Advertisement

The Urban Review

, Volume 45, Issue 2, pp 232–249 | Cite as

From Cultural Dissonance to Diasporic Affinity: The Experience of Jamaican Teachers in New York City Schools

  • Erold K. Bailey
Article

Abstract

This phenomenological study was designed to investigate the experience of Jamaican teachers recruited to serve in elementary and high schools in New York City. The study explored three broad questions: (1) What was teaching like for the participants before they assumed their assignments in the US? (2) What is teaching in the US like for them? and (3) What meanings/insights do they derive from their experience teaching in the US? The findings indicate that the immigrants’ experienced profound cultural dissonance in the classroom as their experiences in the US differed significantly from their previous experience in Jamaica. This dissonance was illustrated by four prominent themes that emerged from data collected through in-depth interviews: (1) lack of respect for teachers and other adults; (2) disregard for teacher authority; (3) lack of student appreciation for the teacher’s work; and (4) student apathy towards education. The cultural dissonance immigrants experienced made them more sensitive to the condition of African American and other minorities, disrupted their strong sense of nationalism, and engendered a growing allegiance to the black Diaspora.

Keywords

Urban education Immigrant teachers Phenomenological research Cultural dissonance Diaspora studies 

References

  1. Allan, M. (2003). Frontier crossings: Cultural dissonance, intercultural learning and the multicultural personality. Journal of Research in International Education, 2(1), 83–110.Google Scholar
  2. American Federation of Teachers. (2009). Importing educators: Causes and consequences of international teacher recruitment. (AFT Publication No. 45-09002). Retrieved from http://www.aft.org.
  3. Anyon, J. (1997). Ghetto schooling: A political economy of urban educational reform. New York: Teachers College Press, Columbia University.Google Scholar
  4. Appleton, S., Morgan, W. J., & Sives, A. (2006). Should teachers stay at home? The impact of international teacher mobility. Journal of International Development, 18(6), 771–786.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Aud, S., Hussar, W., Kena, G., Bianco, K., Frohlich, L., Kemp, J., et al. (2011). The Condition of Education 2011 (NCES 2011-033). U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  6. Beauboeuf-LaFontant, T. (1999). A movement against and beyond boundaries: Politically relevant teaching among African-American teachers. Teachers College Record, 100(4), 702–723.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Becker, T. (1967). Black Africans and Black Americans on an American campus: The African view. Sociology and Social Research, 57(2), 168–181.Google Scholar
  8. Bertaux, D. (1981). Biography and society: The life history approach in the social sciences. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  9. Brown, E. (2003). The Jamaican experience with the movement of natural persons in the provision of services. In A. Mattoo & A. Carzaniga (Eds.), Moving people to deliver services (pp. 191–200). Washington, DC: World Bank and Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Charmaz, K. (2007). Constructing grounded theory: A practical guide through qualitative analysis. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  11. Craig, J. (1984). Culture shock, Singapore and Malaysia. Singapore: Times Books International.Google Scholar
  12. Davies, R. (2008). Making a difference in children’s lives: The story of Nancy, a novice early years teacher in a Jamaican primary school. International Journal of Early Years Education, 16(1), 3–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Davis, J. E. (2003). Early schooling and academic achievement of African American males. Urban Education, 38(5), 515–537.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dei, G. J. S., & Holmes, L. (1995). Drop out or push out?: The dynamics of black students’ disengagement from school: A report. Toronto, ON: Dept. of Sociology in Education, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.Google Scholar
  15. Dey, I. (1996). Qualitative data analysis: A user-friendly guide for social scientists. New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  16. Donnell, A. (2006). Twentieth-century Caribbean literature: Critical moments in Anglophone literary history. New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  17. Elliott, J. G. (2009). The nature of teacher authority and teacher expertise. Support Learn. Support for Learning, 24(4), 197–203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Evans, H. (2001). Inside Jamaican schools. Kingston: University of the West Indies Press.Google Scholar
  19. Ferguson, R. F. (2003). Teachers’ perceptions and expectations and the black-white test score gap. Urban Education, 38(4), 460–507.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Foner, N. (Ed.). (2001). New immigrants in New York. New York: Colombia University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Foster, M. (1997). Black teachers on teaching. New York, NY: The New Press.Google Scholar
  22. Franklin, A. J. (1999). Invisibility syndrome and racial identity development in psychotherapy and counseling African American men. Counseling Psychologist, 27(6), 761–793.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Freeman, K., & Johnson, E. (Eds.). (2011). Education in the Black Diaspora: Perspectives, challenges, and prospects. New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  24. Furnham, A., & Bochner, S. (1982). Social difficulty in a foreign culture: An empirical analysis of culture shock. In S. Bochner (Ed.), Cultures in contact: Studies in cross cultural interaction (pp. 161–198). Oxford: Pergamon.Google Scholar
  25. Gilkes, A. D. (2007). The West Indian diaspora: Experiences in the United States and Canada. New York, NY: Scholarly Publishing LLC.Google Scholar
  26. Gilroy, P. (1993). The black Atlantic: Modernity and double consciousness. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Goodman, L. A. (1961). Snow ball sampling. Annals of Mathematical Statics, 32, 148–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gordon, J. A. (1994). Why students of color are not entering teaching: Reflections from minority teachers. Journal of Teacher Education, 45(5), 346–353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Harper, B., & Tuckman, B. (2006). Racial identity beliefs and academic achievement: Does being black hold students back? Social Psychology of Education, 9(4), 381–403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Henry, A. (1992). African Canadian women teachers’ activism: Recreating communities of caring and resistance. The Journal of Negro Education, 61(3), 392–404.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Holmes Group. (1983–1986). Tomorrow’s teachers: A report of the Holmes Group. East Lansing, MI: Holmes Group.Google Scholar
  32. Humes, K. R., Jones, N. A., & Ramirez, R. R. (2011). Overview of race and Hispanic origin (US Census Bureau Publication No. (C2010BR-02). Retrieved from http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br-02.pdf.
  33. Irvine, J. J. (1988). An analysis of the problem of disappearing black educators. Elementary School Journal, 88(5), 503–513.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Jackson, J. V., & Cothran, M. E. (2003). Black versus Black: The relationships among African, African American, and African Caribbean persons. Journal of Black Studies, 33, 576–604.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. King, S. H. (1993). The limited presence of African-American teachers. Review of Educational Research, 63(2), 115–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Miller, P. W., Ochs, K., & Mulvaney, G. (2008). International teacher migration and the commonwealth teacher recruitment protocol: Assessing its impact and the implementation process in the United Kingdom. European Education, 40(3), 89–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Miller-Cribbs, J. E., Cronen, S., Davis, L., & Johnson, S. D. (2002). An exploratory analysis of factors that foster school engagement and completion among African American students. Children & Schools, 24(3), 159–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Moustakas, C. E. (1994). Phenomenological research methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  39. Nasir, N. S., McLaughlin, M. W., & Jones, A. (2009). What does it mean to be African American? Constructions of race and academic identity in an urban public high school. American Educational Research Journal, 46(1), 73–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. National Education Association. (1997). Status of the American public school teacher, 19951996. Washington, DC: Author.Google Scholar
  41. Noguera, P. (2008). The trouble with black boys: And other reflections on race, equity, and the future of public education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  42. Pace, J. L., & Hemmings, A. (2007). Understanding authority in classrooms: A review of theory, ideology and research. Review of Educational Research, 77, 4–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Page, K. A. (2012). Transnational negotiations in Caribbean diasporic literature: Remitting the text. New York, NY: Routlegde.Google Scholar
  44. Patton, M. Q. (1990). Qualitative evaluation and research methods. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  45. Phillion, J., & Singh, B. (1997). Breaking down the barriers: Immigrant women and access to the teaching profession. In Paper presented at American Educational Research Association, Chicago, IL.Google Scholar
  46. Qualis Research Associates. (2001). The Ethnograph v5.0 [Computer software]. Colorado Springs, CO: The author.Google Scholar
  47. Remennick, L. (2002). Survival of the fittest: Russian immigrant teachers speak about their professional adjustment in Israel. International Migration, 40(1), 99–121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Rhone, A. (2007). Caribbean-immigrant educators: More than an ocean of difference. Childhood Education, 84(1), 44–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Roderick, M. (2003). What’s happening to the boys?: Early high school experiences and school outcomes among African American male adolescents in Chicago. Urban Education, 38(5), 538–607.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Schuman, D. (1982). Policy analysis, education, and everyday life: An empirical reevaluation of higher education in America. Lexington, MA: D.C. Heath.Google Scholar
  51. Seidman, I. (1998). Interviewing as qualitative research: A guide for researchers in education and the social sciences. New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  52. Seidman, I. (2006). Interviewing as qualitative research: A guide for researchers in education and the social sciences (3rd ed.). New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  53. Stephens, M. A. (2005). Black empire: The masculine global imaginary of Caribbean intellectuals in the United States, 1914–1962. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  54. Van Manen, M. (1990). Researching lived experience: Human science for an action sensitive pedagogy. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  55. Volkerman, M. (2001). Jamaicans: Balancing race and ethnicity. In N. Foner (Ed.), New immigrants in New York (pp. 201–228). New York: Colombia University Press.Google Scholar
  56. Waters, M. C. (2002). Black identities: West Indian immigrant dreams and American realities. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Education DepartmentWestfield State UniversityWestfieldUSA
  2. 2.University of Massachusetts AmherstAmherstUSA
  3. 3.Clark UniversityWorcesterUSA
  4. 4.University of the West IndiesKingstonJamaica

Personalised recommendations