About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 4258-4268
Publication year: 2009
ISBN: 978-84-612-7578-6
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 9-11 March, 2009
Location: Valencia, Spain

IMMIGRANT STUDENTS AND LANGUAGE BARRIERS TO LEARNING: A PROPOSAL FOR MAKING THE MOST OF ICT RESOURCES

M. Ott, M. Tavella

CNR National Research Council (ITALY)
Most EU countries face the challenge of providing immigrant students with adequate education. Recent studies, nevertheless, highlight that, in this field, much has yet to be done and that the Member States’ capacity to fully integrate immigrant students in existing school systems differs widely.
In this framework, the present paper tries to answer the research question of whether and how ICT resources can be profitably used to sustain and foster the school integration of non-native students. The underpinning educational “problem” appears to be broad and multifaceted and many research teams across Europe are actively working in this field, from different standpoints and with different educational approaches.
Actually the scope of this paper is narrower: it focuses on written language learning (i.e. reading and writing abilities) and new-immigrant students (first generation in the host country); it aims at presenting some concrete proposals for exploiting ICT potential for supporting and fostering the written language acquisition by immigrant students
In doing so, it draws on a number of field experiences carried out in the framework of a specific research project where the authors analysed the written production of 98 new-immigrant students from 18 different countries; a global amount of about 25.000 writing mistakes were considered and categorized on the basis of an evaluation grid elaborated on purpose by the research team.
After proposing an overview of the different types of software resources that were actually used during the research project (and that were judged as potentially suitable/effective), this paper concentrates on the rationale behind the building up of personalized learning paths, tailored to match the particular needs of specific categories of students.
The project results showed, in fact, that that there is a sort of “error/ language specificity” in that the nature of non- sporadic, persisting writing errors is strongly related to the type of mother language (L1) at hand. More precisely, it emerged that the type of mistakes that students were more prone to commit were largely dependent on the actual similarities and differences between Italian (L2- second language, in our case) and the mother language (L1). Sensible differences were found, for instance, among the three linguistic groups of students that were more represented in the target population, namely Albanians, Hispanics and Arabs. While Albanians and Spanish students committed more orthographic errors than Arabs, these last ones showed more sensible difficulties in mastering the syntactic structure of the Italian language (i.e. they made more syntactic errors).
Given the fact that to date, generalized interventions have proven to be hardly effective the paper encourages the building up of ICT- based highly personalized educational interventions, by taking into account the “typical” mistakes of immigrants pertaining to the same linguistic stock; this will, hopefully, go in the direction of carrying out remedial/educational activities both more effective and less time consuming.
In the end, few examples of ICT-enabled exercises, created on the basis of the above mentioned concept of “error/language specificity” are provided, in order to provide concrete instances of the proposed rationale behind the construction of personalized learning paths for supporting the written language learning of immigrant students.
@InProceedings{OTT2009IMM,
author = {Ott, M. and Tavella, M.},
title = {IMMIGRANT STUDENTS AND LANGUAGE BARRIERS TO LEARNING: A PROPOSAL FOR MAKING THE MOST OF ICT RESOURCES},
series = {3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2009 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-612-7578-6},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {9-11 March, 2009},
year = {2009},
pages = {4258-4268}}
TY - CONF
AU - M. Ott AU - M. Tavella
TI - IMMIGRANT STUDENTS AND LANGUAGE BARRIERS TO LEARNING: A PROPOSAL FOR MAKING THE MOST OF ICT RESOURCES
SN - 978-84-612-7578-6/2340-1079
PY - 2009
Y1 - 9-11 March, 2009
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2009 Proceedings
SP - 4258
EP - 4268
ER -
M. Ott, M. Tavella (2009) IMMIGRANT STUDENTS AND LANGUAGE BARRIERS TO LEARNING: A PROPOSAL FOR MAKING THE MOST OF ICT RESOURCES, INTED2009 Proceedings, pp. 4258-4268.
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