In this section we propose a critical review of 9 recent articles published internationally. By reading the reviews, you can see how we evaluate researchers’ assertions, use of concepts and analyses, using the elements of the tool. These articles will give you extra insights into working with newcomer students. We also recommend looking into the recent scientific literature on newcomer students as often as possible. You don’t need to read the entire articles but acquaint yourselves with e.g. the research results (to compare to your own experiences) and the discussions about concepts and notions (to support in finding a ‘proper’ language to speak about the issues you might face). The following themes are covered: Citizenship, Differentiation, Linguistic issues, and pedagogical issues.
Lithman, Y., 2010. ‘The holistic ambition: Social cohesion and the culturalization of citizenship’. Ethnicities, 10(4), pp.488-502.
- CONTENT: The paper highlights 4 main areas in terms of how discourses on ‘migrants are framed’; ‘The failure of integration’, ‘discourses of fervour’, ‘migrants are seen as Others representing a fundamentally different other’, and, migrant economic ‘data’ rarely focuses on individuals, rather, migrant economic data focuses on ‘structures’ and/or ‘systems’ (pp. 490). Lithman discusses how the ‘prominence of the national expresses the holistic ambition’ - (social cohesion-citizenship-migrant integration) (pp. 491).
- PROBLEMS: The paper is quite limited in term of its discussion on the Other and how othering is produced through ‘the holistic ambition’. Yet Lithman criticises the policies of ‘The holistic ambition’ as this has led to definitions of what it means to be ‘culturally other’ and/or ‘culturally separate’ (pp. 496).
- Problems with the concept of ‘citizenship’ - for whom? With whom? By whom?
- EVALUATION: Overall, this paper is quite limited in its discussion. The paper hints at possible non-essentializing logics and practices without interrogating deeper meanings associated with ‘cultures’ and ‘identities’, notwithstanding, practices that aim to facilitate deeper understanding and dialogues with the Other.
Seals, C.A. and Peyton, J.K., 2016. ‘Heritage language education: valuing the languages, literacies, and cultural competencies of immigrant youth’. Current Issues in Language Planning, pp.1-15.
- CONTENT: The article argues for the value of heritage language programmes and the importance of recognizing students’ heritage language(s), culture(s) and identities in ‘mainstream’ school programmes. The article uses Oregon in the USA as its case study example of heritage language programmes in ‘mainstream’ schools.
- The paper discusses language provisions in K-12 education highlighting when programmes are supported and when they are not supported.
- The ‘micro-level’ program enacted by Carlin Springs Elementary (pseudonym) contained 4 elements; ‘funding from state grants to provide meals for families in poverty, counseling for families provided by counselors in the school, increased education and counseling, offerings for special education students, and the Home Language Program’ (pp. 5).
- The language program is a ‘multi-part system’ consisting of a language survey given to all non-English native speakers.
- The language survey is available in English, Russian, and, Spanish.
- ‘The goal of the program was to help the students maintain their language proficiency and become fluent bilinguals through opportunities to work with adult native speakers of their languages’(pp. 6).
- The paper offers an insight into some of the logistical and practical arrangements of how to include heritage language programs into schools. The paper also discusses some of the difficulties and challenges faced when trying to implement heritage language programs in schools.
- EVALUATION: Overall, the paper does not discuss or critically reflect upon the effects of the program - indeed, it does mention an increase in student test scores and students feeling like ‘superheroes’ but what does that actually mean? Are standardized test scores indicators of anything? The paper also fails to address the reflections of the participants in terms of how they felt about ‘their identities’, instead, the paper focuses on ‘learner self-confidence’ (pp. 10).
Kim, J.I., 2015. ‘Issues of motivation and identity positioning: two teachers’ motivational practices for engaging immigrant children in learning heritage languages’. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, pp.1-14.
- CONTENT: Kim highlights the ‘autonomy’ of teachers and students is often ‘labeled’ without being fully problematised - indeed a number of questions remain, what types of autonomy are being discussed? What does it mean to be autonomous?
- The article hints at a key competency for learning heritage languages - teacher self-reflexivity. It is important for teachers to reflect upon the languages they use and the contexts their utterances are situated within.
- EVALUATION: What is self-reflexivity? How does one learn it?
Brown, J., 2015. ‘Learner agency in language planning: A tripartite perspective’. Language Problems & Language Planning, 39(2), pp.171-186.
- CONTENT: Brown discusses the language ecology perspective in language policy and planning (a ‘bottom up’ approach).
- EVALUATION: Brown raises some important issues in how discourses within language programs construct representations of the self and the Other (such as the role of the instructor/mediator).
- The agency of participants is an important aspect which is often overlooked when thinking about (migrant) language courses (within schools) - this is a particularly pertinent issue especially with regard to discourses on ‘integration’.
Liddicoat, A.J. and Taylor-Leech, K., 2014. ‘Micro language planning for multilingual education: Agency in local contexts’. Current Issues in Language Planning, 15(3), pp.237-244.
- CONTENT: Liddicoat and Taylor-Leech problematize the antagonisms and conflicts between macro and micro level language planning for multilingual education.
- Liddicoat and Taylor-Leech give examples of micro language programs that have had sociopolitical relevance (for example Basque schools in France and Spain) and what the authors call political ‘resistance’ (for example, Kurdish language programs in Turkey).
- Liddicoat and Taylor-Leech argue that local action and local actors are needed to facilitate micro language programs - their argument is that local action has ‘the capacity to inform and shape macro-level policy work’ (pp. 243) - perhaps this is a little idealistic.
- EVALUATION: we were not sure if the distinction between micro and macro is useful - we see the merits of ‘micro planning’ but we do not think the labeling and logic are necessary when many of the issues are interconnected and interrelated.
Shan, H., 2015. ‘Distributed pedagogy of difference: Re-imagining immigrant training and education’. Canadian Journal for the Study of Adult Education, 27(3), pp.1-16.
- CONTENT: Shan situates immigrant learning amidst forces of capitalist economic hegemony (David Harvey), power (Michel Foucault), and, control (Gilles Deleuze).
- PROBLEM: Shan often assumes what ‘critical approaches’, ‘critical theorists’ and/or ‘critical theories’ are without problematizing the relevance and meanings behind ‘criticality’.
- EVALUATION: The article is very vague and does not give any practical actions for educators to use or think about.
Sleeter, C.E., 2012. ‘Confronting the marginalization of culturally responsive pedagogy’. Urban Education, 47(3), pp. 562-584.
- CONTENT: Sleeter gives some practical solutions, one of which is cultural modeling, Cultural Modeling “is a framework for the design of curriculum and learning environments that links everyday knowledge with learning academic subject matter, with a particular focus on racial/ethnic minority groups, especially youth of African descent” (pp. 574).
- ‘Most case studies of teachers learning culturally responsive pedagogy explore the impact of specific kinds of preservice and professional development programs, including school–university partnerships, inquiry-based courses, teacher networks, community-based learning and sustained workshops combined with classroom-based coaching’ (pp. 575).
- Sleeter gives the example of Te Kotahitanga as a professional development model focusing on the culturally responsive teaching of Maori students.
- PROBLEMS: ‘Critical pedagogy’ has become another ‘uncritical’ buzzword - so many diluted, (mis/ab)uses.
- EVALUATION: Many of the papers on NAMs in education focus, directly or indirectly, on ‘student academic achievement’ as ‘the ultimate barometer’ (our quotation marks not article). So one has to question how ‘critical’ these articles really are - are they not just (re)producing the same generalizations and assumptions on NAMs? Many of the scholars cite and quote the OECD and/or PISA - the same standardization!
Zhao, Y., 2010. ‘Preparing globally competent teachers: A new imperative for teacher education’. Journal of Teacher Education, 61(5), pp.422-431.
- CONTENT and EVALUATION: This article by Zhao (indirectly) is a worrying reminder of how discourses on ‘global citizenship’ and ‘migration’ have become distorted by the forces of Neo-liberalism. Whereby Teacher competencies are understood and defined side-by-side the guidelines of how OECD PISA define ‘competencies’ and/or ‘success’.
- QUESTIONS: The paper ends with a call to teacher educators - that there should be a shift from local communities to the global community - here we are left with a number of questions; Who defines this global community? What is this global community? What, indeed, is a community? Zhao’s paper seemingly posits a homogeneous ‘global community’ with unitary identities, such essentialist views of an individual’s cultures/identities should be avoided.
Opertti, R. and Brady, J., 2011. ‘Developing inclusive teachers from an inclusive curricular perspective’. Prospects, 41(3), pp.459-472.
- PROBLEMS & EVALUATION: Oppertti and Brady take an ‘idealized’ and ‘romanticized’ view of ‘inclusion’ in teacher education. Their ‘definition’ of what inclusion is (or is not) focuses on ‘holistic’ contextualization of ‘inclusion.’ (UNESCO!!)
- The different forms of inclusion/exclusion are not problematized - who is being ‘included’? Why are ‘they’ being ‘included’?
- Here is an uncritical quote - ‘ Several countries, especially in Northern Europe, are now developing diverse, coherent, and flexible curricular frameworks as tools for inclusion. These countries, such as Finland and Sweden….’ (pp. 462).
- Oppertti and Brady use comparative international assessment tools such as OECD/PISA studies to support their arguments on the ‘competencies of teachers’ (they use Finland as an example) - what do these results actually mean?
- Oppertti and Brady assume that the professional development of teachers should include courses/programs on inclusion (from postgraduate level) - CPD of teachers (‘teaching’) ‘inclusion’ requires a deep and thorough problematization so that othering, marginalization and discrimination are not (re)produced within educational settings. The authors do not tease out the nuances of teacher CPD and ‘inclusion’ courses/programs (including the potential difficulties and challenges).