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ERIC Number: EJ948269
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 23
ISSN: ISSN-1521-0960
Making Meaning of Work: Uncovering the Complexity of Immigrant Experience in a Multicultural Landscape
Abramova, Inna
Multicultural Perspectives, v13 n4 p209-214 2011
Many educators draw the public's attention to the need for diversifying the teaching force. They argue that teachers from diverse cultures offer a variety of perspectives, encourage students to participate in community work, and exhibit cultural awareness and appreciation of differences. One of the ways to diversify the teaching force includes involving more minority students in teacher education programs. Another strategy is to hire immigrant teachers who have teaching qualifications from their countries of origin. Alternative certification programs allow immigrant teachers to obtain certification without completing a campus-based teacher education program. In reality, many immigrants work in schools. Some of them had to overcome obstacles to become teachers and adjust to existing cultural norms; others occupy secondary positions in schools and are viewed as linguistically incompetent due to their accents. Many minority immigrant teachers are marginalized due to their racial differences. At the same time, immigrant teachers are empathetic and caring teachers, exhibit leadership skills and show commitment to students' learning experiences. Discussions of their occupational integration remain scarce, however, and responses from research communities to changes in their social profiles are slow. In this study, the author examines the dynamics of a Russian-speaking, educated professional's integration into a school community. The Russian-speaking population represents a large group of immigrants in the United States. More than half of these immigrants have a college degree or an advanced degree, which makes them the third most educated immigrant group after immigrants from India and Japan. Although a large number of researchers have explored the experiences of racial minority immigrant teachers in the United States, only a few were focused on immigrants from Eastern Europe. This study raises important questions regarding the emotional, pedagogical, linguistic, and cultural needs of immigrant teachers who strive to work to their full potential and struggle for acceptance and recognition in professional communities. Apart from this, the study questions communities' responsibility to acknowledge the needs of immigrant teachers. Societies all over the world are becoming more and more multicultural, and it is imperative that communities of practice become more culturally inclusive. Community members must develop respectful attitudes, nurturing conditions, strong mentoring programs, and caring multicultural curricula for newcomers, which will help them feel that they "belong" and that their efforts are recognized and valued. If openness to diversity, mutual support and collegiality, sharing and collaboration, emotions, and dialogue become the norm, people may admit that multicultural education has achieved its goal.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A