Teaching New-Comer Haitian Teens: An Exploratory Study of Middle School Mathematics Teachers’ Instructional Endorsement of Haitian Creole
The literature about Haitian immigrant children’s achievement in the United States and elsewhere is very limited, and so is the information regarding teachers’ viewpoints about these students’ achievement in relation to teachers’ practices. The present exploratory study’s purpose was to assess whether there was a relationship between middle school math teachers’ personal and professional background and constructs and their appraisals of new-comer Haitian teens’ (NCHT) learning outcomes. The mathematics teachers’ personal backgrounds include their fluency in Haitian Creole. Their professional background includes their years of experience teaching mathematics, as well as their years of academic preparation in teaching mathematics in Haitian Creole, and their constructs include their personal teaching efficacy, their approaches to instruction, their perception of administrative pressure to prepare for high stakes testing, and their instructional endorsement of Haitian Creole (IEHC). Findings from the quantitative analysis revealed that there is statistically significant evidence of associations between mathematics teachers’ fluency in Haitian Creole and their instructional endorsement of Haitian Creole, between mathematics teachers’ fluency in Haitian Creole and their appraisals of NCHT learning outcomes, between mathematics teachers’ years of experience and their instructional endorsement of Haitian Creole, between mathematics teachers’ years of academic preparation to teach math in Haitian Creole and their instructional endorsement of Haitian Creole, and between math teachers’ years of academic preparation to teach math in Haitian Creole and their appraisals of NCHT learning outcomes. The study’s findings revealed that 85 percent of the participants appraised NCHT mathematics learning outcomes at levels one or two, which is an indication that NCHT may be underachieving in math. The findings also revealed that some of these math teachers were involved in some manner of English instruction during their math lessons. These participants viewed Haitian Creole as a temporary mode of communication for NCHT. In TEACHING NEW-COMER HAITIAN TEENS 2 addition, teachers who had no academic preparation to teach math in Haitian Creole said that they either needed help to provide feedback or did not provide feedback in Haitian Creole to new-comer Haitian teens. Also, some participants in this study indicated that instruction in a new language may be a reason for the underachievement of NCHT. The researcher identified a need for policies that would promote the development of open source online math activities and math video games for new-comer Haitian teens. She also identified a need for a school-based organization that would support these students, their parents and the school community to improve the quality of their interactions. This research, which was conducted with a sample that included both non-speakers and speakers of Haitian Creole, makes an important contribution to the literature regarding teachers’ beliefs and practices when working with NCHT. For this study, the researcher created an Instructional Endorsement of Haitian Creole questionnaire which can be used in a wide range of contexts, including research and professional development activities to address issues associated with teachers’ instructional beliefs about Haitian Creole. The evidence of relationships among the variables in the study serves as an opportunity for this researcher to continue this work. This process may help fill the void that exists in the literature concerning teaching and learning experiences involving NCHT.