Vocational Training for Adolescent English Language Learners in Newcomer Programs: Opportunities or Isolation?

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Salerno, April S.; Kibler, Amanda K.
TESOL Journal
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05-25-2016 3:54 PM
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This article presents findings from a qualitative study of newly arrived immigrant students attending mainstream vocational courses through a high school newcomer program in the southern United States. As educators turn to vocational options for instructing linguistically diverse students, this project carefully considers how students experience participation in such programs. This project considers the questions: What were the stated goals for vocational placements of students in the newcomer program? How do the students participate in and describe experiences in vocational courses? How do the students interact with others in English and other languages in these settings? Researchers conducted qualitative observations, made frequency counts of student behaviors, and conducted interviews with students and program leaders. Although stated goals centered on involving students with monolingual English-speaking peers and teaching students job skills, data suggest that students' experiences were not always aligned with these goals. This project, in looking at how students in newcomer programs participate in vocational activities and interact with monolingual peers and teachers, sheds light on how such programs serve students and how programs can be better structured to meet students' academic and linguistic needs.
Newcomer Students
Immigrant Students