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ED 337 059 

FL 800 390 





Cumming, Alister; ftnd Others 

Learning ESL Literacy among Indo-Canadian Women. 
Final Report* 

Department of the Secretary of State, nttawa 
(Ontario). Multiculturalism Directorate. 
Jun 91 

Reports - Research/Technical (143) 



MF01/PCC2 Plus Postage. 

*Adult Literacy? Bilingual Students; Cultural 
Differences; ^English (Second Language); "Females; 
Immigrants; Minority Groups; Panjabi; *Second 
Language Instruction 
Canada; * Punjabis 


Educational issues were studied as related to women 

in one visible minority population in the Vancouver area — recent 
immigrants from the Punjab state in India. The 10-month demonstration 
project involving 13 participants is analyzed in terms of fiv* 
research topics; participation in the program, Punjabi-English 
biliteracy, classroom instruction and learning, long-term impacts of 
ESL literacy acquisition, and public information materials that 
affect their use among program participants. An effort was made to 
provide culturally relevant instruction and then assess it for its 
wider use. Curriculum decisions were made by the instructor in 
consultation with students, researchers, and an adv/.sory committee. 
Among the findings were that: (1) participation in the program was 
influenced by length of residence in Canada, family roles and 
support, knowledge of English, expectations for further education or 
work, and awareness of Canadian institutions; (2) uses of English and 
Punjabi literacy were differentiated according to social action 
domains; and (3) learning was affected by language code, self-control 
strategies, personal and social knowledge, and social experience. 
Appended are a list of the advisory committee and three 
Punjabi-English usage charts. Contains approximately 100 references. 
(Adjunct ERIC Clearinghouse on Literacy Education) (LB) 


* Reproductions supplied by EDRS are the best that can be made 

* from the original document* 

rnlng ESL 
I ndo-Ca n 

d lan Wom< 


Final Report 


Submitted to the Multiculturalism Sector, Department of 
the Secretary of State of Canada, June 1991 




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rePtOdWCtrOn Quit*!* 

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m«»nt (Jo not <v»ci***f'ty rf»p*«»*nt nt*«c »«! 
Of pp»*m>n o< y 

Dr. i'ister Cumming 
Department of Language Education 
University of British Columbia 

With Assistance from Jasvinder Gill, Raminder Dosanjh, 

and Catherine Ostler-Hovlett 






1 Purpose of This Report, and Related 
Publications 2 

2 Context of the Project 3 

2.1 Literacy and Adult Minority Populations . 4 

2.2 Women, Literacy, Culture, and Language . . 5 

2.3 Local Context 5 

3 Approach 6 

3.1 Participants 7 

3.2 Curriculum 8 

3.3 Data Collection and Analyses 8 

4 Participation in the Present Program 9 

4.1 Length of Residence 9 

4.2 Economic Positions 1C 

4.3 Family Roles and Support 10 

4.4 Future Employment Prospects 12 

4.5 English Literacy and Contact with the 
Majority Society 12 

4.6 Program Supports 13 

4.7 Implications for Educational and Social 
Policy 14 

5 Punjabi-English Biliteracy 16 

5.1 Domains of Literate Language Use .... 16 

5.2 Attitudes towards the Languages and 
Literacy 17 

5.3 Gender Roles and Socio-economic 
Positions 18 

5.4 Status of the Minority and Majority 
Languages 18 

5.5 Implications for Educational and Social 
Policy 19 

6 Classroom Instruction and Learning 20 

6.1 Language Code 20 

6.2 Self-control Strategies and Schemata for 
Reading and Writing 22 

6.3 Personal Knowledge 24 

6.4 Social Knowledge 25 

6.5 Social Experience 26 

6.6 Implications for Instruction 27 

7 Long-term Impacts 28 

7.1 Uses of English Literacy 29 

7.2 Indicators of Language Acquisition ... 30 

7.3 Implications for Instruction and Policy . 30 

8 Public Information Documents 31 

8.1 Frequently Encountered Text Types ... 32 

8.2 Difficult Aspects of Such Texts .... 32 


8.3 Principles for Preparing Appropriate Public 

Information Documents 33 

Appendix A Advisory Committee 43 

Appendix B Frequency of Reading in Punjabi and 

English, March 1990 44 

Appendix C Frequency of Writing in Punjabi and 

English, March 1990 45 

Appendix D Frequency of English Literacy Uses at 

Beginning of Project, End of Project, and 
Four Months Later 46 


ii 4 

X Purpose o £ This Report, an*3 
Related Publ icat i ons 

This document reports final analyses from the demonstration 
project, "Learning ESL Literacy among Indo-Canadian Women", 
funded by the Multiculturalism Sector, Department of the 
Secretary of State of Canada through a grant to Dr. Alister 
Cumming over 1989-90 at the Department of Language Education, 
University of British Columbia. An earlier progress report on 
the project was submitted to the Secretary of State in October, 
1989 outlining the logistical organization of the instructional 
program, characteristics of the participants in the instructional 
program, and the project's approaches to teaching, curriculum, 
and data collection. 

The present report describes findings for five questions 
(outlined in preliminary form in the 1989 progress report) 
central to the research aspects of the project: 

1. Participation in the PrAggnt Program. What motivated these 
women to participate in the present program of ESL literacy 
instruction? What factors facilitate or constrain their 
involvement in learning English and literacy formally? How 
might these factors be addressed in education or social 

2- Pnniahi-Engi uh Bi \ iteragy. How are participants 1 uses of 
literacy differentiated across Punjabi and English? What 
are the implications of this differentiation for social and 
educational policy? 

3. Claasroom Tnfitrcphion and Learning. What kinds Of 
knowledge do participants use in classroom settings to 
construct the processes of acquiring ESL literacy? What 
implications arise for other ESL literacy programs? 

4. T.nn^-fprm Tmparr.a. what are the long-term impacts of ESL 
literacy acquisition on participants' lives? What changes 
are evident in individuals' lives over the 6 month period 
of instruction, as could be attributed to improved language 
and literacy? Do these impacts warrant investment of 
educational resources in this kind of instruction? 

5. Pnhl tf? information Documents . What features of existing 
instructional and public information materials facilitate 
and/or constrain uses of these resources among program 
participants? What principles might be proposed to assist 
community service workers and educators in preparing 
printed materials (e.g., information pamphlets) which are 
accessible to individuals with limited ESL literacy? 

- 2 - 


Some information related to these research questions has 
already appeared in published papers and conference 
presentations. Articles on the project to date include: 

an account of the project's curriculum rationale (Cumming, 

analyses of participants* uses of English-Punjabi 
bilitcracy and implications for adult literacy curricula 
(Cumming, 1991a); 

analyses of factors affecting the women's parr icipation in 
formal ESL literacy instruction (Cumming & Gill, 1991a); 

- analyses of participants' classroom learning processes and 
long-term achievements in ESL literacy (Cumming & Gill, 
1991b) . 

Conference presentations of these papers have been made 
provincially at the Annual Convention of B.C. Teachers of English 
as an Additional Language (B.C. TEAL) in Vancouver in 1989 and in 
1990; nationally at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Council on 
Multicultural and Inter-cultural Education (CCMIE) <n Ottava in 
1990; and internationally at the Annual Meeting of the American 
Educational Research Association (AERA) in Chicago in 1991. 
Findings from the project are also being synthesized with other 
related research to describe problems of adult immigrants to 
North America gaining "Access to Literacy" (Cumming, 1991c). 

Context o £ the Project 

The present project aimed to gather and analyze Information 
to understand better educational issues related to the situation 
of women among one visible minority population in Vancouver, 
Canada — recent immigrants from the Indian state of the Punjab--to 
develop and assess appropriate approaches to assist in their 
learning of English and of literacy, and to make recommendations 
of a more general nature, based on findings in the one case, for 
educational and social policy to serve this particular population 
in the future. The project took an "action research" approach to 
a complex set of socio-educational problems: many local adult 
education programs were perceived as inappropriate for Indo- 
Catadian women, and their participation in such programs was 
evidently constrained (Burnaby, 1989; Cumming, 1991b; Jackson, 
1987; Selman, 1979), Indo-Canadian women's access to social 
services and work opportunities appeared limited locally 
(Jc.ckson, 1987; Perrin, 1980; Thompson, Sanghera & Mroke, 1986) 
as> well as generally in Canada (Anderson & Lynam, 1987; Beiser et 
al. 1988; Belfiore & Heller, 1988; P. Cumming, Lee, & Oreopoulos, 


~ 3 " fi 

1989; Jenkinson et al. f n.d.; Seward & McDade, 1988), and 
demographic trends shoved a large, disproportionate population of 
immigrant women, a figure almost double that of males, who speak 
neither English or French accumulating in B.C. (Cumming, 1991b) 
and nationally (Boyd, 1990; Pendakur & Ledoux, 1991; Seward & 
McDade, 1988). 


The "action" taken was to create an educational context 
which made significant efforts to provide culturally-relevant 
instruction for a small number of Indo-Canadian women then to 
assess its processes and outcomes in case study fashion — as a 
"demonstration" of possible educational practices and as a means 
of revealing situational constraints on their access to literacy. 
This approach follows initiatives reported for Hispanophones 
(Delgado-Gaitan, 1987; Moll, 1989; Moll & Diaz, 1987), native 
Havailans (Au et al., 1986), and Haitians (Auerbach, 1990) in the 
U.S. as well as various other minority cultures internationally 
(Auerbach, 1989; Skutnabb-Kangas & Cummins, 1988). Particular 
concerns in the present project were (a) creating an 
instructional environment suitable to the situations and 
characteristics of one distinct minority population not usually 
served by conventional adult education, (b) documenting 
participants' efforts to teach and learn a second language and 
literacy concurrently in classroom settings, and (c) assessing 
the impact of language and literacy acquisition on participants* 
1 i ves . 

2.1 Literacy and Adult Minority Populations 

Little systematic research has addressed issues of learning, 
instruction or social adaptation among adult immigrant 
populations needing to acquire literacy and the majority language 
in industrialized countries despite long-standing recognition of 
this complex educational situation in Canada, the .'.S., and 
Europe (Bell, 1990; D'Anglejan, Renaud, Arseneault, & Lortie, 
1984; Hornberger, 1989; Klein & Dittmar, 1979; Penfield, 1986; 
Perdue, 1984; Richmond, Kalbach, & Verma, 1980; Wallerstein, 
1983; weinstein, 1984). Recent educational inquiry on this topic 
has advocated approaches which are sensitive to the local 
situations of particular ethnic populations — given ne diversity 
of cultural, linguistic, and contextual factors which obtain and 
interact in any one circumstance (Auerbach, 1989, 1990; Burnaby, 
1989; Dubin, 1989; Giltrow & Colhoun, 1989; Skutnabb-Kangas & 
Cummins, 1989). 

Moreover, considerable attention has focused on the need to 
distinguish relations between language acquisition, literacy 
acquisition, and cultural adaptation among such populations — 
factors which would appear to vary with other variables such as 
cultural values, linguistic differences, institutional 
structures, ethnic attitudes, or literacy in the mother tongue 
(Bell, 1990; Cumming, 1989; Delgado-Gaitan, 1987; Fishman, 



- 4 - 


Riedlerberger, Koling & Steele, 1985; Giltrov & Colhoun, 1989; 
Hammond, 1989; Hornberger. 1989; Klassen, 1988; Mastai, 1980; 
Sticht, 1988; Wallerstein, 1983; Weinsteln, 1984). Virtually all 
of this previous research has charged that general programs of 
ESL literacy instruction are inadequate to serve the needs of 
many specific immigrant populations (cf. Employment and 
Immigration Canada, 1990; Employment and Immigration Advisory 
Council, 1991). However, very little of this research has been 
able to demonstrate precisely how educational practices or policy 
should be organized to resolve this dilemma. 

2.2 Women, Literacy, Culture, and Language 

For immigrant women, problems of literacy learning, language 
acquisition, and cultural adaptation often combine with demands 
to maintain household and diverse family responsibilities, 
preserve traditional cultural roles, and work to supplement a 
family income. Such demands suggest specific needs for adult 
education and social services, needs which have largely gone 
unacknowledged in policy and research, despite recent efforts to 
address these needs in certain case studies (e.g., Rockhill, 
1990; van Dijk, 1990), instructional materials (e.g., Barndt, 
Cristall & Marino 1982; Warren, 1986), orientation materials 
(e.g., Jenkinson et al., n.d.; Thompson, Sanghera & Mroke, 1986), 
and more general syntheses of sociological or educational 
information (e.g., Boyd, 1990; Stromquist, 1989). 

Such efforts have generally pointed toward the distinct 
barriers to social participation imposed upon immigrant women who 
may have limited literacy and proficiency in the majority 
language, who emigrate from societies with cultural values which 
differ visibly from the host society, who live within minority 
populations with strong tendencies to preserve their ethnic 
heritage, religion, and traditions, and who are primarily charged 
with responsibilities for child care and household tasks within a 
home environment. These factors appear especially critical among 
populations in Canada such as first generation Sikh immigrants 
from the Punjab, who in Gibson's (1988) terms have arfTO"»"oflated 
well to North American society with very little cultural 
assimilation , or in Balakrishnan and Kralt's (1987) term have 
formed visibly segregated populations within certain Canadian 
cities, and for whom limited literacy and traditional cultural 
roles among women are prevalent trends in the country of origin 
(Rao, 1979; Stromquist, 1989). 

2.3 Local Context 

The present project addressed the situation of Punjabi women 
in Vancouver, Canada, where a large Sikh population from the 
Indian state of the Punjab has established itself (numbering 


- 5 - 


about 26,000 within the greater Vancouver area; 1986 Census) in 
recent decades while retaining many cultural practices and 
values. The area of Vancouver selected for the project had a 
concentration of over 3,000 people whose mother tongue is 
Punjabi, forming about 18% of the total population of 17,000 in 
this one sector of the city (City of Vancouver, 1989). This 
working-to-middle class neighbourhood has visibly accommodated 
the Indian culture, as evidenced by numerous ethnic stores and 
services, but is also the site of local ethnic tensions (Cumming, 
1991b; Robson & Breems, 1985). Although little direct 
information on the composition of the local population is 
available, data from local surveys (Cumming, 1991b; Per*. *n, 1980) 
and the 1986 census of Canada (Cumming, 1991b; Pendakur > Ledoux, 
1991; Seward & McDade, 1988) suggest this Punjabi-Canadian 
population could be expected to contain about twice as many women 
as men who do not speak English, the majority of whom might have 
had only five to twelve years of schooling in India before 
immigrating to Canada, have possessed lev distinct occupational 
skills, and have landed in Canada over the past decade to enter 
"arranged marriages" with husbands already residing in Vancouver. 

3 Approach 

Bilingual ES^ literacy classes and child care services were 
offered free of charge two afternoons per week over six months 
(September 1989 to March 1990) to Punjabi-speaking women at a 
non-profit agency with an established reputation for community 
service in the neighborhood. Eighteen women volunteered at the 
start of the program; among them, thirteen women were judged to 
form a relatively homogeneous class with limited English 
proficiency and limited literacy in their native Punjabi. Five 
women were excluded from participation because they had virtually 
no English proficiency and very limited literacy in Punjabi or 
they were Hindi (rather than Punjabi) speakers. Of the thirteen 
volunteers who started the ESL literacy classes, nine continued 
for four months, and six completed the duration of the program. 
Attrition was due to family relocations, participants taking 
full-time empxoyment, and one severe illness. 

All participants initially responded to a television 
interview with the course instructor (Raminder Dosanjh, herself 
an immigrant from the Punjab who usually taught ESL at a local 
college) aired in Punjabi on a local multicultural channel, 
although newspaper, poster, and radio notices were also used to 
publicize the project. Each participant provided informed 
consent for the research in response to a tape-recorded and 
written protocol describing the project in Punjabi and English. 
Community involvement in the project was obtained through an 
advisory committee with representatives of thirteen educational 
and service agencies working with the adult Indo-Canadian 
population in the city (See Appendix A). 


- 6 - 

3.1 Participants 

The 13 participating women used Punjabi as their dominant 
language in almost all home and social situations, were ages 23 
to 31, had spent 3 to 13 years in Canada, had completed 9 to 12 
iears of school in India, had 1 to 3 children, had husbands 
employed as laborers or technicians who had lived in Canada most 
or all of their lives, and had annual family incomes of 
$19,000-966,000 (including income from family businesses). None 
of the women had previously taken formal courses of any kind in 
Canada, despite their lengthy periods of residence. Several of 
the women held part-time jobs in janitorial, restaurant, packing, 
or agricultural work, though none were skilled positions. All of 
the women indicated they wished to improve their English literacy 
in order to gain more personal independence, interact with the 
majority society, and obtain further education or "clean" work 
{e.g. clerical or sales jobs). All indicated they had no more 
time to devote to English or literacy studies than about six 
hours per week of classes because of responsibilities to 
immediate and extended families and part-time work. Tht: majority 
brought pre-school children to the classes, having no other means 
of relieving themselves of child care responsibilities. Two 
Punjabi-speaking child care workers were employed over most of 
the duration of the project. 

Initial assessments showed these women spoke English with 
very limited proficiency (X=1.5 on a iscale of 4) (e.g., very 
restricted vocabularies, accents which interfered with 
comprehension, difficulty maintaining conversations), were able 
to write short phrases in English but hardly able to compose 
extended texts, and read with limited comprehension in their 
mother tongue (3T=46%, s.d.=15.2 on a text recall task, compared 
to a sample of 5 Punjabi translators, journalists, and teachers 
who scored X=81%, s.d.*4.1). Correlational analysis of the 
initial assessments showed a moderate relation between the 
women's years of residence in Canada and their ESL proficiency (r. 
= .6), indicating those who had resided longer in Canada tended 
to have more proficiency in English. But no correspondences 
emerged between the women's English proficiency and their 
literacy skills in Punjabi (r. =.2), their years of schooling in 
India and levels of Punjabi literacy (z. = -.2) nor ESL 
proficiency (r. = -.4), nor their Punjabi literacy and period of 
residence in Canada (r. = .3). 

No claims can be made that these volunteer participants 
represented the larger population of Punjabi women immigrants in 
Vancouver. But their profiles do suggest these women were 
characteristic of the adult female population in Canada which 
demographic studies have indicated are especially in need of ESL 
literacy education (see Boyd, 1990; Cumming, 1991b; Pendakur & 
Ledoux, 1991; Seward & McDade, 1988). 



- 7 - 


3.2 Curriculum 

Curriculum decisions were determined by the instructor in 
consultation with students about their interests and perceived 
learning needs, along with some input and feedback from the 
researchers and advisory committee. (Cumming [19901 describes the 
curriculum rationale in detail.) Units of study focused on 
libraries, public health services, banking services, children's 
schools, and job search strategies, each forming periods of 
approximately one month of content-focused instruction (in a 
manner akin to Brinton, Snow & Wesche, 1989's notion of "theme- 
based" language teaching). Instruction used aspects of reciprocal 
modeling (Brown & Palinscar, 1989) and cooperative Inquiry 
(Bereiter & Scardamalla, 1987) in various reading, vriting, and 
conversation tasks related to the curriculum themes, including 
frequent visits by guest Informants and field experiences. This 
approach vas supplemented by more conventional ESL exercises 
developed or chosen by the instructor from existing materials. 
Readings and other literate tasks (such as pamphlets, newspaper 
articles, forms, letters) were mostly contributed by 
participating students or gathered during field experiences at 
relevant institutions. Classes were taught primarily in English, 
supplemented by some Punjabi for explanations of terms or 
concepts or peer-group identification (much in the same manner as 
Guthrie & Guthrie [1987] describe for Chinese-English bilingual 
classes ) . 

3.3 Data Collection and Analyses 

All classes were documented through participant-observation 
by one of the researchers (Jaswinder Gill, who is female, 
bilingual in Punjabi and English, and a second generation Indo- 
Cinadian), producing written records of all classroom events as 
direct transcriptions of selected spoken interactions, 
observational records made during classes, or reflective accounts 
after tutoring groups of the students or teaching occasional 
classes. This approach combined methods of classroom observation 
(Breen, 1985; Chaudron, 1988) and narrative inquiry (Connelly & 
Clandinin, 1990). These data were analyzed impressionistically 
to establish generally how students and the instructor 
collectively constructed the process of literacy and language 
learning . 

In addition, all participants were interviewed individually 
at the start of the program, at three intervals of two months 
over the period of instruction, then again four months after the 
period of instruction. These interviews used a fixed schedule of 
open-ended questions and self-reports of frequency of reading and 
writing a comprehensive range of text types in Punjabi and 
English (adapted and extended from Griffiths A Wells, 1983). 

- 8 - 



Responses to the interviews were tape-recorded in Punjabi, 
transcribed and translated into English, and then coded with a 
second coder (97% agreement on a randomly selected 10% of the 
data ) . 

4 Part i c 1 pat i on in the Present 

What prompted these Indo-Canadian women to participate 
in the present program of ESL literacy instruction? 
What factors facilitate or constrain their involvement 
in learning English and literacy formally? How might 
these factors be addressed in education or social 

The women's decisions to participate in the classes at this 
time related to a complex set of facilitating and constraining 
factors including their length of residence in Canada, current 
economic positions, family roles and support, knowledge of 
English and literacy, expectations for further education or work, 
and awareness of educational and other public institutions in 
Canada. These factors interacted v^th features of th* ESL 
program which was designed particularly for this population: an 
instructor from the same ethnolinguistic community and gender, 
on-site child care services; use of Punjabi for administrative 
and explanatory purposes in the classes; study of topics relevant 
to participants' life experiences (e.g. health care services, job 
search strategies, children's schools); and an environment of 
peers of common gender and backgrounds in their local 

These issues are especially important in view oi remarks 
made frequently to the project workers that the Indo-Canadian 
female population was among the most difficult "to get to come 
out to ESL or literacy classes" and the fact that the present 
women had resided in Canada for an average of seven years before 
entering formal programs of adult education. As such, we 
consider the present thirteen women to represent the "cutting 
edge" of larger populations of immigrant women whose 
circumstances lie precariously between being able or, not able to 
participate in formal education in Canada. 

4.1 Length of Residence 

At first the baby was too young and I did not really 
know too much about Canada. I was busy getting settled 
and learning about things, and I was getting used to my 
husband and his family. 


A major factor in the women's decisions to participate in 
the present program vas their length of residence in Canada. 
Unlike the stereotype of the "newcomer" to North America, who 
might seek language training shortly after arrival, these women 
had lived in Canada for an average of seven years (a range of 1 
to 13 years) and almost equivalent periods of marriage. During 
this period of initial settlement the women saw their priorities 
as organizing a new home life, getting to know a husband and his 
family, and raising at least one child to school age. After 
having established a sense of security in their home/lives and 
family routines, these women then reached a point where they 
could begin to consider their personal development, individual 
social circumstances, and future opportunities. As for many 
women in the developing world, education was perceived to be a 
luxury after family and other household priorities had been met 
(Rao, 1979; Stromquist, 1989). 

4.2 Economic Positions 

I told my husband about the other classes, and he said 
I should take them. I told him about the fees, but 
tuis was not a problem. He doesn't worry too much 
about expenses. I have a visa card, and he tells me I 
should use it. There are no problems with money or 
transportation. I just need to take more classes. 

Economic stability also facilitated the women's decisions to 
participate in language classes. Their husbands' work was 
prospering under a local economic boom, yielding average family 
incomes of about $40,000, slightly above the mean for the local 
area and the province. All but two of the women's families owned 
their own large, well-furnished, modern homes (at an average 
value of $250,000) and had one automobile. The two women with 
lower family incomes were the only two who had been in Canada 
less than five years; they lived in rented basement suites. 
Unlike the other eleven women, their husbands had immigrated to 
Canada with them and had not yet had time to establish businesses 
or well-paving work. At the start of the research, only one of 
these women worked on & regular basis, although during the 
progress of the program, three of the women took full-time jobs- 
out of personal choice rather than economic necessity. Even 
though course fees were not charged for the present program, a?l 
but two of the women insisted they had sufficient financial 
resources to pay fees for other courses. 

4.3 Family Roles and Support 

My father - in-lav sometimes says that I should take care 
of the baby now, then take classes when she Is older. 
But my husband doesn't mind. He wants me to study more 

- 10 - 


so that A can carry my own weight. It is really up to 
me . 

Traditional family roles exerted a major influerce on the 
women's decisions to participate in the classes as well as their 
capacities to study at home or to interact with thr majority 
society. All of the women reported that their husbands and 
husband's families had greater control over their personal lives 
than they had themselves, a conventional situation in the 
patriarchal society of their country of origin. Expectations or 
commitments to child care, extended families, and visiting 
relatives consumed most of the women's time, making studies for 
more than two afternoons per week all but impractical. Likewise, 
their husbands assumed responsibilities for most family financial 
tasks, major purchases, and institutional interactions, further 
restricting the extent and quality of interaction that the women 
had with the majority society. 

Interestingly, the majority of these women (including the 
six who completed the program) had husbands who had lived in 
Canada or England for more than ten years prior to the women's 
immigration, and most of these men had been educated in British 
or Canadian schools. Correspondingly, the men's attitudes toward 
their wives' personal situations appeared more progressive than 
may be typical of more recent Indo-Canadian immigrants. All of 
the women said that their husbands supported and assisted them in 
their language studies, most wanted their wives to take on more 
responsibilities for family businesses or household tasks such as 
banking or shopping, and some volunteered to look after their 
children if their wives enrolled in evening classes. At the same 
time, however, the husbands' familiarity and contacts with 
Canadian society implicitly reduced the women's needs to leave 
their homes or to interact with English-dominant institutions or 
services. Moreover, several of the women noted that their 
husbands sometimes teased tr.*sm about the value of their further 
education as it was a process conventionally reserved for males. 

Two other factors within their home situations may have also 
influenced the women's participation in the program. First, only 
one of the women actually lived with her extended family (father- 
in-law and mother-in-law), a situation which would be 
conventional in India and for many immigrant women in Canada. 
This situation reduced the obligations that most of the women may 
otherwise have had to attend regularly to their husband's family 
members. A second factor was that most of the women had children 
who were in public school or were about to start. This 
circumstance created pressures to communicate with their 
children's teachers, incentives from children to read to them or 
talk about their school activities, and assistance from the 
children with the women's studies in English (see Ghuman [1980) 
for similar examples in British contexts). The women's school- 
age children proved to be quite fluent in English, regularly 
communicating with their fathers and peers in English. Homes with 



- 11 - 

school-age children had considerably more English reading 
material than the homes of women with only younger children. 

Arranging suitable child care was the major constraint that 
the women reported on their not having attended any kind of 
formal education previously in Canada. All of the women with 
young children said they were not willing to leave their children 
in a day care center or with a baby sitter who was not an 
immediate family member (i.e. mother or mother-in-law) while they 
attended classes. The program employed two Indo-Canadian child 
care workers throughout the duration of the classes, who looked 
after six children on average in a room adjoining the women's 
classroom. This arrangement apparently satisfied che six 
mothers, who saw on-site, culturally-appropriate child care as a 
necessary requirement for their continuing participation in the 
classes . 

4 . 4 Future Employment Prospects 

I need to speak enough to get a good job. I want to 
find a good job, not doing dirty work as a uanitor or 
in a kitchen. If I'm going to work, it has to be worth 
my while. I'm not going to leave my children for a 
minimum wage job. 

The women's personal aspirations for improving their English 
literacy were to gain greater individual independence, obtain 
meaningful employment, and to further their education through 
job-training programs. Most of the women had worked at part-time 
laboring jobs in the past, such as packing, dish washing, or 
janitorial work. However, none of the women wished to continue 
with this kind of "dirty" work at irregular hours, given their 
financial security and family priorities. Although the women did 
not articulate specific career or vocational goals, they were 
aware of the instrumental value of proficiency in the majority 
language for career opportunities (Gardner, 1985) as well as the 
potential economic advantage of knowing the majority language 
(Richmond, Kalbach & Verma, 1983). 

4.5 English Literacy and Contact with the Majority 

In the stores I can ask for things, things that I would 
not ask about before. Now I talk to people in line- 
ups. I used to get really shy and say simple things 
like yes or no. Before I used to say so little on the 
phone. I'd just get a name and a number from the 
people calling my husband. Nov I try to get a complete 
message and write it down. 

At the start of the program, all the women's lives were 
remarkably restricted to interactions in Punjabi in their homes 
and with their immediate families. All of the vomen were able to 
speak and read some English to a very limited extent, i.e. brief 
conversational exchanges with restricted vocabularies and 
conspicuous accents and grammatical errors. None of the vomen 
had any English-speaking friends or regular acquaintances. Only 
one woman reported speaking occasionally to a neighbor in 
English, the woman who was working said she sometimes spoke to 
the security guard or representative of the contracting company 
at her janitorial job, and several others said that people 
sometimes spoke to them in English on the street about their 
babies. Their informal contacts with the majority society, 
however, varied considerably from one woman whose husband did all 
of the family grocery shop and banking to another who did all of 
her family's shopping and her own banking. In terms of mobility, 
ten of the women had a driver's license and regular use of a car; 
two women obtained their learners' permits during the progress of 
the program, an achievement they considered would have a major 
impact in reducing their sense of isolation and dependence on 
others . 

As the women improved their English literacy over the 
duration of the program, their self-confidence visibly increased, 
reinforcing their commitments to language studies and greater 
personal independence. As reported below, the women's frequency 
of reading in English, communications with their children's 
schools, and use of the telephone in English increased 
dramatically from about once per month at the start of the 
research to almost daily ten months later. The women's lack of 
familiarity with public institutions and services in Canada was a 
particularly conspicuous aspect of their limited integration into 
the majority society. As the ESL classes introduced the women to 
local libraries, public health and employment services, banking 
routines, and schooling, their knowledge and use of these 
facilities also increased (see section 4 below). 

4.6 Program Supports 

I feel okay because the teacher knows my language and 
customs, and the other women in the class are doing the 
same thing as me. I can practice speaking and reading 
English, but I can ask questions in Punjabi and get an 
answer. Now I am ready to try other classes. 

The women's decisions to participate in formal education at 
this time were also shaped by several features of the particular 
program of ESL literacy instruction provided, features which were 
not available in other ESL or literacy programs locally, making 
other such programs virtually inaccessible for the vomen. As 
noted above, a principal program support was on-site child care 
by other Indo-Canadian women. Of equal importance was 

- 13 - 


instruction from an experienced teacher who was a member of the 
women's ethnic community, cognizant of their social situations, 
willing to accommodate their initial, traditional expectations 
for teacher-centered instruction, and able to communicate with 
them in their mother tongue when necessary or appropriate for 
administrative purposes or clarification. All of the women also 
remarked that the location of the ESL literacy program in their 
neighborhood was another factor which prompted them to attend 
these classes. 

The content of the curriculum was also perceived to be 
relevant to the women's intentions as its major topics were 
developed in consultation with participants and involved 
orientation and field experiences to local cons mity services 
such as libraries, public health, banking and employment services 
and children's schools; functional conversation skills and 
strategies; and reading of newspaper articles, public information 
brochures, and stories linked to the women's personal concerns 
and interests. A final program support was the solidarity of 
studying with other women in similar circumstances and from 
common ethnic backgrounds. In sum, the women considered these 
factors to be appropriate to this initial phase of their 
participation in education in Canada, although such program 
supports obviously served only a "bridging function", a 
preliminary step toward more extensive participation in other 
forms of adult education and functions within the majority 
soci ety. 

4.7 Implications for Educational and Social Policy 

These analyses indicate that gender and ethnicity are 
fundamental considerations to be accounted for in conceptualizing 
motivation to learn a second language as well as language program 
curricula and policies for adult minority populations. In 
particular, more contextually-grounded research is needed to 
refine current notions of "motivation" and "accessibility" to 
language and literacy instruction, since these notions are 
currently formulated in terms which are largely irrelevant to the 
situations of immigrant women. For example, theories of 
participation in formal adult education (e.g. Tinto, 1975; Stage, 
1989) have sought generalizations for majority populations in 
reference to their withdrawal from formal programs. Consequently 
their data fail to account adequately for minority populations 
and not at all for people not already engaged in formal 
education . 

Likewise, theories of the motivation to study second 
languages have been framed largely in reference to the schooling 
of majority language children or adolescents, particularly for 
the learning of languages not spoken in the local community 
(e.g., Gardner, 1985, 1988; D rnyei, 1990), or in reference to 
linguistic features appearing in adult immigrants' speech (Klein 



- 14 - 


& Ditttmar, 1979; Perdue, 1984; Schumann, 1978). Although some 
theories have begun to account for the influences of social 
milieu, intergroup relations, and ethnic vitality on the language 
acquisition of immigrant populations (Bourhis, 1990; Clement & 
Kruidenier, 1983; Edwards, 1985; Giles & Byrne, 1982; Richmond, 
Kalbach, & Verma, 1983; Schumann, 1978), little documentation 
exists to describe how adult immigrants experience these 
processes personally, hov these processes vary with specific 
cultural groups, or how they relate to educational policies 
(Crookes & Schmidt, 1989; Giltrow & Colhoun, 1989; Schmidt, 
1983) . 

To simply generalize motivational factors for all immigrant 
populations alike, as in most current educational policies in 
Canada, implies ignoring fundamental factors in the present group 
of women's capacities to participate in language education, 
particularly their family roles, instrumental motivations for 
contact with the majority society and to pursue employment 
opportunities, and period of residence needed to establish home 
routines, economic stability and settle into North American 
society. Similarly, policies for adult language education which 
fail to account for these factors in the form of culturally- 
appropriate child care, bilingual instruction, and relevant 
curricula would effectively prohibit the present group of women 
access to such education. Given these constraints, little wonder 
that demographics show the immigrant male population in Canada 
acquiring the majority language far more rapidly and extensively 
compared to the immigrant female population (Boyd, 1990; Cumming, 
1991b; Seward & McDade, 1988). 

The factors identified above conform to Spanard's (1990, pp. 
340-341) summary of affective and situational barriers which 
generally prevent access to programs of higher education: 
institutional barriers (location, schedules, fees, campus 
"friendliness"), situational barriers (job commitments, home 
responsibilities, lack of money, lack of child care, and 
transportation problems), and psycho-social barriers (attitudes, 
beliefs, and values; self-esteem; opinions of others; and past 
experiences as a student). However, virtually all of these 
barriers take on a unique quality for the present population by 
virtue of the women's gender-determined roles within their 
families, particular ethnic values, and minority cultural status 
in the local community. At the same time, this case study 
provides a useful counter-example to certain notions commonly 
guiding most educational programing for adult language 
instruction: that immigrants' motivation to learn a majority 
language occurs in the initial years of settlement, that 
opportunities to acquire such a language will occur spontaneously 
through informal contact with the majority society, and that 
language training should take a generic-skills approach which is 
not sensitive to the cultures or situations of specific 
populat ions . 


Pun jabi -Engl ish Bi 1 i teracy 

How are participants' uses of literacy differentiated 
across Punjabi and English? What are the implications 
of this differentiation for social and educational 
pol icy? 

To a great extent, the women's uses of literacy in English 
and Punjabi were differentiated according to the domains of 
social interaction in which they usually engaged, although mixing 
of the two languages existed in several domains. To understand 
this differentiation, one needs to consider not only the women's 
uses of literacy in their social routines but also their 
attitudes toward both languages, the status of these languages 
locally, and the women's gender roles and socio-economic 
positions. With these factors in mind, implications for 
educational and social policy can be suggested for this one 
population, although other combinations of these factors among 
other minority language populations probably create different 
policy implications for other immigrant groups in Canada (e.g., 
see Giltrow & Colhoun, 1989 's analysis of Mayan-Canadians in 
Vancouver; Klassen, 1938's analysis of Hispanophone Canadians in 
Toronto; Mastai, 1980's analysis of Israel i-Canadidns in 
Vancouver ) . 

5.1 Domains of Literate Language Use 

Specific information on the women's uses of literacy across 
English and Punjabi for particular literate tasks in their daily 
lives are displayed for reading tasks in Appendix B and for 
writing tasks in Appendix C at the point where the project's 
classes finished (March 1990). For comparison over the one-year 
period of the research, Appendix D shows how the women's 
frequency of using English literacy changed from the start of the 
program (September 1989), to the completion of their classes 
(March 1990), then four months later (August 1990). Analyses of 
these long-term changes depicted in Appendix D are discussed 
under section 4 below. 

The women most frequently read in English, with the distinct 
exception of religious texts which were read in Punjabi. English 
reading dominated most personal (e.g. letters), commercial (e.g. 
advertisements), and public information (e.g. newspapers) 
domains, but the women also read in Punjabi frequently in these 
domains and in some instances (e.g. information brochures and 
notices) with equal frequency in both languages. In contrast, 
their writing was more distinctly situated in English, although 
the women wrote much less oft*n than they read. When thpy did 
write in Punjabi, it was most];' as letters to family or friends 
or as notes to themselves. Th_ir writing in English was mainly 



- 16 - 


formulaic (signatures, forms, lists, notes) except for diaries or 
poems which several individuals vrote privately. 


Overall, the distribution of these uses of biliteracy formed 
separate domains for religious purposes and relations vith 
immediate and extended family in Punjabi, vhereas the women 
performed wider communications most frequently in English and 
secondarily in Punjabi. This differentiation conforms to a 
framework proposed by Goody (1986) which suggests that literate 
uses of language develop and are demarcated in relation to major 
social institutions, such as religion., Q&w&ZCS., th&. state , and 
the law . Goody's typology can be extended to include the domains 
of f ami i y and erinr-at \ nn on the basis of research on uses of 
bilingualism in such domains among Hispanophone minorities in the 
U.S. and Canada (Fishman, Cooper & Ma, 1971; Klassen, 1988; 
Sanchez, 1983). 

Within this framework, the present women's uses of Puniahi 
1 \ tprary can be said to apply mainly to the home and religious 
domains along with some uses for commerce. Their Engl tffh 
\ \ ti»rary was reserved for commercial and educational domains 
along with some family interactions (e.g. in reference to their 
children's schools). It is worth noting, however, that at the 
start of this project these women had almost no literate 
interactions with the state or the legal systems, no prior 
interactions with educational systems in Canada (except 
indirectly through their children), and surprisingly few 
commercial literate interactions in either language. This 
pattern reveals a distinct social isolation — embodied in the 
women's limited literacy and English proficiency but reflecting 
their general confinement to household and family domains of 

5.2 Attitudes towards the Languages and Literacy 

An original Intention of the project was to alternate 
instruction in English and Punjabi on separate days to assess the 
transfer of literacy learning across languages. However, it 
quickly became apparent that the participating women v nted to 
focus their studies on acquiring literacy in English by 
practicing spoken English during the classes; they had little 
interest in developing their Punjabi literacy beyond its present 
state. Consequently, plans for Punjabi literacy instruction were 
abandoned, although spoken Punjabi was used to facilitate 
specific instructional tasks in about 10% of class time 
throughout the project (much in the same manner as Guthrie & Pung 
Guthrie [19871 document for a Chinese bilingual classroom in 
California—see section 3 below). 

initial interviews with the 18 women who initially 
registered for the instructional program made clear that their 
main intentions for improving their literacy and English were to 

- 17 - 

* 20 

interact more extensively with the English-speaking population in 
Vancouver, to perform specific tasks independently in English 
(e.g. banking, major purchases, interact with their children's 
schools), and either to obtain employment requiring more English 
literacy (i.e. not menial labor) or to enter English-medium 
training programs which would enable them to upgrade their 
employment qualifications. All felt that their existing Punjabi 
literacy based on their schooling in India (ranging from 9 to 12 
years) was sufficient for their present life circumstances. In 
regards English literacy, the women expressed far more interest 
in improving their reading and functional conversational 
vocabulary rather than writing. 

All the women stated their desire to move out of life 
routines in which they were essentially bound to their homes and 
family obligations, routines which occurred almost exclusively in 
Punjabi. Acquiring greater literacy in English was perceived to 
be a means to achieve this goal. Developing greater Punjabi 
literacy, conversely, would have implied elaborating the very 
social roles of housebound wives and mothers that these women 
wished to move away from. In this regard, the acquisition of 
English literacy held a social esteem distinct from Punjabi 
literacy, and English was associated with the domain of 
education, making equation of the two languages as objects of 
instruction all but impractical. 

5.3 Gender Roles and Socio-economic Positions 

Much of the women's interest in developing their English 
literacy can be attributed to their situations as mothers who had 
raised at least one child to school age, who after numerous years 
in Canada felt they were now settled in this country, and whose 
husbands had worked themselves into comfortable earning positions 
in established jobs. Having reached their mid 20s and early :10s 
and established a successful family life, these women wished to 
develop their English literacy as a means of gaining greater 
personal independence. The women reported they felt that their 
lack of English literacy restricted their capacities to partake 
in family financial tasks (which were mostly performed by their 
husbands), to communicate with their children's schools, to 
obtain employment which did not involve "unclean" manual labor, 
and to know hoy to make use of available social services (such as 
they studied in the classes, e.g. health care units, libraries, 
employment centres, and community support groups). 

5.4 Status of the Minority and Majority Languages 

The women's attitudes about learning literacy in English and 
Punjabi were also shaped by the status of these languages locally 
and in their society of origin. English not only represented the 



- 18 - 


language of business, work, higher education, and wider societal 
interaction locally; it fulfills such diglossic functions in many 
domains in India as well. In addition, the integrity of these 
women's Punjabi was well -ma inta ined within their home 
environments and local neighbourhood, a situation somewhat akin 
to the well-established, minority status of Punjabi and Sikh 
culture in India. As Gibson (1988) puts it for Sikh Punjabi 
populations in California, North American English language and 
society can be accommodated without assimilation. Or in Cummins 
& Swain's (1986) terms, developing biliteracy in English was 
perceived to be *rM* m rather than snhfrantive for these women 
as the loss of Punjabi literacy was not implicated in this 
situation — although it may have been for subsequent generations 
in Canada (Pendakur, 1990). In these respects, the position of 
first generation Indo-Canadians in Vancouver probably differs 
substantively from other minority language groups who seldom use 
English for communication in their society of origin (e.g. 
Spanish, Japanese) or for whom print literacy in the native 
language is not prevalent in the native society (e.g. Hmong, 
Athapaskans ) . 

i.i ImpU@iUen§ let Educational and Social polley 

The foregoing analyses suggest several implications for 
educational and social policy. As numerous previous studies have 
concluded for other populations, limited literacy and proficiency 
in a majority language can greatly restrict the participation of 
immigrant adults in domains of social activity beyond their home 
and family domains, a problem which is greatly exacerbated for 
immigrant women with children and other family responsibilities. 
To promote such individuals' interactions with fundamental social 
domains like as social, legal, and educational systems, 
translation of documents into the native languages of immigrants 
is probably necessary, at least to facilitate orientation to and 
initial understanding of the organization of these domains and 
available services in Canada. Over the longer term, however, 
educational provisions to promote acquisition of literacy in the 
majority language are also needed to foster fuller understanding 
and social participation which is not restricted by language 
barriers . 

Several recommendations to enhance the quality of such 
education arise from these analyses. First, these analyses 
suggest the importance of adult ESL curricula which teach to 
relevant domains of literacy such as commercial interactions, 
employment opportunities, social services, and educational 
systems. Second, although literacy in the mother tongue may be 
an important determinant for acquiring second language literacy 
(Cumraing, 1989; Cumming, Rebuffot & Ledwell, 1989), and may be a 
relevant educational goal for populations like Hispanophone North 
Americans to maintain contacts with their native cultures 
(Delgado-Gaitan, 1987; Klassen, 1988; Moll & Diaz, 1987), 

- 19 - 

o > 

acquisition of literacy in the mother tongue may also be 
perceived as an irrelevant (even constraining) goal alongside 
literacy instruction '.n the majority language for other 
populations, particularly women wishing to gain greater access to 
the majority society and thus greater personal independence. 
Curriculum decisions about the language of Instruction in ESL 
literacy programs need to be made in reference to such complex 
socio-1 inguistic factors, rather than simply stated as general 
policies regardless of cultural background and gender. 

S CXasssrroom I nstruct i on and 
Lear n i ng 

What kinds of knowledge do participants use in 
classroom settings to construct the processes of 
acquiring ESL literacy? What implications arise for 
other ESL literacy programs? 

Documentation of the six months of classroom interaction 
shoved the focus of participants* attention alternating between 
five general aspects of knowledge: language code; self-control 
strategies and schematic representations for text production and 
comprehension; personal knowledge; social knowledge; and social 
experience. Most literate tasks performed in the classes visibly 
combined several of these aspects of knowledge in recurring 
routines vhile shifting attention between each aspect of 
knowledge depending on instructional, situational or learning 
emphases, Individual knowledge lacks, or personal interests. 
These five kinds of knowledge represent a broad, impressionistic 
account of the aspects of language and literacy which the present 
students and instructors cooperatively choose to concentrate on 
as their means of learning. As such, these five aspects may 
represent basic elements of literate knowledge in a second 
language and culture, but their qualities were probably 
influenced in unique ways by the common cultural background of 
the participating students and teacher as well as the innovative 
curr iculum. 

6.1 Language Code 

Considerable attention in the classes focused directly on 
the language code of English (and sometimes Punjabi), 
particularly for the identification and comprehension of 
unfamiliar vocabulary. Students' queries about readings usually 
highlighted particular words or phrases they did not know, 
although some attention was also devoted to other aspects of the 
language code such as syntactic or morphological patterns or 
spelling. The instructor and students frequently collaborated in 
questioning routines about the meaning of words or phrases aimed 
at comprehension of a text, as in the following sequence 

- 20 - 


reviewing a permission letter to attend a school concert brought 
home by one of the women's children. The mother brought the 
letter into the classes because she was unable to understand it, 
e.g., originally thinking that her child was going to perform a 
concert rather than attend one. Students liad b*en asked to 
prepare comprehension questions for one another in opj of their 
first efforts at Brown & Palincsar's (1989) technique of 
reciprocal modeling: 

Instructor: What does attend mean? 

Student 1: To perform. 

Instructor: To perform or watch? 

Student 2: To watch. 

Student 3: That students are going to watch. 

Student 4: Who is going to attend? 

Several students: The students. 

Instructor: Who is going to perform? 

Several students: The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. 

Student 5: What will they do at the Orpheum Theatre? 

Student 6: The students will be attending this concert. 

Student 5: What is the total cost of attending? 

Student 6: The total cost is S5.00. 

Instructor: Is that right? 

Students scan text, not responding. 

Student 1: Do you think this show is expensive? 

Student 6: What? 

Student 1: Do you think this show is expensive? 

Student 6: This show is worthwhile. (reading 
inappropriately from text) 

Student 1: Do you think this show is expensive? 
Student 6: Excuse me? 

Student 1 explains in Punjabi, emphasizing that $2.50 
is very cheap. 

- 21 - 


Student 7: What does subsidize mean? 

Students are silent as they scan the text. 

Instructor: [Student 1] should know the answer. She 
looked it up in the dictionary. 

Student 1: Subsidize means to pay something. 

Instructor: To pay. 

Student 1: Part of. To pay part of the fee. 

Subsidize means to pay part of the fee. 

Instructor: How do you say it in Punjabi? 

Student 1 explains in Punjabi. 

Although attention in this sequence focused on the meaning 
of individual words in English, as well as practice of question 
and answer patterns, the students and instructor alike appeared 
to use this focus to build up a piece-meal interpretation of the 
text. In van Dijk & Kintsch's (1983) terms, the participates 
frequently attended to vprhafctm representations of individual 
words while trying to construct pmpns^innai representations of 
ideas in the text as well as an overall situational 
representation of the text's purpose and context (see Cumming, 
Rebuff ot & Ledvell [1989] for related findings on individuals 
reading in a different second language context). At the same 
time, participants appeared to be rehearsing simple patterns of 
verbal interaction and to be using their common mother tongue as 
a supportive means of reference and verification. 

6.2 Self-control Strategies and Schemata for Reading and 

At other times, attention focused less on the language code 
and more on self-control strategies and schematic representations 
for interpreting or producing texts, i.e., skills more 
conventionally associated with textual literacy. All students 
had a basic facility with the script of English, could write 
simple letters or descriptions, and decode the language while 
reading; but most lacked higher-order skills for planning, self- 
monitoring, knowledge integration, or forming schematic 
representations of texts (e.g., as described in Bereiter & 
Scardamalla, 1987; van Dijk & Kintsch, 1983). In group readings, 
for instance, Jaswinder's tutoring prompted several students to 
structure more global interpretations of an information pamphlet 
explaining the functions of the Vancouver Public Health Unit: 

I work with the first group on the first paragraph. 
This is by far the simplest part of the pamphlet, and 

- 22 - 

right away it is obvious that the students are starting 
at the level of individual words, e.g. what does this 
mean? I ask the students to use diagrams to help them, 
but they are not sure where to start. I offer a few 
leading questions, e.g. who works in the health unit? 
One student reads out the names of the personnel, 
although she doesn't know a few of the terms, e.g. 
speech pathologist, therapist, nutritionist. I mention 
that it is important to get the main idea about the 
personnel structure of the Health Unit. I ask her to 
draw a box with the Health Unit in the center and to 
add all the people who work there. I tell her to add 
only the ones that she and her partner know. They are 
able to write 5 or 6 familiar terms. With the 
remainder, I encourage them to guess what they could 
be. Slowly, with probing questions, they are able to 
come up with 3 or 4 more (nutritionist, speech 
pathologist, therapist). They seem to be able to guess 
by the context and decoding the roots of the words. 
Once this is done, I ask them to guess what the word 
"network" is in the paragraph. one student labels the 
diagram "network" and says, "this is a network, a group 
of people and services". We go through the same 
procedure with the second paragraph on the services 
offered at the Health Unit. The students draw a 
diagram of this then try to guess the meanings of new 
words. After they finish the second paragraph, thf» 
instructor asks them to put the diagram on the 
blackboard and explain what the pamphlet says. They 
seem to do this quite well. The other groups had 
gotten bogged down with vocabulary again. 

A focus on self-control strategies often occurred while 
students were writing extended texts. The two following 
sequences again show Jaswinder working with individual students 
while they composed brief reports on a field trip they had taken 
to the local public health unit. In the first sequence, 
attention focuses on students' knowledge to plan and elaborate 
details in a manner appropriate to a formal written register. 
The second sequence focuses on strategies for monitoring and 
diagnosing one's own written text. In both sequences, the 
personal tutoring and questioning follows the sort of 
"apprenticeship" approach which Rogoff (1?90) suggests 
characterizes much language and literacy acquisition in 
childhood . 

Two students have difficulty elaborating on a topic. I 
have to ask a lot of questions to get them to think in 
this vay. For example, Student 2 has written, "The 
Health Unit program for seniors". I ask what kind of 
programs. She responds, "homemaker and special 
classes". I ask what kind of classes. She says, 
"about health care". I ask, what else? She says there 
vert others but she can't remember. After a few 



- 23 - 

seconds she says that they have a program at the 
community centre for Indian seniors. Each time I ask 
her to note thess dovn for her outline. We go through 
this with each topic and eventually she expands her 
outline. At this point it is obvious that this kind of 
writing is new for both students. They don't have a 
conceptual framework of what a l sport should be, what 
to include, or how to organize it. 

One student finishes her draft of the report early and 
asks me to go over it with her. My main impression is 
that she has made a coherent report but there are many 
simple spelling and agreement errors. She reads each 
sentence to me then looks to me to see if there are any 
errors. I ask her to look herself, but rarely is she 
able to pinpoint any errors. Then I isolate the phrase 
where I think an error is. Almost invariably she is 
able to point to and correct the error herself. Once 
it is isolated it is fine, but she doesn't seem able to 
identify it herself in her own writing. 

6.3 Personal Knowledge 

Other aspects of the classroom instruction and learning 
involved associating knowledge in written texts with knowledge 
that the students already possessed personally. The 
participating women were, of course, individually knowledgeable, 
but little of this knowledge was situated in reference to reading 
or writing. For example, they were unaccustomed to using writing 
to document and assess their experiences or to use reading as a 
means for obtaining and analyzing information. As shown in the 
following discussion around a newspaper article on arranged 
marriages among the local Sikh population, the learners sometimes 
found themselves unable to understand phrases while reading that 
they otherwise knew from personal experience. Moreover, much of 
their process of gaining literacy in these situations appeared to 
involve learning how to talk about their ideas and experiences in 
relation to written passages (see Wells, 1S90): 

Instructor: Do you have any questions about that? 

Student 1: Green light? What does green light mean? 

Instructor: At a street corner, what color are the 
traffic lights? What does the red light mean? 

Student 1: Stop. 

Instructor: And the green light. 

Student 1: To go. 


- 24 - 


Instructor: And here, who is going to decide on the 
marriage? Who will give the green light? 

Student 1: The father will decide. 
Str3ent 2: To shop around? 

Student 3: The father will look around for a wife. 

Instructor: What do you think about this sentence? How 
do you feel. I have some strong feelings. How about 

Student 1: it is okay. 

Student 2: It sounds a bit strange, (in Punjabi) 

Student 3: He is saying he has no respect for women. 
( in Punjabi ) 

Instructor: It makes women sound like something you 
buy in a shop. It is like buying and selling. 

Student 4: He wants to find a woman to walk behind the 
man. Like in a wedding. (In L un jabi ) He wants a 
"servant" to his sons. (In Punjabi) He doesn't care 
about the woman. 

6.4 Social Knowledge 

Considerable attention also focused on knowledge of social 
institutions and practices associated with them, demonstrating 
the extent to which language and literacy are organized in 
relation to specific cultural domains (Goody, 1986; Street, 1984; 
see also Auerbach, 1989; Klassen, 1988; Weinstein, 1984). Like 
other immigrants to a new society, and despite their relatively 
lengthy residence in Canada, these Indo-Canadian women were 
unfamiliar with many of the literate practices, assumptions, and 
values organized around common public institutions in Vancouver. 
This was evident in virtually all of the field experiences 
organized for the classes, which took the women to seemingly 
commonplace agencies relevant to their lives but in which they 
had never before been. The two following accounts record 
Jaswinder's surprise at the extent of this unf ami 1 iar ity, first 
in regard to public schools uhen in regard to literate practices 
associated with obtaining employment: 

The instructor vent over the idea of a field trip to a 
school. I was surprised by how little any of them knew 
about schools in Canada. Only two of them had ever 
been inside of one, and they had only been to parent- 
teacher conferences once with their husbands. They did 


- 25 - 


not know what classrooms looked like nor what different 
things could be found in a school. They were all keen 
on the idea of visiting a school and being able to see 
a class. They decided it would be best to do this in 
pa i r s . 

While talking with a few students after class I thought 
they would be interested in having their own resumes 
prepared. But this was not a priority for them. In 
fact during the class, they had paid little attention 
to the instructor's description of the model resume. 
No one took notes and most doodled or looked outside. 
I think this was jumping too far ahead for them. They 
were not sure of the purpose or necessity for a resume. 
None had ever seen one before or been asked to produce 
one. At this point they have difficulties even filling 
out the basic application forms for jobs. For example, 
they did not know what to put for categories like 
health, hobbies, or what to include from their own 
lives. It's a question of knowing the value and 
relevance of these for a work situation. J 

6.5 Social Experience 

An additional aspect of learning literacy in the second 
language and culture appeared to be experiential, actually 
performing literate tasks in relevant situations. For the most 
part, supportive, individual coaching was required to develop 
this aspect of knowledge as students independently engaged in 
tasks they had not previously conducted or for which they were 
unaware of certain implicit "rules" of appropriateness. This 
kind of learning necessarily had to occur outside the classroom 
in locations like banks, employment centers, and social service 
agencies because of the great number of unpredictable, associated 
circumstances and the need for individuals to integrate and 
practice relevant actions individually: 

After the library tour, students go up to the counter 
in groups of threes to get their cards. Most of the 
students are eventually able to r ill out the simple 
application form for the librar card. Some have 
problems with words like "initial" and "signature". 
Some have considerable difficulty with the section on 
date of birth because they are asked to put "the month 
and day". Most enter the appropriate information but 
not in the appropriate places, i.e., in the boxes. 
Some write above the boxes and some underneath. I try 
to help by pointing out where they should locate their 
writing. It is clear that few of the students have ever 
filled out a form of this type. 


- 26 - 


6.6 Implication! for Instruction 

The accounts above expose the complexity of knowledge types 
and integration processes fundamental to literacy acquisition, a 
complexity which is seldom so visible among student populations 
that already possess knowledge of the language code, certain 
higher order skills for writing and reading, customs of talking 
about personal experiences in reference to texts, familiarity 
with local social institutions and practices, and experience 
using literacy in routine situations. A major dilemma for 
instruction was creating learning tasks that would integrate each 
kind of knowledge in a coherent, holistic way, given that the 
participating women needed to acquire most of this linguistic, 
literate, and cultural knowledge concurrently. 

As a consequence, instruction and student performance in the 
classes tended to focus on only one or two of the relevant kinds 
of knowledge, neglecting others. This tendency seemed to reduce 
the complexity of learning into teachable or learnable units so 
they could be attended to, practiced, and consolidated. However, 
this process would often result in students merely displaying 
knowledge they already possessed, rehearsing simple question and 
answer routines, or engaging in other behaviors typical of 
traditional, teacher-centered Instruction. In part, such 

behaviors seemed to follow from expectations for traditional 
classroom activity that participants transferred from their prior 
experiences in India, and thus were culturally-relevant. But the 
present documentation showed Instruction to be more culturally- 
relevant tc participants' immediate situations and learning 
purposes in instances when it attempted simultaneously to provide 
language explanation and practice, foster new literacy skills, 
build on personal knowledge, familiarize participants with 
relevant social institutions, and support them through tasks in 
real life situations. 

Analyses of the processes of classroom instruction 
documented in this project provide a preliminary, impressionistic 
account of the complex aspects of knowledge addressed in 
instruction for adult ESL literacy: acquisition of the language 
code, self-control strategies and schematic representations for 
reading and writing, situating personal knowledge in reference to 
texts, social knowledge of institutional and cultural practices, 
and experiential knowledge performing literate tasks in relevant 
contexts (cf. Hornberger, 1989). Addressing all of these aspects 
of knowledge holistically poses a major challenge for 
instruction, even when they are approached through what Wells 
(1990, p. 398) calls a "transactional construction of 
understanding" between an instructor and learners. Above and 
beyond the need to treat literacy acquisition as "situated 
cognition" (Collins, Brown & Newman, 1989) emerges the problem of 
promoting individual learners' access to and integration of an 
extremely diverse range of linguistic, intellectual, cultural and 

- 27 - 

ERIC 30 

experiential knowledge (cf. Prawat, 1^89) — and doing so in a 
manner which preserves their integral complexity while allowing 
each component to be attended to and practiced sufficiently to 
foster relevant learning. 

Use of a micro-computer at the project site provided a 
telling example of how the women's emerging knowledge of ESL 
literacy needed to be approached in the sort of apprenticeship 
manner described in excerpts above. The computer proved most 
useful for purposeful tasks such as preparing individual resumes 
during the unit on job-search strategies. At first (as described 
above), the women saw little value in resumes or computer skills 
at all, since the social need for this kind of personal 
documentation and technical skill was not within their previous 
experience. And the computer technology posed considerable 
technical barriers for the women, as well as for the instructor 
in that only one student could work on the machine at a time. 
Consequently, students met individually during and after classes 
with Jaswinder, who first had each woman prepare a handwritten 
resume according to a format prescribed in classes. Then 
Jaswinder typed these into the computer, alongside the individual 
student-author , making refinements to the content and language, 
while questioning the person about personal details. As the 
completed resume was produced, the women took considerable 
interest and pride in the document, and eventually it became a 
discernable product of their integration of personal, cognitive, 
social, linguistic, and institutionally-relevant aspects of 
literacy. However, only a few students were willing or able to 
devote additional time to making further use of this medium; but 
when they did, it was apparent that a very considerable amount of 
individual coaching, interactive modeling, and practice was 
needed to support this kind of complex learning--an investment of 
time and effort for student and instructor alike which vent well 
beyond the six hours per week of time allocated for classes. 

7 Loricj — term I mpacts 

What are the long-term impacts of ESL literacy 
acquisition on participants' lives? What changes are 
evident in individuals' lives over the 6 month period 
of instruction, as could be attributed to improved 
language and literacy? Do these impacts warrant 
investment of educational resources in this kind of 

Over the ten months of the project, the women's uses of 
English literacy in their daily lives increased distinctly, 
particularly in reading and other communications with 
educational, commercial, and social-service domains, as the women 
came to interact more with certain institutions in the dominant 



- 28 - 


society. These impacts were traced by comparing the women's 
frequencies of using English and literacy in their daily lives as 
reported in interview data (in reference to a comprehensive range 
of text types, reading and writing functions, and social 
situations) collected at two-month intervals over the period of 
instruction then four months after the classes were completed. 

7.1 Uses of English Literacy 

Appendix D shows the detailed data on uses of English 
literacy grouped, for ease of reference, into general categories 
of reading, writing, language uses in the community, and language 
uses at home. Group means are reported for three intervals: 
beginning of the classes, end of the classes, and four months 
after the classes were completed. 

These data show the women's reading in English increased 
from about once per month at the start of the classes to several 
times per week at the end of the classes. Interestingly, after 
the period of instruction, this rate increased to almost daily 
for reading newspapers and other information sources such as 
advertising flyers, public notices, and mail, although the 
women's reading for pleasure and to study English dropped off 
considerably after the classes ended. Their uses of writing in 
English increased from a monthly to weekly frequency during the 
period of instruction, but this increase was mostly related to 
homework exercises and was not sustained after classes ended — 
with the exception of completing forms and signatures (mostly for 
commercial transactions or employment applications). No 
increases in uses of Punjabi literacy were recorded, although the 
women maintained regular uses of written Punjabi for religious 
purposes, to communicate with relatives, and in reference to 
local, Punjabi-language commercial and media materials. 

The women's uses of English in the community increased 
substantially in several domains. The most distinct increase was 
in regards interactions with their children's schools, which 
occurred less than once per month at the start o£ the classes, 
increased to weekly during the period of instruction, then was 
reported to occur several times per week later on. A nearly 
comparable increase related to the women's uses of telephone 
communications in English, which increased to almost daily, 
although most of this communication involved taking messages for 
their husbands' businesses, since the women initiated their own 
calls only about once per week. Over the same period of time, 
the majority of women became regular users of their local library 
and public health unit. They reported using English more 
frequently in their daily routines, but they said their uses of 
English for shopping and banking functions did not change 
appreciably from a rate of several times per week over this 
per iod . 

- 29 - 

7.2 Indicators of Language Acquisition 

Analyses were also conducted on written texts that the six 
women who completed the classes produced at the beginning and end 
points of the instruction. Composing, however, was not a major 
emphasis of the instruction as the women perceived it to have 
little functional value for their current social situations. The 
compositions chosen for comparison were descriptive narratives of 
personal experiences: (a) an account of how they came to Canada 
written in late September, 1990 (X number of words = 592) and (b) 
an account of their experiences in the ESL literacy classes 
written in late March, 1991 (X number of words = 418). As 
indicators of language acquisition, analyses were conducted on 
the women's uses of seven morphemes in these texts, following 
procedures used in numerous previous studies of second language 
acquisition (Ellis, 1986; Peyton, 1989). 

For the two texts assessed, the women's uses of past tense 
markers improved from 23% to 52% accuracy, uses of regular 
plurals improved from 33% to 75% accuracy, and uses of articles 
improved from 50% to 79% accuracy. Uses of copula "be" decreased 
in accuracy from 80% to 64% but these structures appeared very 
infrequently in the later text. The three other morphemes, 
progressive "-ing", progressive auxiliary "be", and third person 
agreement, did not occur with enough frequency in either of the 
texts to warrant calculations (because most of the writing was 
phrased in the past tense and first person). Counts of words per 
T-Units in these same texts showed an overall increase from 6.8 
to 7.6 words/T-Unit , indicating the women's control of written 
syntax tended to increase slightly over the six months of 
instruction . 

7.3 Implications for Instruction and Policy 

These findings indicate that the short duration of 
culturally-relevant English literacy instruction provided for 
these Immigrant women had discernible impacts on their capacities 
to participate in certain fundamental domains in the majority 
society, to read more frequently for information in English, and 
to write with improved accuracy and control in English. The 
present findings are the only ones t.iat we are aware of providing 
specific evidence of the effects of ESL literacy instruction on 
adult immigrants in North America. The general significance of 
the findings, however, must be tempered by the modest changes 
documented in the women's social uses of English and literacy and 
by consideration of the very small number of people who 
participated in this case study project, all of one gender, 
culture, and neighborhood. 


- 30 - 

Of particular concern for educational policy is the extent 
to which such a limited amount of instruction appeared to 
contribute directly to the women's increased interactions with 
their children's schools, reading for information in English, and 
uses of such public facilities as libraries and health units. 
The general value of the kind of instruction provided would 
appear to be as a necessary "bridging" step from non- 
participation in the majority society toward more formal kinds of 
adult language, vocational, or academic education, potentially 
leading to fuller social participation and personal independence. 

8 Publ Ic Information Documents* 

What features of existing instructional and public 
information materials facilitate and constrain uses of 
these resources among program participants? What 
principles might be proposed to assist community 
service workers and educators in preparing printed 
materials (e.g., information pamphlets) which are 
accessible to individuals with limited ESL literacy 

Throughout the period of instruction, efforts were made to 
utilize public information documents wherever possible as reading 
materials related to the themes studied in the program's 
curriculum, as supplements to field and guest visits, and as 
teaching materials. The participating women consistently found 
these documents very difficult to comprehend, even in the cases 
of documents prepared to be easily readable, for adults with 
limited language proficiency, or for women seeking work in Canada 
(e.g. EIC, 1989). Indeed, the majority of the women reported 
during interviews that these reading tasks were the classroom 
activities with which they had the greatest difficulty (i.e., 
unlike newspaper articles, stories, writing tasks, etc.). 

Substantive reasons for these difficulties are documented 
above (section 3) as the five aspects of literate knowledge which 
the women were in the process of acquiring and integrating. 
Public information documents typically presented a highly 
condensed form of written information which required each of 
these kinds of literate knowledge to be utilized concurrently to 
facilitate comprehension. Because of these complex socio- 
cognitive demands, this form o£ communication posed a visible 
barrier to the present women's understanding the significant 
information coded in this medium. Such difficulties also emerged 
with pamphlets and other documents which had been translated into 
Punjabi, suggesting that their literate characteristics (rather 
than the language code per se ) were the source of comprehension 
difficulties, and that translation of such documents into non- 


- 31 - 


official languages may have limited value for populations without 
high levels of literacy. 

8.1 Frequently Encountered Text Types 

Most of the public information documents introduced in the 
classes would appear mundane and commonplace to educated, native 
Canadians. The text types posing difficulties included: 

information pamphlets (about community or social services, 
government programs, agencies, institutions, political 
campaigns, etc . ) , 

form letters (permission or information letters from 
schools to parents, employers' letters to employees or 
prospective employees, advertising letters, comme :ial 
letters, etc . ) 

~ application forms (for employment, library registration, 
health services, school registration, driver's 
registration, banking services, etc.) 

orientation manuals (for appliances, government services, 
job-search strategies, health or safety procedures, local 
s i tes, etc . ) 

8.2 Difficult Aspects of Such Texts 

An ERIC search of research on document readability showed 
most recent studies to be concerned with textual features of 
printed documents, using "readability formulas" of sentence 
complexity and vocabulary frequency linked to specific grade- 
level criteria. Although this conventional approach yields 
information related to some of the difficulties encountered by 
participants with printed documents in the present project, a 
broader approach to this issue is necessary, as suggested decades 
ago by authors such as George Orwell or Robert Graves and 
elaborated more recently in information-processing models of 
reading and text use (e.g. Waite, 1982; Van Dijk & Kintsch, 1983) 
or by advocates of "clear writing" (e.g. Battison & Goswami, 
1981) or "considerate texts" (e.g. Armbruster & Anderson, 1988). 

However, reading processes vary considerably on the basis, 
not just of texts themselves, but also with the knowledge of 
readers, social contexts, and social purposes for which texts are 
used. In particular, recent studies have demonstrated that 
document readability needs to be assessed in relation to spgpiHc 
social uses of written texts, for example, in contexts such as 
school letters written to parents (Mavrogenes, 1988), people's 
uses of social service information (Walmsley & Allington, 1982), 



- 32 - 


driver's handbooks (Palmer, 1986), or policies at specific work 
sites ( Archambeault & Archarobeault , 1983). Difficulties in 
reading texts cannot be presumed simply to arise from 
characteristics of printed materials in a general way, but rather 
from a complex interaction of factors in the use of texts in 
particular social contexts. 

Intensive and longitudinal observation of the women in the 
present project indicated that they had so many pervasive 
problems comprehending virtually every kind of printed document 
they encountered or they brought into the classes that specific 
difficulties were hard to isolate, except generally in reference 
to the five aspects of literate knowledge outlined above in 
section 3 of this report: difficulties with the language code, 
self-control strategies and schematic representations for reading 
and writing, situating personal knowledge in reference to texts, 
social knowledge of institutional and cultural practices, and 
experiential knowledge performing literate tasks in relevant 
contexts. The sheer quantity and complexity of these 

comprehension difficulties, in fact, would suggest that 
alternative media, such as video tapes, picture stories, or 
personal tutorials could present more accessible ways of 
conveying important public information to this population than 
the conventional use of printed pamphlets, form letters, or 
orientation manuals . 

8.3 Principles for Preparing Appropriate Public 
Information Documents 

Nonetheless, data from the present project and other related 
research on text processing suggest principles which could be 
used to enhance public information documents for populations with 
limited literacy, proficiency in English, and knowledge of 
cultural institutions and practices in Canada: 

1. f*m\ 1 iar \ *-y with thft language Cflflfi i use point-form or 

telegraphic phrases presented in distinct categories; 
retain very simple sentences structures (in active voice, 
identifying subjects, verbs, and objects clearly in 
sentences); avoid all technical, specialized, or erudite 
terminology; avoid all idiomatic expressions; aim at about 
a grade 3 readability level but appeal to adult ideas and 
interests; refer consistently to visual images and 
schematic charts; provide glossaries of all specialized 
terms, using mulitingual translations and ordinary examples 

2. self-pnnt:rol st-rat-pg 1 ; guide readers through documents, 
providing step-by-step instructions, checklists, flow- 
charts, and summary points at frequent intervals; pose 
comprehension questions or true/false summary statements 
about main concepts, and provide answer keys; ask readers 
to pose key questions themselves; relate all information 



- 33 - 


directly to ordinary experiences of uninformed readers (and 
account for cultural variations in these experiences) 

3. schematic rpprpspntat \ nns ? use charts, diagrams, pictures 
to depict all information appearing in verbal text — to the 
point of intentional redundancy; provide a preliminary 
outline of the structure of the overall information in the 
document; indicate clearly the purpose of the document in 
terms of what a reader should do with it, when, where, with 
whom, and why; highlight key concepts 

4. situating perRona! knowledge la t&i prenre tn. t&xts.: write 
from the perspective of uninformed users of the document; 
provide choices for readers with more or less knowledge of 
the topic; refer to ordinary personal experiences; make use 
of background knowledge of topics that readers already 
have; engage readers in sequential procedures while 
reading, like ticking off checklists or summarizing own 
ideas; do not presume that readers were brought up in 
Canada — account for cultural values, perspectives and 

5. social Knowledge Q± institutional and. cultural practices : 
do not presume that readers know anyth \ ng about the 
institution or situation; explain clearly the social 
purpose, functions of services or individuals, and 
relations of the document to relevant activities; make 
available people to explain the document on site through 
public tours, demonstrations, or to answer questions by 
phone; make comparisons to related situations or practices 
in other parts of the world 

6. experiential knowledge performing literate tasks la 
rel pyant QttntftXla ; provide guided tours, public 
demonstrations, video-tape or in-person tutorials in 
reference to the document; incorporate readers' background 
knowledge through checklists, step-by-step sequences, 
questions, or summaries; refer to schematic charts or 
demonstrations throughout; help people to practice the 
ideas documented, not just read about them 



- 34 - 



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Append ix A 
Advisory C o mm i -fctee 

Adult Literacy Contact Centre, Adult Basic Education 
Association of B.C. -- Mary Carlisle 

Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Service Agencies 
of B.C. — Diane Kage 

Association of Neighbourhood Houses of Greater Vancouver — 
Barbara Downs 

Columbia College, ESL Program — David Jackson 
India Manila society -- Raminder Dosanjh 

- MOSAIC, Service for Non-English Speaking Residents 
Michael Murphy 

Multicultural Health Program, Vancouver Board of Health — 
Guninder Mumick 

Orientation Adjustment Services for Immigrants Society 
(OASIS) -- Harbans Grewall 

Vancouver Community College, ESL Program Robert Caldwell 

- Vancouver SATH — Sadhu Binning (Dept. of Asian Studies, 

Vancouver School Board, Career & Community Education 
Services — Judy Roth 

Vancouver Social Planning Committee William Smiley 
Vancouver Society for Immigrant Women -- Katun Sadigqi 



- 43 - 



Appendix B 

Frequency of Reaaing in Punjabi 
an d Engl ish, March 19 9 O 






T 11 I 

1*jT— of f tat* Kui 
Puijafct ■ ft* I It* 

Frequency scale: 

I=never ; 2=less than once per month; 

3 a once per month; 4*once per week; 
6 «da I ly . 

A : letters and postcards 

B: notes and cards 

C: newspapers 

0: magazines 

E: TV and theater programs 

F: recipes 

G: flyers 

H : advert 1 semen ts 

I : catalogues 

J: directions 

K: signs 

5*=three times per week; 

Li forms 

M: Information pamphlets 

Hi notices 

0: menus 

P: pr Ice tags and tickets 

Q: telephone books 

R: dictionaries 

S : poems and nursery rhymes 

T: novels and stories 

U: religious scriptures 

V: children's books (read to kids) 


- 44 - 



Appe nd i >c 

Frequency of 
51 n<3 En<g X 

Writing in Pun j 
i s h „ Mc=* rch 1 9 9 O 


eonth; 4»onoe per S-three Uses per veek; 6-daily. P 

audience: tf-oni versal ; C-colieagues, faaily, friends; S-»elf 

Uls signatures 

U2: slogans ft notices 

U3: fores 

U4: notes fi acssages 

CI; notes * aesseges 
C2: postcards 
C3: veil calenders 

Si: lists 

32: engagement diary 

S3: plans 

Si: notes 

US: letters 
U?; reports 
U8: poeas 

C4: letters 
C5: stories 
C6: poeas 

S5: personal diary 
SS: stories 
S7: poeas 


S3 S4 US U6 
Ty*«e of Texts Written 
I a English 




t r 

SS S6 




Append i x E> 

Frequency o £ English Literacy 
Uses ^ t Beginning o £ 
Project, End o £ E> r o j 
Four Months 

c: t ^ and 

Frequency scale: l»never; 2»less than once per eonth; 
3«once per eonth; 4-once per veek; 5«three tlees per veek; 
€ -dally* 

Reading la English ^ 

Rl: reading newspapers 

R2s reading for information 

R3: reading in one's spare tise 

vripiriq in Engl 1 ah 

vis Silling in basic fores 
V2: writ * in one's spare tiee 

Lai ter 

Cl: using the library 
C2: using the health onlt 
C3: taking telephone aessages 
C4: malting phone calls 

C5s interacting in children's school life 

C6: daily routines 

C7t shopping and hanking 

Hi: reading sail 

H2: studying English at hose 

CI G2 d 

Um* of tmmlimh Literacy 
Se*t.l«9 m *Uj»,299S ■ Au#.i990 


- 46 - 

4 J*