ERIC Number: ED439625
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1999-Dec
Mental Health and the Adult Refugee: The Role of the ESL Teacher. ERIC Digest.
Adkins, Myrna Ann; Sample, Barbara; Birman, Dina
English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) teachers are often among the first people available to help refugees and other immigrants cope with a new cultural and linguistic environment. Although the identified role of the teacher is to teach English language skills, the teacher's role as cultural broker is also important. This digest focuses on how teachers can help adult refugee and immigrant learners make significant progress in adjusting to a new life in an unfamiliar culture. It discusses the qualities of mental health, stresses faced by refugees, and three things that teachers can do to help their students adjust. Mental health includes two components: a psychological component involving the ability to cope adequately with life's difficulties and demands; and a behavioral component, involving the capacity to accomplish basic life functions such as eating, sleeping, and performing in the occupational area. Because of cultural differences, American teachers of refugee adults must be very careful in passing judgment on behaviors they may not fully understand. Stress due to resettlement is another factor often confronted by ESL teachers. Refugees most often experience stress related to the migration and travel/relocation itself, acculturation, and very often great personal traumas that may have prompted migration to the United States. ESL teachers can do three things to help adult refugees: (1) learn to recognize symptoms of mental illness, or abrupt behavioral changes that disrupt the class; (2) discuss health and cultural content relevant to learners; and (3) help refugees get assistance from other skilled professionals when needed. (Adjunct ERIC Clearinghouse for ESL Literacy Education) (KFT)
Descriptors: Acculturation, Adult Education, Cultural Differences, Culturally Relevant Education, English (Second Language), Immigrants, Land Settlement, Language Teachers, Limited English Speaking, Mental Health, Refugees, Second Language Instruction, Second Language Learning, Teacher Role
NCLE, 4646 40th Street N.W., Washington, DC 20016-1859. Tel: 202-362-0070. For full text: http://www.cal.org/ncle/DIGESTS/mental.htm.
Publication Type: ERIC Publications; ERIC Digests in Full Text
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Vocational and Adult Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: National Clearinghouse for ESL Literacy Education, Washington, DC.