Adams (as cited in Cui, 2008, p.78) described some historical barriers that immigrants have faced in terms of accessing to professional fields.
Access to professions was historically also restricted by gender, race, ethnicity, and religion. The ideal professional practitioner in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was an Anglo-Saxon, White, middle or upper class, Protestant male, and those who did not fit into this category often faced many explicit and explicit barriers. From the very beginning, access was also restricted by country of birth and region of training.
Clearly, some immigrants who come to Canada do not fit into the category described above. Consequently, they are facing discriminatory issues in organizations such as the glass ceiling which has been defined by Werner and DeSimone (2009) “…as a subtle attitudes and prejudices that block women and minorities from upward mobility, particularly into management jobs” (p.508). Particularly, for immigrants these prejudices are justified by the difference between Canadian professionals and foreign professionals. In addition, Cui (2008) wrote “Usually, such difference from domestic norm is viewed as deficient, incompatible and inferior and not up to Canadian standard” (p. 77).
In addition to this prejudicial attitude, some employers do not have enough experience, knowledge and skills to deal with immigrant workers. Werner and DeSimone (2009) wrote “Most organizations are culturally diverse because their employees are from different cultural subgroups (whether gender, race, ethnic origin, etc). But, even if an organization is culturally diverse, it may not be aware of or acknowledge this diversity” (p.510). In order to promote cultural diversity awareness in organizations, HRD practitioners should consider and promote the implementation of management strategies oriented to develop an inclusive environment for all employees.
Developing a more diverse organization, requires a long – term commitment to change, which includes to increase managers’ skills and knowledge in managing diversity (Werner & DeSimone, 2009). However, implementing organizational strategies to promote a more respectful work environment for immigrant workers do not solve by itself the Prior Learning Recognition and Foreign Credential Recognition issues in Canada. It is also necessary to understand and uncover what is actually behind assessing international credentials in Canada.
Immigration is one of the major factors in Canada’s economic growth, but successful transition into the Canadian labour market remains difficult for many immigrants, whose skills, knowledge, and experience are frequently under-utilized. According to the Canadian Council on Learning (2008) “data from the 2006 census reveal that among recent immigrants, men earn 63 cents and woman earns 56 cents for every dollar earned by their Canadian-born counterparts” (p.2).
Foreign work experiences and qualifications of immigrant workers are difficult to estimate and assess. Basically, this is because in Canada there are federal and provincial initiatives which are attempting to verify knowledge, skills, experiences and credentials. In addition, there are different regulatory bodies of certification for regulate occupations and professions.
Foreign credential recognition which is defined by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) (2005) as “the process of verifying that the education and job experience obtained in another country are equal to the standards established for Canadian workers” (p.2).
Immigrant workers are facing several obstacles that impede them to have a successful transition and entry into the labour market. According to the Canadian Council on Learning (2008) “these barriers include language skills; lack of Canadian work experience; failure to receive credit for work experience in other countries; and problems related to the recognition of foreign credentials” (p.4). In addition, the cultural differences are a challenge for immigrant and employers. Immigrant workers are unfamiliar with existing workplace cultural norms. On the other hand many employers do not have cultural competencies to allow them to properly integrate the workers. Another important fact is related to the language and literacy obstacles “for example, the results of the 2003 International Adult Literacy and Skills Survey revealed that 32% of immigrants have very low literacy skills, compared to just 10% of native-born Canadians” (p.4). Finally, racism and discriminatory practices have also been identified as an obstacle for immigrant workers.
Since writing my last post I have been doing many things. I took a Spring course at U of R, participated in the Chilean Pavilion at Mosaic 2008 , and finallyI finished the last version for my Spanish thesis in Educational Informatics. At the same tame I continued working on my Spanish blog and my Facebook’s network. During my last Spring course I met two of my former online’s classmates. Then, I have come to realize how our Alec Couros’s course experience impacted our way of experience the teaching and learning experience.
The power of networking is real, even though I am not in touch with our EC&I 831 network, thanks of my experience in that course I knew George Siemens’ learning theory. The Connectivism’s father is preparing a Fall open on line course about Connectivism at the University of Manitoba. I am not really sure if I can fallow this course, because my regular courses at U of R will keep me busy. However, I believe in the power of Networking and you can always learn something new, even in an informal way. I am especially interested in this experience because a group of Spanish learners are building a community about Connectivism. This can be a great experience to learn more about active networks in my first language.
I was thinking about this post for the last few weeks since I finished our online course. We built a dynamic and heterogeneous network, but “What has happen with our network after our course ended?” If we assume that each student was working as a unique node, consequently when each node stopped working the network will disappear. However, this idea is too simplistic. In my opinion, the network is changing, as each student is working and building different networks today. Then, our network is not finished, it is just changing.
I think that is impossible to define how this change will occur; this is a fascinating idea about networking online.
Picture by Cindy
As we were sharing in our last online session, there are many challenges using technologies in online experiences. In my opinion, we built a dynamic and heterogeneous network. In this network each person works as a node which offers a unique and interesting point of view reflected on personal blogs, digital projects, etc.
I was reading about online education experiences and one common challenge is the lack of face to face contact among students and teachers. Different authors suggest that the lack of face to face contact can produce student’s isolation and lack of motivation. Although, once I was talking face to face with Alec (our instructor) I don’t consider the lack of face to face contact as a big limitation during our online course.
Perhaps, the use of synchronous online tools such us video conference, chats and more dynamic web site contribute to a better interaction and communication among the actors of a learning experience. Also, the implementation of collaborative projects related with active learning theories promotes the student’s independency.
Perhaps, the lack of face to face contact’s consequences (isolation and lack of motivation) is more common in online experiences which reproduce teacher centered model of learning.
Using the technologies advances which facilitate the online contact through images, sound and text is not enough. Also, it is really important the educational design inspired in active and cooperative models.
All Ideas are welcome!!