Is there a difference in the general school experience of children who move to a new country with an entirely different culture and language, and children who immigrate to a country with a language and culture that is similar to their native culture? The existing literature has not directly addressed this question. Rather, the focus has been on language problems and other academic difficulties experienced by bilingual/bicultural children.
For example, research has focused on the use of language in the home and whether it is bilingual or monolingual (Krashen, 1982; Glazer, 1985; Rivers, 1987; Tikunoff, 1987; Suspanchek, 1989; Cloud, 1990; Figueroa, 1990); on the need for a multicultural curriculum in working with non-dominant culture students (Grant, 1985; Westby & Rouse, 1985; Banks, 1988) and on the misdiagnosis of bicultural/bilingual students as learning disabled (Ambert & Drew, 1982; Cummins, 1983, 1984; Ogbu, 1985; Barona & Santos de Barona, 1987; Baca & Cervantes, 1989; Carasquillo, 1990).
However, immigration has serious consequences that are not just limited to language and/or related academic difficulties (Phinney, 1991). As stated by Espin (1987):
The unique stresses created by the process of immigration into another country and the need for grieving the loss of the home country and loved ones are important psychological processes confronted by all immigrants and refugees. (Espin, 1987, p.489)
Espin goes on to note that additional side effects include feelings of strong grief, resentment, and/or anger over having been removed from their native environment which, for children, can affect their general experience in school. Concerning children, Espin reports that their experience of school in the new culture can also be affected by any attitudes about the host country and people which they pick up from their parents. For example, if parents convey the notion that move is only temporary and they will all be happ...