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History of Immigration in the US and Canada

Immigration is one of the direst realities of the Western world and the US and Canada to be particular. Over the years, millions of people from across the globe have migrated to the US in search of better livelihood education, social security benefits, means of income, and quality of life at large (Baghban, 2007). The surge of immigration is however not limited to any particular age or timeline of history and phased immigration has been made in the past such as during the middle of the 19th century, post-World War II world, the end of the 20th century and even in the present day form various parts of the earth (Yu, 2020). However, immigration is a reality in the world of the present day, especially from the NATO countries, EU nations, and nations of the Middle East. The US and Canada are free to accept immigrants from across the world due to their huge economic and social capacities and the role they played in shaping the world during the cold war phase and even after the unipolar world order till the early 2010s (Felfe et al., 2020). The paper aims to discuss and provide a review of the paper “Immigration in Childhood: Using Picture Books to Cope” and comment on how using the picture and different means of imparting education has helped immigrant children to get acculturated with the Canadian education system and cover their academic phase of life.

The largest wave of immigration is passing through the US and Canada when the author has framed her paper. In the history of the US, they are facing the most unmanageable wave of people coming across the borders from far-off nations. Irrespective of caste, creed, religion, origin, and culture, people have been migrating to the US for a better life (Morrish, 2021). Some fled religious persecution, some escaped proselytization, some escaped tough economic and social stagnancies in their countries, and some entered the nation by choice. From the available demographic data available, it can be stated that over 2/3rd of the nation's population is comprised of the immigrants that came and resided in the nation across the timeline of history and registered themselves as Canadian citizens (Baghban, 2007). When the school pupils are surveyed, it was found that almost 48 % of them were from immigrant parents and 56% of the entire Toronto population come from at least their parents from foreign countries. It is also noted that over 140 languages are in practice in the schools of the US with a base and diversity of students belonging from 200 nations of the world. As far as the English language is concerned, over 13% of the students reading in schools in the US are found to be learning it as a second language. Moreover, it is also a notable fact that eight million people in Toronto cannot speak English properly and use it as a second language (Root & Burnette, 2007). However, other popular languages such as French, Yiddish, German, Portuguese, Polish, Russian, Hindi, Bengali, Cambodian, Japanese, Korean, Serbo-Croatian, Scandinavian, Pacific Islander, African, Hungarian, and Hebrew. However, most of the immigrants that are found to be engaged in money laundering, terror financing, and the proliferation of Islamic Jihad are connected with Islamic terrorism or global terrorism in the name of Allah (Crea et al., 2018). However, not only has Toronto been engaged with accepting millions of immigrants over the years, but also states like Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Oregon, and Indiana are also on the list of top acceptors of immigrants. Over the past few years, though due to immense efforts by the education department, schools are focusing more on imparting education as per the Western Style and in the English language. When surveys are carried out in the entire nation, it was found that over 1/5th of the students of the US’s schools are of foreign origin with lesser proficiency in the English language (Yu, 2020).

Diversity of Students and Languages in the US and Canada

Immigrant children education in Canada is becoming a matter for growing concern for the education ministry of the nation (Felfe et al., 2020). The relation of immigrant children and their enrollments in education in schools, postsecondary schools to be particular, is based on the socioeconomic condition of the children (Taylor, 2020). Data shows that Refugee children showed participation to the schools of Ontario to the tune of 54%. This is further overviewed concerning the country which provided statistics to the degree of 75% of the pupils to be more than the age of 20 which shows most of the refugee children in Canada start late in pursuing their academics and basic schooling at large (cicnews.com, 2022). Since the selection process of schools in Canada lies in the core of merit and institutionalizing economics with education, the country is not evidencing good news in the direction of bolstering education of refugee children. Hence, selecting the refugee children and including them into the main stream of educational backbone of Canada is the first challenge (moving2canada.com, 2022). Policymakers have contemplated in this issue and have come up decisions that support the socioeconomic angles of the immigrants. Providing grants and facilities to parents of immigrant children have bolstered the condition economically and socially. Thence, the status of Canada in terms of educational enrollment and mainstreaming of the immigrant children has experienced very positive results that are sustainable and promising (cicnews.com, 2022). Rise of immigrants in Canada has also proposed directives for bolstering the weakness of diversification-related angles into strengths for the education system of the nation. In Canadian school systems, a pressing concern for the policymaker is the way to deal with the variance and diversity traits of immigrant children of various backgrounds (Felfe et al., 2020). Application of the K-12 educational framework of public education system is being prioritized over the past couple of years, Provincial educational policies of Ontario are also vitally addressing the issues based on the framework (Lara & Volante, 2019). Transition and integration of the immigrant children form their roots into a new setup of the so-called anglicised academic and mental character has become a major area of focus by both the governments be it the states or the federal government (Taylor, 2020). It is also a notable fact that most of the immigrant parents of the children studying in schools in Canada are under a tough scarcity of food and homes. 57% of the school children stay in extreme poverty with very low-income parents and consequently faces challenges in getting adapted to the Canadian culture, language, social order, and the history of the nation including its colonial past. Moreover, the issue with the ‘English’ fad is another challenge which further disserves to the educational perspectives of the immigrant children (Nochols et al., 2020). Following transition and mental colonization of the immigrant children, Canada has also hidden its major directives to include mentally colonized students that are judged on the basis to the extent these immigrant children can forget their own culture and roots and embrace the newly housed Canadian culture which is nothing a redecorated version of the eroding British culture. It was the British that colonized Canada in the 19th century and since then atrocities, brutality, execution, and religious persecution have been into practice which is prevalent in one form or the other even today (Lara & Volante, 2019). Hence, the major directive of these educational plans, frameworks, and policy goals are to enslave immigrant students and setup a colonized mind that grovels the British culture, its philosophies, and pro-Catholic ideals in their heart (Nochols et al., 2020). Many scholars have also expressed their concerns in this direction that the system is set in such as disguising way that overthrows all other ideals, principles, culture or beliefs and accept the mentally colonized stated that only deems the British culture as the most supreme culture of the world including its educational frameworks by demeaning, misleading, and even misdirecting other cultures, educational systems, and even roots associated with non-British origins (Felfe et al., 2020). This is the bitter truth associated with Canadian societies, their educational systems, and policy statements associated with repatriation and reestablishment of educational policies concerning the immigrant children (Javdani & McGee, 2019).

Challenges in Education for Immigrant Children

The immigrant children of Canada face a lot of difficulties and challenges in their early lives during the span of their academic period which is probably the most vital period in every child’s life (Crea et al., 2018). Their parents flee religious and political persecution, social discrimination, and have not witnessed social justice in their life so far. Hence, searching for a better life in terms of education and economic conditions are just two vital parameters but overall, the immigrant families experience better and prosperous life that are the most crucial aspiration that led to these immigrations (Vandyshev, 2019). However, how little might have been the cause of immigration, children suffer the most as they are in such as stage of life where they need to go through a humongous cultural, linguistic, and social transformation altogether from the condition they were into a better and broader life with more options and reasons to choose. In some cases, it is also seen that children of immigrant families had to stay away from their parents due to economic, social, political, and personal constraints (Felfe et al., 2020). Stressful events that are deeply connected with the very experience of immigration impact children's lives throughout their academic lives and reduce the quality of receiving education, peace of mind, and attention levels. At the same time, another interesting factor is that poverty is a bitter truth in the children's lives while some of the immigrants are financially sound. As per the data of 1996m, it was noted that over 60% of the immigrants of New York City were found to be with fewer income levels that are deemed to be poor as per the federal poverty standards (Morrish, 2021). Hence, most of the immigrant parents of the children studying in schools in Canada are under a tough scarcity of food and homes. 57% of the school children stay in extreme poverty with very low-income parents and consequently faces challenges in getting adapted to the Canadian culture, language, social order, and the history of the nation including its colonial past. Moreover, inevitable cultural differences account for changes in attitudes and behaviours as most of the times surroundings and the other students that are non-immigrants often let immigrant children feel that they are different and incompetent with poor family backgrounds (Ades, 2022). These stigmas over time create chances of drug and other abuses among immigrant children which is indeed a major concern for the health department of the US even today. Hence, students of immigrant origin shall be given examples of students with almost similar situations and backgrounds of immigration and despite all odds how some pupils excelled in life and created a life of prosperity, abundance, name, fame, acknowledgement, and most importantly acting harbingers of exemplariness even in such situations (Carlena et al., 2022). This is why, such students shall be taught by using colourful books, pages with infographics, and stories that connect with the tender minds and let them sail their boats in the forward direction with proper knowledge, examples, and shreds of evidence of alike societies or experience of immigration and associated challenges. Thus, books with highlights of day-to-day experiences of immigrant children can collectively bolster the educational and academic outputs of immigrant students in the schools of Canada. In this way, they can be taught better and learned how they can live in a new and different world altogether even with the odds they face in their daily lives (Ngo et al., 2020).  

Solutions to the Challenges Faced by Immigrant Children in Education

The notion of being different is also another major concern for the policymakers of the education department of Canada (Morrish, 2021). This attributes due to the main issues with the very disparity between the home and school environments. In addition to that, leniency from educators and other staff of schools often act nonchalantly concerning the socioeconomic status of the immigrated children (Felfe et al., 2020). This is evident from behaviours of educators such as lack of eye-contacts, improper language and patience while teaching the immigrant children, and creating an environment around these children that made them feel alienated. Differences in hair maintenance, lunches, headcovers of the Islamic misogynist societal rules, clothing, and the very approach of addressing one in a completely different academic environment also cater to the same area adversely. Balance of words, choice of behavioural approaches to students, school and home environment is indicative of a better and inclusive society concerning the schooling environment of American schools (de Haymes et al., 2018). An example is one of the Pakistani immigrants that escaped religious persecution has been depicted in the Picturebook where Nadia, the Pakistani immigrant girl felt shy to go to her classroom with henna in her palms because she thought that it might make her a matter of joke and bullying in the school environment. Children under such circumstances make connections between science, social studies, and adding examples from their societies that can collectively address bridging the gap between the home environments of immigrant children and school environments (Vandyshev, 2019). One more argument in this direction is the very difference that exists in the school setting increasing the gap between the school environments with home environments can be traced back to the relentless efforts immigrant children make to fit into the school climates such as the way they talk, communicate, approach problems, cultural or social bent of mind, and acceptance of defiance of the new environment where they had to take refuge to subsist (Ndemanu & Jordan, 2018). Often children do not fit into such new settings as they were not asked while migrating where they are going to get admitted as far as schools are concerned. Hence, either they silent rebel every day which contributes to the degeneration of their psychosocial conditions or they fight tooth and nail to cope with the new challenges life has thrown at them. In doing so, most of the children are either lost in the crowd to adapt and fit in or they give in to drugs, substance abuse or flee such situations to accept a reality that is not practical or feasible considering their conditions (Crea et al., 2018).

Names and titles are also major factors that should be taken into consideration when carrying out research in such situations. Names and titles bear a reflection of a particular culture, social structure and order, and often tell a lot about a nation's heritage with respect to a concerned community or clan (Yu, 2020). Hence, names of Asian societies might not be common to the school environment of the US which creates discomfort among immigrant children when they are called their names by educators, they find others are staring at them with a vigil demeaning their existence in the classroom (Root & Burnette, 2007). In the book “Hannah IS My Name”, Yang has taken the help of a character, Na-Li, where she faced a lot of struggles and setbacks from students of the American society that considers themselves as the greatest race in human history leading others to be bullied and abhorred (Fahmi, 2004). Though some students accept their realities and adore their cultures even after they left their motherlands, still some immigrant children are ashamed of their motherland's culture, its roots, and civilizational traits by getting tremendously influenced by their classmates from American or Anglicized societies (Aden, 2022).

“I hate English!” tells a classic story of losing or fear of losing one’s identity after immigration. English is a language that is only professed and preached only in the mentally colonized and anglicized nations that are members of the “Commonwealth of Nations” (Baghban, 2007). However, the langue is one the weakest and the most destitute language to be frank which bears racial and cultural supremacy of the Whites undermining the other population or languages of the world. Still, the West wants everybody to learn English and proliferate this baseless and limbless language due to their phase two of neoliberal colonialism. Hence, any immigrant child that migrated from another territory of non-English speaking nations into the US and Canada may face toughness and challenges adapting to this undernourished and lame language (Fahmi, 2004). However, these nations deem English as a standard language that emanated out of the very core of their colonized history and how the British invaders have dismantled the ancient natives of their soil and enslaved them and forced them to get treatment in their land as "nobodies of the world". The last statement was an irony of Canada's eroding society and anglophile culture that is the main reason for its present image in the globe which is emblematic as the most non-loyal and vile entity of geopolitics. In addition to that, redressing the “English language issue” pictorially shall be a vital policy directive of the state to respond to the needs of the immigrated children at the US schools (Carlana et al., 2022).

Conclusion

The paper discussed and provided a review of the paper “Immigration in Childhood: Using Picture Books to Cope” and commented on how using a picture and different means of imparting education has helped immigrant children to get acculturated with the Canadian education system and cover their academic phase of life. It was found that irrespective of caste, creed, religion, origin, and culture, people have been migrating to the US and Canada for a better life. Moreover, some people fled religious persecution, some escaped proselytization, some escaped tough economic and social stagnancies in their countries, and some entered the nation by choice. From the available demographic data available, it can be stated that over 2/3rd of the nation's population are comprised of the immigrants that came and resided in the nation across the timeline of history and registered themselves as Canadian citizens. To address the real educational needs using pictures in books, correlating them with examples of the same societies or at least how immigrated children of almost the same socioeconomic scenario succeed in life, shined in academics or created legacies shall be the major policy directives of the Canadian schools. In addition to that, it should also be considered that most of the immigrant parents of the children studying in schools in Canada are under a tough scarcity of food and homes. Furthermore, 57% of the school children stay in extreme poverty with very low-income parents and consequently faces challenges in getting adapted to the Canadian culture, language, social order, and the history of the nation including its colonial past. Thus, the issue with the ‘English’ fad is shall be addressed with the economic complications hindering inclusion of the immigrant children that jointly disserves to the educational perspectives of the immigrant children.

References

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