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Qualities and Limits in Education of Immigrant Children at Secondary Schools: School, Teacher, Municipality and Government Roles

Vilma Zydziunaite  and Egle Katiliute

¹ Kaunas University of Technology / Klaipeda College, Klaipeda

² Klaipeda College, Klaipeda / Vytautas Magnus University

Paper presented at the European Conference on Educational Research, University of Geneva, 13-15 September 2006

ABSTRACT. Research problem incorporates the following questions: What kind of problems meet teachers in education of immigrant children’s at secondary schools? What are the attitudes of teachers of secondary schools’ to immigrant children? What educational problems emerge for immigrant children and their families? The study aim was to highlight the qualities and limits in education of immigrant children at secondary schools by illuminating the roles of school, teacher, municipality and government in the educational context. Research design was mixed: quantitative and qualitative. Research was conducted on May - October 2005. Methods: 1) data collection - questioning survey (using two questionnaires - mixed type with open- and closed-ended questions; open ended questionnaires); semi-structured and structured interviews; 2) data analysis - statistical analysis (using SPSS 12.0); qualitative content analysis. Sample: quantitative - 478 respondents (teachers, school executives); qualitative - 28 participants (school executives; municipality specialists; immigrant children). Research instruments: a) mixed type questionnaire consisted of 14 aprts (totally with 137 statements); b) semi-structured - interview consisted of 5 open-ended questions; c) structured interview consisted of 15 questions. Conclusions. School performs roles of organizator, helper, evaluator / assessor, tutor. Municipality realizes roles are of financial supporter, organizator, prognosticator, initiator, helper, methodical counselor, and researcher. Government is responsible for financial planning and establishment of documents with clear and accurate content, related to education of immigrant children. The teacher should be able to establish educational programmes according to immigrant children age and capabilities, to give the individual attention to those children, participate in various commissions where are evaluated the achievements of immigrant children. Limits are the following: complicated education of immigrant children when they do not know the state language; the requirements are different then those in children’s homeland; in entering the school the main attention is focused on child’s age, but capabilities are not the ‘key’ aspect. The qualities are those: adequate education methods, development of learning materials and books for immigrant children, active socio–cultural education.


Immigration is a challenging process - stressful and uprooting (Heikkilä, 2004; Berry, 2002). Even so, the immigration also tends to create some gains for the immigrating individual such as self – growth, financial opportunities, freedom, etc. (Torres, 1999). The migrants leave behind the social, cultural, and environmental contexts that give the meaning to their lives (Snellman, 2003). The migrating individuals appear to lose their social networks and they encounter difficulties when establish themselves in a new context. As usual, novelty, language, disruption, loss, subordination are regarded as obstacles in the initial phase of resettlement, but over time, depends on the coping strategies, and the feelings of grief and / or feelings of being at home becomes evident (Heikkilä, 2004). They have to learn become orientated in a new environment and they have to organize the practical issues that are important in everyday life. In the long–term they have to build up, establish or re-establish social networks, to adapt to new systems such as labor market and / or educational and also have to deal with situations where they are viewed as foreigners by people in the native population (Aroian, 1990). For school – age children the very important situation (often the stressful situation) is related to changes in their educational situation, e.g. new school environment, new educational system, different evaluation of academic achievements, new classmates and etc.

Thus the education cannot be culturally neutral (Le Roux, 2002). Any educational system develops or exists independently of cultural environment and is not detached from influence of social or historical ‘roots’. Dominated cultures, policies, practices or perspectives influence the content and standpoints in education. Intercultural point of view strives to reflect the reality and not represent just limited monoculture perspective of reality as only one ‘core’, and the most important and realistic for dominated groups of society. The multiculturality is realized by high quality education of all schoolchildren, no matter what is their cultural origin (Le Roux, 2002).

The system of education of the Republic of Lithuania (Lithuania) also is not segregated off the growing expression of the multiculturalism. After Lithuania became the member of European Union (EU) here is the growing number of aliens, for example, specialists (migrating workers), immigrants / refugees (who have the possibility to live in Lithuania permanently) who have the school–age children. Thus the educational system of Lithuania should make the facilities for education and self–education, socialization and integration of those children.

In Lithuania the questions about organization of education of immigrant children are not analyzed, though exist some works that are oriented to educational aspects related to foreign–born (representatives of national minorities), e.g. Skripkiene (2001) made review on research about the linguistic expressions of national language among the 2nd grade children non–Lithuanians; Mazolevskiene (2001) investigated the problems of bilingualism among pre-school children in Lithuania and in 2003 year she had analyzed the practical and theoretical preparation of pre-school children, their prejudices and competence in education of Lithuanian language among bilingual children. Jonusaite (2005) had researched the evaluation of application quality of cross – cultural curriculum.

The research problem incorporates the following questions: What kind of problems meet teachers in education of immigrant children at secondary schools? What are the attitudes of teachers of secondary schools to immigrant children? What educational problems emerge for immigrant children and their families?

The study aim was to highlight the qualities and limits in education of immigrant children at secondary schools by illuminating the roles of school, teachers, municipality and government in that educational context.


The help for children of immigrants in EU is given in two spheres:

When children learn leastwise one national language of a country where they are accepted in order children would be able to communicate and learn by using this language.

By warranting the capabilities of the children to communicate permanently in their native language and to integrate their cultural heritage, to keep the close relationships with the native culture and religion.

Many EU countries guarantee the possibilities for children of immigrants‘ to learn their native language. The means for supporting of native language and culture could be substantiated by bipartite agreement between countries, but often their offering is the competence of the school or municipality. In some cases the teaching of language is allotted to schoolchildren and their parents. Often the teaching of language is integrated with familiarity of native country and history of this country. In some countries is regulated the application of day–schedule in order to unfold the peculiarities of culture or religion or to satisfy the needs of immigrant schoolchildren (e.g., menu, outfit, etc.). Such application is realized by schools or municipalities.

All EU countries give the attention to intercultural point of view that is described as completeness of processes, where are establishing relationships between the cultures. Those means relate not even to immigrant children but also to regular residents and management of multicultural variety at schools in order to strive to mutual understanding. Here exist differences between countries in understanding the aims of those means and choosing the adequate conditions for their implementation. In educational curricula of EU countries here are evident three dimensions (Integrating Immigrant Children into Schools in Europe, 2004):

In many EU countries the intercultural education is the most important aim in national curricula and it is consolidated in educational papers (Bulgaria and Iceland are exceptions). Often are accentuated the educational themes, cherished values and capabilities. A few countries those are educating by integrated education. Subjects that integrate the intercultural point of view are the following: history and geography, foreign language, religion, lessons of hosted country language, civic and political education, sociology, and ethics (e.g., in Estonia, Italy, Austria, Portugal, Sweden).

More than in ½ of EU countries (e.g., in Bulgaria, Czech, Denmark, Germany, Spain, Luxemburg, Poland, Portugal, Finland, United Kingdom, Romania) the intercultural education is realized as after–school activity and is integrated with the school–life. It could be also the extra education (e.g., organization of feasts / festivals), interchange among schoolchildren, meetings of schoolchildren with the representatives of communities of immigrants.

Training of teachers for intercultural education is important. The important capabilities are to note the national or race stereotypes among pupils and to be detached of them. These capabilities could be acquired in primary or continuing training of teachers. In Lithuania those aspects are integrative part of primary training of teachers. About effectiveness of those means is known not much because their implementation is started recently.


The educational system is orientated to education of respect to others and tolerance to other groups, capability to understand the individual and group origin, values, and traditions. The one basic aim among other six in Lithuania is to establish the conditions to schoolchildren to acquire the background of sociocultural literacy, to help the to self-educate the personal and social cognition and cultural competence that are needful to make decisions successfully in personal and social life (Basic programmes and standards of education, 2003, p. 8).

From theoretical point of view the cultural competence is more than acquirement of knowledge about other ethnic / cultural group. It is a complex of knowledge, prejudices and capabilities. The cultural competence is a capability to think, feel and act together in ways by which is recognized and respected the ethnic, cultural and multiethnic variety and comprehended specificity of multicultural situations (LeRoux, 2002). To be competent in intercultural activity means to learn the new models or behavior and to apply them effectively in concrete situations. To be culturally competent or to have the cultural comprehension / understanding does not mean that the person should know everything about every culture.

According to Rodriguez (1999), the cultural competence is not acquired by becoming the member of other culture superficially through free–available elements (e.g., manners, language, outfit or behavior) pickup. The author accentuates that such superficial identification could become manipulative. To ignore or reject the cultural identity and pickup the other is not the expression of respect but more evidence that also this culture could be rejected easily. It demonstrates disrespect to native culture. The culture includes not even customs or behavior, but also values, standpoints and prejudices. If customs and behavior could be picked–up easily, thus the values, points of view and beliefs demand more deeply and fundamental comprehensions and changes. The cultural competence could be educated and "implanted" by two levels: personal and organizational. The cultural competence is on–going process, expressed through continuation. Here exist six states of cultural competence (Cross, 2001; Williams, 2001; Hanley, 1999): cultural destruction; cultural disability; cultural blindness; cultural pre-competence; cultural competence; cultural professionalism / regularity.

The states of cultural competence are achieved by principle of succession: from one to another. Here are three basic elements in development of cultural competence (Williams, 2001; Hanley, 1999): self–comprehension / understanding; experience and knowledge about concrete culture; the positive change or action that stipulates the successful interaction with the identified culture. It means that organizing the education of immigrant children at secondary school in Lithuania is important to keep the tune between the two basic aspects: nurturance of native ethnoculture and knowledge and knowing about other cultures. The curricula and the programme of its implementation should resound the pluralistic perspectives. All pupils should acquire not entirely the civic knowledge and capabilities, but also is important to educate the personalities that would be free of preconceived and enforced stereotypes in society (McLaughlin, 1997).

McLaughlin (1997) notes that minority groups should be stipulated to keep their identity in common system. Those should be free to preserve the elements that are important for their ethnical identity, and it is never mind is it related to belonging to concrete religion, o preservation of native language at home and ethnic community, not scaring about unfavorable prejudices or victimization. But research results illuminate that not always in practice those principles are applied. Jonusaite and Zydziunaite (2005) have realized the pilot research study in six Lithuanian big towns and townships. In research had participated 133 teachers and principles of the schools. It was investigated the preparedness of secondary schools (in common view) to accept the representatives of other cultures. The research results illuminated that the respondents are tended to evaluate in very high rates their state of personal cultural competence, but the schools are not treated as prepared to realize the education of immigrant children in full value. The level of cultural competence of the secondary schools is enough low, but in common the research results are not detached of the research results received by other researchers. For example Cross (1989) highlighted that the biggest number of institutions, which serve in education of human favors for children and families are between the cultural disability and cultural blindness.

Research results of Jonusaite and Zydziunaite (2005) study had illuminated the ridge between the schools where are educated immigrants, and homogenous (regarding to school personnel and pupils): the higher level of cultural competence (cultural pre-competence) state is achieved by the school where are educated immigrants, and homogenous schools now experience the state of cultural blindness. It was extracted several aspects related to cultural state: 1) schools pay not enough regard to development of local research and improvement of teaching methods orientated to education foreign–born or immigrant schoolchildren; 2) partially is expressed the orientation to needs of the teacher, but not to pupil; 3) here is evident the prejudice that activity principles of dominant culture are universal; 4) partially at schools happens the destructive prejudices, policies and practices in regard to other cultures. Attention should be fixed on the two last facts. Treating the activity principles of dominant culture as universal, according to Cross (2001), the organizational services transform as not useful / acceptable to minorities because here are ignored the strong parts of minority cultures and stipulated the cultural assimilation and the representatives of minorities are seen through the prism of cultural deprivation. Though the focus of organization of the education of immigrant children at Lithuanian secondary schools should be given not even on education of purposive group–immigrant schildren, but also on improvement of environment where those children are educated. More attention should be paid not entirely on direct organization of education but on development of cultural competence of teachers and schoolchildren. The effectiveness of educational process of immigrant children is dependent on cultural competence of schools and their communities.


In Lithuania the education of immigrant children is regulated first time in 2003 by Educational Law of Lithuania. This Law guarantees the right to primary and general education for all Lithuanian residents and foreign–born who have the right to live or stay in the country permanently. In document here is the fixed principle of equal possibilities and right to learn the Lithuanian language and by possibility the native language too. The right to learning, acquirement of education and qualification is guaranteed to every citizen of Lithuania and foreign–born person who have the right to live or stay permanently in the country (Educational Law of Lithuania, 2003, Paragraph 25, Part 1). The state guarantees the accessibility of programmes related to primary, general and secondary education, also to higher education and vocational training, which gives the first qualification (Educational Lw of Lithuania, 2003, Paragraph 25, Part 2). The Paragraph 30 guarantees the teaching and learning in state in Lithuanian language and it is possible the teaching for native language of foreign–born children (Educational Law of Lithuania, 2003, Paragraph 30, Parts 1; 5). Children of refugees are accepted as groups experiencing the social disjuncture to which the accessibility of education is warranted by giving the social services and educational help them (Educational Law of Lithuania, 2003, Paragraph 33, Part 1). In Lithuania people who have the status of refugee could be taught in their living place for native language using the centralized financing.

In 2003 the established injunction Nr. ISAK-789 "In regard to implementation of organization of education of foreign-born persons who arrived to work or live in Lithuania", which is adequate to obligations of Lithuania related to membership in EU according to directive of European Council 77/486/EEB (25 July, 1977) "In regard to teaching of migrant children". In this injunction is safeguarded the education at secondary schools for foreign–born children who arrived to live or work in Lithuania. This document defines that education of foreign–born children is organized at secondary schools by guiding the Educational plans of General education and other law projections that are confirmed by Ministry of Education and science of Lithuania. There are accentuated that for every child of foreign–born person are established conditions to learn the state Lithuanian language by using the state language and in regard to existing possibilities to learn the native language of pupils.

The financing the education of immigrant schoolchildren at Lithuanian secondary schools is regulated by Resolution „In regard to changes in implementation of means of financing reform at secondary schools" (16 December 2003). According to this paper the education of immigrant / foreign–born schildren is financed with 10 percents more than other schoolchildren. In some cases the education of immigrant child is not financed, e.g. when the learning process is self–dependent (at home).

Functions, responsibilities and competencies of the Ministry of Education and Science, Educational subdivisions at Municipalities and school principles are regulated according to resolution „In regard to implementation of education of foreig –born people who arrive to work or live in Lithuania children at secondary schools (04 June 2003):

Ministry of Education and Science:

Educational subdivisions of Municipality administrations:

Principles of schools:


According to General education plans of secondary schools for 2005 – 2007 year, the education of foreign–born / immigrants and citizens of Lithuania who arrived or returned to live and work to Lithuania is organized in such course:

Organization of state language education for immigrant children. 30 paragraph of Educational Law of Republic of Lithuania on "The right to learn state and native language" points out that for every citizen of Lithuania and immigrant, who has the right to live here permanently or temporally is guaranteed the teaching in state language and learning of Lithuanian language. The Strategy of Education of Lithuanian language at secondary schools 2004-2009 (2003) notes that here are prepared the law papers, which regulate and guarantee the education of immigrants in Lithuania. But in Lithuania here is poor experience in respect to teaching methods related to immigrant education. Here are prepared recommendations, how could be organized the education Lithuanian language of immigrant children. Also the prescript of the Minister of Education and Science of Lithuania (2005 -09-01, No. ISAK-1800, 1st Section, 3rd paragraph) indicates that schoolchildren who do not know the Lithuanian language before the entering the consequent education at secondary school one year should lean the Lithuanian language in equalizing class or equalizing mobile group.

Teaching tools for immigrant children. Integrating Immigrant Children into Schools in Europe (2004) accentuates that immigrant children learn the Lithuanian language from compendiums for national minorities and those consist of book for pupil, notebook of exercises and audiotapes. Other subjects they learn from the same books as ordinary schoolchildren at secondary schools in Lithuania. So why it is important for immigrant children to learn the Lithuanian language as soon as possible. The General plans of Education recommend that two teachers could work with children in classes where are schoolchildren who need to learn the Lithuanian language intensively. Lithuanian Ministry of Education and Science under the project realized with agency SARDES and with the material support of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Netherlands prepared three books under the common title "My and your country Lithuania" – books of Lithuanian language education, Sociocultural and Citizenship education and Teacher’s book:

Also the specialists of the Ministry of Education and Science and Center of Educational Development had prepared the recommendations for organization of Lithuanian language education for immigrant children where is accentuated the individual programmes that should be also prepared for those children in respect to their age and level of acquired skills in Lithuanian language.

Evaluation of academic achievements of immigrant children. Evaluation of achievements of immigrant children who learn according to General education programmes is substantiated by clear, known for children criterions that are related to Educational standards and which stipulate the advancements in their learning and development of their potentials (Integrating Immigrant Children into Schools in Europe, 2004). Such evaluation is also based on idiographic principle (individual advancements) with orientation to indicated criterions in Educational standards. The evaluation of achievements is based on the system of ten–points. The school could choose also the other evolutional systems by estimating the order of convertibility to ten–points system. In adaptation period for children who start the programme of primary education is recommended not to evaluate their achievements by points and evaluate those according to idiographic principles. The achievements should be fixated by description way. Immigrant children who learn the programmes according the equalizing classes and equalizing groups experience the different situation, because of the Law ". The order of immigrant and citizen of Lithuania who arrived or return to live and work in Lithuania, children and adult education in equalizing classes and equalizing mobile groups" (2005, 4 Paragraph) indicates the following aspects:

Training of teachers to work with immigrant children. In training of teachers and raising qualification the intercultural point of view started to be expressed only after 2003 year, when the result of the project between Ministry of Education and Science of Lithuanian and agency SARDES (Netherlands) was prepared the special course of primary and continuing teaching for teachers who work with immigrant children. Also there were organized the workshops on the topic of immigrant education for teachers, specialists of Educational departments from municipalities and representatives of non–governmental organizations. Also such type of workshops were organized by Red Cross Organization of Lithuania with Ministry of Education and Science of Lithuanian, Educational departments of municipalities and specialized educational centers for teachers who work and or plan to work with immigrants.

The situation changes from 2004 – 2005 year. At the center of Professional development of Teachers (PDT) by collaborating with various institutions here are prepared three projects that are more or less related to development of teacher’s competencies in respect to education of immigrant children and adults. These projects are oriented to teaching methodologies of Lithuanian language of immigrants, utilization of educational experiences of teachers from various countries, development of ethno cultural and cross – cultural knowledge. PDT in collaboration with the Sector of Adult Education (under the Ministry of Education and Sciences), Department of Lithuanian studies (Vilnius University), National Commission of Lithuanian language Department of Social Institutions and Emigration (under Ministry of Social Security and Labor), Department of National minorities and Emigration, Center of Language education of National institutions, Commission of qualifying in Lithuanian language acquirement, Centers of adult education and secondary schools for adults, Homes of National communities in 2005 – 2006 year had prepared the project „Education of state language: content and methods, utilization of experience. Needs for sociocultural and integration state language. This project ismainly oriented to teachers (often to teachers of Lithuanian language) who work in area of adult education. Though the content of the project accentuates also the topics that are urgent for immigrant children education:


Data selection methods. For data selection were applied three methods: questioning survey using open- and closed–type questionnaires; semi–structured interview; structured interview.

Data analysis. The quantitative data was analyzed using SPSS (Statistical Package for Social Sciences for Windows) 12.0 version, and the qualitative data – by applying qualitative content analysis.


Quantitative sample. Population consisted of executives of Lithuanian secondary schools and vice– principles and teachers who work at those schools. Total sample incorporated 25 secondary schools from 8 Lithuanian towns and at every school were questioned not less than 20 respondents. Total sample consisted of 478 research participants. In research had participated 25 subjects of secondary schools. The biggest part of a sample consisted of 31-50 year respondents: 31 – 40 year (35, 8 %) and 41 – 50 year (34, 8 %). The pedagogical experience of research part5icipants is not more than 15 year (49,2 %). 3,6 % of respondents have managerial experience till 5 years and the biggest part of than hade no such experience (90,1%). The main part of a sample works at secondary schools (54, 7 %); 61, 7 % of respondents are acquired Bachelor degree / qualification, and 32, 6% of a sample – Master degree.

Qualitative sample.

Vice – principles that are responsible for education of immigrant children: it was interviewed 20 respondents. Mean ranks of them are the following – 8 years of managerial experience at school; gender – all respondents were woman; educational experience at school 14 years; educational experience with immigrant children approximately 2, 5 years.

Specialists of municipalities, who coordinate the area of immigrant education: it were interviewed 5 respondents. Mean ranks of them are the following - age 47,4 year; gender – all respondents were woman; educational experience at school - 15 years (at least 5 year and the top of experience were 25 years); work experience at municipality - 10,8 years; experience of coordination of immigrant education at municipality - 3 years.

Immigrant children. It was interviewed 3 children: 7 year old, 11 year old and 14 year old, among them – 2 boys and 1 girl. Distribution according school type – secondary and general school and gymnasium; 2 schools represented national minorities and one – with state language. Distribution according nationality: American, Jew, Georgian. Two among other informants live two years in Lithuania, and one – for one year. One child spoke in Lithuanian, one only in English and one – only in Russian. The last two spoke in Lithuanian very poor. Interview was performed in Lithuanian, Russian and English languages (for respondent who spoke in English helped the translator too).


A) Mixed type questionnaire. The instrument consisted of 14 parts: (1) demography (9 closed– ended items); (2) knowledge about life of various nations (16 closed–ended items); (3) problems of educational organization (5 closed–ended items); (4) values of a teacher (5 closed–ended items); (5) personal traits of a teacher (7 closed–ended items); (6) high and low motivation of immigrant schoolchildren (12 closed–ended items and 1 open–ended item); (7) attitudes of the teacher in respect to student (12 closed–ended items); (8) financing of immigrant children education (5 closed–ended items); (9) organization and evaluation of achievements of immigrant children (22 closed–ended items); (10) sociocultural peculiarities in education (15 closed–ended items and 1 open–ended item); (11) educational problems that meet immigrant children and their families (6 closed–ended items); (12) possibilities and problems in education of native language of immigrant schoolchildren (11 closed–ended items); (13) organization of individualized education of immigrant schoolchildren (5 closed–ended items); (14) training and education of teachers to work with immigrant children (5 closed–ended items).

B) Semi – structured interview consisted of 5 open–ended questions about organizational and social problems of immigrant children education (relevant to teachers and administration); evaluation of teaching tools and educational process – is it satisfactory or not; about roles of municipality and school – what kind of roles those perform and what kind it should be.

C) Open – ended questionnaire. This questionnaire consisted of 15 open–ended questions. Questions could bet divided into two large parts: (1) demographic (5 open–ended questions); (2) positive aspects and limitations in specificity of coordination of immigrant children education (10 open–ended questions).



At schools, which participated in research study were 21 immigrant children. The biggest part at those schools study Russians (193 children), Ukrainians (136 children), Byelorussians (127 children), Chechens (107 children), Pole (81 children) and Chinese (74 children).

Problems in education of immigrant children: attitudes of secondary schools and teachers. The general problem in organization of immigrant children education is complicated education of a child who does not know the state language. It was noted by ½ of respondents. The second problem according to complexity is that immigrant children enter the secondary school according to their age but not according to their academic achievements. This problem was accentuated by 1/3 of teachers. Approximately ¼ of respondents accentuated that relevant problems are the following: for the immigrant child at school are raised the different requirements in comparing to those he / she had in native country; also differently are evaluated the academic achievements of immigrant child. Rare problem is adaptation of immigrant child because of unusual learning methods at school.

Financing forms education of immigrant children. 1/5 of respondents did not responded to question "How is financed the education of immigrant children at your school?" Among answers are notions about financing from the schoolchild "bag". Approximately ¼ of respondents had indicated that for financing of immigrant children are not allotted any additional material resources. About 14 % of research participants noted that family members of immigrant children allot the money from their family "budget". 1/10 of respondents indicated that the school has the special "fund" for teaching of immigrant children. The adequate part of respondents accentuated that education of immigrant children is financed by municipalities.

Training of teachers to work with immigrant children. More than 14 % of respondents accentuated that they participated at workshops about education of immigrant children. The approximate length of such workshops was 4 hours. Almost ½ of research participants indicated that immigrant children and the school help teachers to work with immigrant children. About ¼ of teachers noted that school psychologist and parents of immigrant children help teachers too.

Possibilities to learn the native language for immigrant children at school. Almost ½ of respondents indicated that immigrant children only in their families have possibilities to talk in native language. Approximately ¼ of teachers accentuated that at their schools here are possibilities for immigrant children to learn the native language after compulsory lessons. 1/10 of research participants indicated that after school at least one time per week are organized lessons in immigrant children’s native language. Approximately 40 % of teachers indicated that in some schools is applied the bilingual education (one of two languages is the native language of an immigrant child). ¼ of respondents said that all information related to learning is published in several languages in which communicate immigrant schoolchildren. 1/5 of respondents noted that in order to facilitate the learning the immigrant children are supplied by books in their native language.

Organization of state language education for immigrant children. Approximately 70% of research participants indicated that immigrant children learn the state language with motivation. Such education is limited by work overload, high number of children in the class, problems in financing, equalizing school year, problem in speaking in Lithuanian language, lack of motivation, feeling of impermanence, lack of - time, teacher’s experience, cchildren’s motivation for learning, teaching tools, and books. Approximately ½ of respondents accepted that the strongest influence is attitudes of child family. Evaluating the reasons that determine the weak motivation of children to learn the state language in the top of rating are the following notions: "negative attitudes of other children in respect to immigrant children; difficulties of learning, when motivation of immigrant children descend because of they meet disadvantages in education". 1/3 of respondents indicate the general reasons: slight attention for satisfaction of communication needs of immigrant children; uncertainty because of future, when immigrant child does not know, how many time he / she will live in Lithuania; inadequately organized education of state language. Respondents note that often schoolmates help to immigrant children to learn the state language. 1/3 of research participants indicated that parents of immigrant children receive the instructions how to learn the state language, because they are "helpers" in stipulating the schoolchild to learn the Lithuanian language.

Organization of socio-cultural education of immigrant children. At schools here are the following forms of socio–cultural education of immigrant children: circles, excursions, concerts, exhibitions, and activities after school, projects, events, feasts. By evaluating the cultural competence of schools on the top of rating are the following notions: parents of immigrant children collaborate with school teachers and administration with motivation; the school permanently renews the school library, where are various resources of information about other cultures. Respondents (1/3) approbated the notion that at the school are specialists in education of cultural competence. Approximately 1/5 of research participants accepted that at school permanently are performed education of personnel, where is presented the new information about other nationalities. On the bottom of rating is notion "we have at school the specific standards for teachers and school administration".

Supply of immigrant children with books and teaching tools. In above mentioned research results was accentuated that immigrant children experience lack of books and teaching / learning materials and tools in learning of state language. Some respondents noted that such situation influence the motivation for learning of immigrant children negatively. Striving to solve the problem of supplying with learning materials the biggest part of teachers individualize the programmes for immigrant children according to their level of academic achievements and rare according to individual needs of those children.

Evaluation of academic achievements of immigrant children. Approximately ½ of respondents noted that achievements of immigrant children are evaluated adequately as other children. Near 1/3 of research participants accentuated that for immigrant children is difficult to perform the tasks in time and effectively, because of those are more complicated than it was in their home land. ¼ of respondents-teachers give only individual tasks for immigrant children.

Attitudes of teachers to immigrant children how learn at secondary schools of Lithuania. At the top of rating is the notion that teachers formulate tasks in order every schoolchild would understand them independently of his / her ethnic origin, and specificity of native language. More than 2/3 of teachers note that they ask the translator to help them and learn some phrases in native language of immigrant schoolchild. At the bottom of the rating are notions related to teacher’s attention to country of immigrant child, his / her family, first and second languages of a child, style of non– verbal communication and professed religion. Though the following attitudes of teachers, e.g., "Firstly I ascertain the homeland, relatives and family, style of non–verbal communication, professed religion" and etc. are on the top of rating. The correlation analysis highlighted the strong and reliable statistical relationships between mentioned attitudes and capability of a teacher in order they would be understandable to every schoolchild independently of his / her ethnic origin and specificity of native language (from 0,643 to 0,649). According to respondents, the main personal traits that should be urgent for the teacher, who work with immigrant children, are tolerance, patience and objectivity.

Educational problems that meet families of immigrant children. The main problems that meet families of immigrant children (according to teachers) are inadequacy of curriculum of Lithuanian to the country from which is the child. Almost 1/5 of respondents agreed that families of immigrant children mention the following problems: curriculum detachment of transculturality and lack of special documentation. At the bottom of rating are notions about socialization problems of immigrant children.



Importance of communication language in family. Problematic aspects: In families of immigrant children they do not tend to speak in Lithuanian language and that influence negatively the acquired primary skills in Lithuanian language – the latter are loosing. And it means that teacher in Lithuanian language should work two times more (at least) and for those teachers the workload is high. Communication in Lithuanian language is a premise of effective learning of this language. Also in foreign–born families who live in Lithuania the ignorance of speaking in Lithuanian language becomes a crucial problem for children in learning the Lithuanian language "…families all the time live in Lithuania … but with Lithuanian language here are problems - children do not know Lithuanian language, because of their parents do not speak in Lithuanian language…". In "mixed" families where one of parents is Lithuanian – when the family comes back to live in Lithuania also are problems: children do not have skills in Lithuanian language ,,…here are families, where mother is Lithuanian, and father – foreign – born, and they come to Lithuanian, but do not speak in Lithuanian language…".

Need to develop teachers’ competence. Problematic aspect: Lack of teachers’ competence in foreign language (e.g., English) limits the effective communication with the schoolchild. So here is a need of a teacher–assistant. Teachers need methodical knowledge and literature and specific knowledge about education of immigrant children.

Organization of complementary education. Positive aspect: Organization of complementary occupations in the group, which consists of immigrant child and other schoolchildren: (a) creates the possibilities to educate and develop tolerance and respect to foreign–born schoolchildren among Lithuanian schoolchildren; (b) adaptation of immigrant children ease down; (c) immigrant children acquire the Lithuanian language more effectively. Problematic aspects: The school uses their own financial resources for supplementary teaching of immigrant children in Lithuanian language. Organization of supplementary occupations for immigrant children, who need the additional explanations.

Administration of supplementary education. Positive aspect: Affirmation of programmes of supplementary education in administrational level: "…the principal affirms the supplementary education programmes, modules, individual programmes…" Problematic aspect: Lack of financial resources for supplementary education of immigrant children at schools.

Relevance of ethnic origin of the school. Positive aspect: For immigrant child is important to learn at the school, which has the same ethnic origins: ,,…we have no problems…because of children from Poland get into Polish environment…"; ,,…when the child does not speak in Lithuanian, he speaks perfectly in Russian…" Thus the more attention should be on more intensive learning of Lithuanian language. Problematic aspect: When immigrant child passes into school of national minorities (e.g., with Russian language) and he / she does not know the language of such school, the main focus is on development of skills in language of the school in order the child would adapt and socialize more effectively.

Ethnic differences. Problematic aspect: Immigrant children meet the ethnic differences then teachers and schoolchildren should ascertain that and be tolerant, e.g., eating etiquette and differences in nourishment and "…to explain in detail for immigrant child about our, national life style…" and about "…existing differences in mentality between foreign – born and Lithuanian children…" in order to facilitate the socialization of immigrant children.

Organization of educational process. Problematic aspects: specificity of education of immigrant children is dependent of job character and length of their parents in Lithuania. For example, when family came for short time then immigrant children are educated in small groups. For organization of education of immigrant children here exists a need to organize to establish the commission of special coordination. When children come from "near" foreign country, then teachers "…individualize informally the education and give the tasks and are attentive individually…" and those schoolchildren are integrated by learning "…with schoolmates according to general programme…" Positive aspect: Schools strive to organize the modular learning for immigrant children. But it is difficult to organize in parallel classes so why the modular education is often organized in one class (for one module is organized one group of five schoolchildren) and their attendance is compulsory and those modules are incorporated into the schedule.

Administration of educational process. Problematic aspect: realizing the integration of immigrant children the administration of schools have more work, "…because here is the order, which should be implemented…" Positive aspect: For children from ,,near " foreign country here are not created the individual educational programmes but are organized mobile groups to which the teachers are prepared the educational programmes: ,,…when the Ministry said that we may take from mobile groups those hours…then we established the mobile groups and created the programme…"

Lack of educational tools. Problematic aspects: For education of immigrant children schools lack the books and learning means – the books that are in Lithuanian language do not correspond the level of immigrant children in Lithuanian language; Lithuanian and immigrant children learn according different books of Lithuanian language; immigrant children should buy learning means, because of they are supplied only with books; learning means (e.g., compendiums of texts, notebooks) are not adequate to age of immigrant children.

Differences of educational specificity and system among countries. Problematic aspects: Differences of acquired knowledge, skills and capabilities as a result if different learning systems in various countries among primary school age schoolchildren (e.g., Israel, USA). When the child comes ,,…he / she plays, communicates, draws perfectly … but he / she do not have skills in reading, writing, counting…"; ,,…they know less of mathematics, sciences…". Evaluation criterions of learning programmes and subjects are not adequate in Lithuania and the country from which the child came also here exists a gap between learning subjects ,,…because of teachers do not teach approximately a half of subjects that are learned by Lithuanian schoolchildren…".

Establishment of individual programmes. Problematic aspects: Establishment of individual programmes is complicated because of here exists dependence among: (a) individual programmes, quality, teachers and the school; (b) content of individual programmes and schoolchild‘s capabilities and his / her motivation; (c) commission of the school, evaluation results of the teacher of Lithuanian language and content of individual programme; (d) level of individual programmes and level of child‘s knowledge. When here exists the gap in knowledge of immigrant child, the individual programmes are not established, and the teacher gives the individual attention to the child (it is as alternative to individual programme). Positive aspect: Establishment of individual programmes according to thematic plans is harmonized by deputy director of the school.

Specificity of individual education. Positive aspects: Striving to integrate the immigrant child more effectively ,,…into the class, life…" by performing the individual tasks with coordination of individual teacher and tariffing for them the payment according to worked hours and showing the individual attention to immigrant children, realizing the supplementary lessons, and also striving to vreate the adequate tasks to every schoolchild. Learning in junior classes is a premise for more effective integration of immigrant children.


1. Role of the school. Administrators of schools indicate the following peculiarities: organization of process of general education; realization of equalizing classes; dispense of hours for individual learning; preparation of immigrant child for life by warranting not only his / her learning but acquisition too; helping the immigrant child with integration to society; forming the individual programmes; evaluation of a need for supplementary lessons for immigrant child according to his / her age; informing the municipality about immigrant children; responsibility about integration of immigrant child by warranting his / her safety and education; integrating the immigrant children by receiving the additional financial resources and working with them individually; communication, interaction with immigrant children and their nurturing; organization of supplementary education by using the financial resources of the school what results the not adequate satisfaction of educational needs of other schoolchildren.

Representatives of municipalities indicate those functional roles of the school: informing the municipalities about the newcomers immigrant children and peculiarities of their education; organizing the commission for evaluation of the knowledge of immigrant children; evaluation of knowledge of immigrant schoolchildren that are acquired in their homeland and permanent evaluation of academic achievements of those children; organizing the possibilities to eliminate to differences among programmes of separate subjects; determining the terms and order of learning supplies; forming of the individual programmes, their assertion and differentiation and establishing of the schedule; making the possibilities for learning of native language of the immigrant child (according to wishes of the child); making the possibilities to learn intensively the Lithuanian (state) language; integrating the immigrant child.

In those functional role here is clear:

2. Role of the municipality. Representatives of school administration accentuate the following roles of the school in education of immigrant children: financing the supplementary lessons according to needs of immigrant children; organizing and financing the equalizing classes; bigger amount of schoolchild‘s „bag"; designing the additional hours for education of immigrant children in Lithuanian language; stipulating the methodical activities in town or region; establishment of international school; helping in striving for common solving of problems; organizing the utilization of ideas; organizing the evaluation of differences of knowledge of immigrant children by using the methodic and unified tests and establishment of unified system of evaluation of knowledge differences; organizing the meetings and courses for school administration and teachers about education of immigrant schoolchildren; establishment of the center of immigrant children that would solve the already existing problems – (a) teachers working at the center would reduce the need for correpetitors; (b) here would be possibilities to work with immigrant children in groups, but not individually; providing with educational methodical means; organizing the workshops and methodical courses for teachers in Lithuanian language, subject teachers and administration; providing with requisition that is needed; evaluating and predicting the attendance of immigrant children and their educational needs; researching the educational development of immigrant children; preparing the educational materials / supplies for education of immigrant children according to results of performed research studies.

Respondents indicated the limitations in collaboration between schools and municipalities: lack of initiativeness of municipalities; lack of help and ineffective actions of municipalities.

Municipalities characterize their role in such way:

3. Role of the Government. Representatives of school administration indicate also the role of Government in organizing the education of immigrant children: planning of financial resources for preparation of programmes in order to avoid the prognosticated and over often problems with the low motivated parents of immigrant children; forming the more detailed and more clear content of requisitions that are related to education of immigrant children.

4. Role of media, especially – professional. Representatives of school administration accentuate the following role of media in organization of education of immigrant children – publications of the special information about education of immigrant children.

5. Role of the teacher. Representatives of school administration note that the role of the teacher in education of immigrant children should include those elements: forming the individual programmes according to immigrant children age and work related to those children; being attentive individually to immigrant child; participating in commissions that evaluate the knowledge levels of immigrant children; realizing the testing; utilizing the information among teachers, especially in Lithuanian language.


Problems and difficulties. All research participants – immigrant schoolchildren – accentuated that the biggest problem for them is the language barrier, especially – Lithuanian language. Research highlighted that for immigrant children is difficult to read, write and speak in Lithuanian language. Interview results showed that for immigrant children, when they come into school because of the language barriers here are problems of adaptation. Limits of adaptation were temporal and now the respondents do not experience any problems of adaptation. For them is very important to communicate with other schoolchildren who also have the same experience. Also interview revealed that immigrant schoolchildren experience problems because of the inadequacy of programmes between countries. Programmes are individualized on the first years, but children noted that teachers do not give the special attention and do not give any individual tasks, but they do not think that it is a big problem. Also they mentioned that for them is enough of teachers attention and also they are happy that have strict teachers in Lithuanian language.

Help. Immigrant children receive help directly from their schoolmates, teachers and indirectly from parents (when learn the state language). Teachers help in learning process, and friends - in socialization. All respondents – immigrant schoolchildren – mentioned that other schoolchildren helped them to adapt, those who know the Lithuanian language and in some cases teachers helped too.

Safety of immigrant children. All respondents - immigrant schoolchildren – at Lithuanian secondary schools feel themselves safely. The analysis of interview revealed that the main problems that determine unsafety of immigrant children are the following: language barrier; complicated learning of Lithuanian language; inadequacies between programmes of different countries and non– individualized programmes.


What is the role of municipalities in organizing education of immigrant children?

Roles of the schools are the following:

Roles of municipalities as a hope for the future are the following:

What problems meet Lithuanian secondary schools and teachers in organization of education of immigrant children?

Teachers accentuate:

Administrations of schools note those problems:

Immigrant children note that:

Limits in education of imigrant children are the following: complicated education of immigrant children when they do not know the state language; the requirements are different then those in children’s homeland; in entering the school the main attention is focused on child’s age, but capabilities are not the ‘key’ aspect.

The qualities in education of imigrant children are those: adequate education methods, development of learning materials and books for immigrant children, active socio–cultural education.


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This document was added to the Education-Line database on 02 November 2006