The main reason for repeating the whole year is Czech.

28 Problems coming from lack of Czech language knowledge The children don`t understand what`s going on at school and what`s being taught. The children have difficult times being accepted at class, lack of the language knowledge can lead even to bullying. “When at the beginning my son spoke no Czech, I would say there was some bullying going on there, then he started speaking better, at the end of the year it was much better.” ( a respondent from Ukraine). He`s happy now according to the respondent. “Sometimes it was stressful, of course, she was a foreigner after all…they were getting at her all the time…but since she was such a good and hard working student, she wanted to prove them, she`d say to me… sometimes she would come crying, I asked her what happened, she said, I want to be the best in Czech…I want to show them I`m not a foreign kid to them.” (a respondent from Moldova)

29 Problems coming from lack of Czech language knowledge Lack of information – parents attend parental meeting but they don`t understand what`s going on, hence they don`t know if the child should do some homework, e.g. they don`t know what excursion the school organizes, sometimes they don`t know the age of compulsory school attendance. “I had no idea about how things work here. The courses and stuff. Not at all. Because of information. Who would want to explain that to me. They have course, they go swimming, now I know everything. The youngest son is all right, he has everything he needs. He attends school picnics, he`s got his snack, everything - but at the time we didn`t understand. My children would not go to a school picnic because we didn`t understand. Nobody explained it to us. Once there was a state holiday, it was cold in the morning I drove my daughter to the kindergarten but had to go back since it was closed.” ( a respondent from Afghanistan)

30 Problems coming from lack of Czech language knowledge “We just didn`t know. We just went to school and…in fact…it was like this, a neighbor from Russia who we got to know by chance in a shop, she had a boy of the same age, I asked about him and she said he goes to school…We were simply chatting when she said, why don`t you try it, too, let her go to school. And that`s the reason, it happened this way.” (a respondent from Chechnya) “It depends a lot on parents, on their approach, but the main problem is the language. If a migrant knows it well. He`ll stay a migrant forever, he can be identified by his/her looks but s/he get information s/he needs.” (a respondent from Mongolia) All parents attended parental meeting even if they didn`t understand the language.

31 Who helped with school Family – the older sibling if s/he already spoke Czech Czech friends at school The teacher – if he spoke the same language as students and our respondents said it was the case, than the teacher does what at other school is a job of an assistant/consultant. However, such teacher`s activities are not part of his/her job description.

32 Who helped with school “It was the teacher, I`m sure about that.” (the teacher organized private Czech lessons after school for migrant children, the respondent is sure it was the teacher who enabled her child to be accepted at class.” ( a respondent from Chechnya) “I`m so grateful to that teacher and some children…the teacher was always telling other children, you have to help her. In half a year she spoke Czech perfectly…the teacher always gave me hope and told me it was going to be all right…she bought books for my daughter, even those not read at school…for her to learn Czech better…” ( a respondent from Moldova)


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