Who Says We are Dumb?: Identification of the Causes of Learning Difficulties Encountered by New Immigrant Learners in their Adaptation to the Canadian Classrooms

Buster C. Ogbuagu, Christy C. Ogbuagu


When Canada “opened its doors” to immigration in the 1900s, it was not to everyone. It mostly preferred Europeans, whose membership it felt resembled the White, Anglo-Saxons and French, deemed the founders of modern day Canada. All the “Others” were undesirable, due to apprehension with miscegenation and a watering down of “Whiteness” by ethnically non White immigrants. From the 1960s, to the 1990s the “immigration doors” opened just a little wider, and inevitably so, contingent on the sequelae of wars, famine and pestilence that virtually dismantled ancient city states in Africa and Asia. The Refugees have arrived, and the Geneva Convention of 1951 had made provisions for the admittance of those escaping from troubled regions of the world, regardless of color, creed, race or ethnicity. Most of the refugees who arrived in Canada had among them, children born in refugee camps under sundry and bizarre conditions. Additionally, most had never been in school, and for those who did attend school, it was rudimentary and lacked modern educational appurtenances, such as computers, even scissors that they would later find abundant, new, even strange and as “sine qua non” for learning and successful educational outcomes in Canada. The study found that the concomitant of the immigrant learner’s experience in refugee camps becomes the problem of integration in and successful educational outcomes at the post-migration stage. New immigrant learners’ discomfiture in Canadian classrooms is exacerbated by a meticulously hard-wired racist and Eurocentered system, embodied by an alienating school curriculum and a hostile educational environment, which produce outcomes that are mal coded by educational practitioners as “dumbness.” The study proffered suggestions that include anti-racist, multicultural education, competency training and empowerment models as solutions that promote successful and sustainable adaptation, including successful educational outcomes by immigrant learners to the Canadian and other classrooms.

DOI: 10.5901/jesr.2013.v3n2p75

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Journal of Educational and Social Research ISSN 2239-978X(Print) ISSN 2240-0524(Online)

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