This research study was a constructivist case study designed to elicit the strategies utilized by African refugees and immigrant students in order to persist in their post-secondary career and technical education programs. The eleven students interviewed were currently enrolled in or recently graduated from a technical college in a suburb of the Twin Cities.
The interview questions focused on the strategies these students have employed in order to persist academically: Which programs and/or services were utilized? What support networks were found to be beneficial? What kept these students motivated to continue in their studies? The findings which emerged from the analysis of the interviews indicate that the students felt challenged by the academic nature of the English language utilized in the classroom and course material as well as the time required to comprehend the course material. The students had little hesitation when asking for assistance from their instructors or lab assistants; however they tended not to use most of the academic and social programs and services offered on campus or in the community.
Each student mentioned having a busy life due to juggling multiple life-roles, but few knew how to effectively manage their time. Finally the students reported receiving encouragement from many sources which kept them motivated to persist. These findings had two main implications: critical thinking skills were not being developed and there may be a reliance on impractical strategies.
Several recommendations include (a) encourage students to be more proactive in initiating conversation with their U.S.-born classmates, (b) utilize lab assistants to help with the development of critical thinking skills, (c) hire non-U.S.-born peer-tutors, (d) offer summer bridge courses to teach background scientific concepts and technical vocabulary, and (e) develop an information scavenger hunt to introduce on-campus resources. Recommendations for future research include expanding this study to include other demographics to gain a better understanding of the persistence strategies utilized in post-secondary career and technical education.
University of Minnesota Ed.D. dissertation. May 2013. Major: Work and Human Resource Education. Advisor: Rosemarie J. Park. 1 computer file (PDF); ix, 193 pages, appendices A-F.
Prokop, Pamela Ann.
Strategies utilized by African refugee and immigrant students in order to persist in post-secondary career and technical education programs.
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.