A study of adjustment of immigrant children in a London school

Bhatnagar, J. K. (1969) A study of adjustment of immigrant children in a London school. PhD thesis, Middlesex University. [Thesis]

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The dramatic increase in the number of immigrant children in British schools during the last decade has posed many difficult problems. For both educationists and social scientists interested in the problems of culture conflict and resocialization, it presents a a real, urgent but immensely interesting issue to be studied. The research in the field to date has been almost entirely of a qualitative nature and quantitative studies are almost non-existent. The present study was undertaken to compare the socio-personal adjustment of immigrant children in a North London school, with a control group of English children, and to study the correlates of ‘adjustment’. A ‘well-adjusted’ person was defined as an individual who is (a) socially acceptable, (b) personally satisfied, (c) free from anxiety, and (d) has an objective self-concept. The variables for the study of their relationship with ‘adjustment’ were chosen partly as a result or the survey of previous studies and partly through a survey of the opinions of teachers of immigrant children. The investigator spent about eighteen months in the school as a schoolteacher for the purpose of establishing rapport. No formal testing of any kind was carried out until the investigator had established rapport with children of all races and was being perceived and categorised primarily as a teacher and not as a member of any particular race. The sample consisted of 174 West Indian (90 boys and 84 girls) and 76 Cypriot (38 boys and girls each) children at the school. This comprised the entire immigrant population at that school, with the exception of three Cypriots who could not speak English and hence could not be tested, and a few children of other races whose number was too small for any statistical analysis. A specially constructed adjustment scale (composed of four sub-scales - social acceptability, personal satisfaction, freedom from anxiety and objectivity of self-concept,) Raven Progressive Matrices, Mill Hill Vocabulary Scale, New Junior Maudsley Personality Inventory, Cotswold Personality Inventory, a semi-structured interview, and school records were used as measuring instruments. English children were found to be better adjusted, more personally satisfied, less anxious, less extraverted, less interested in things but more interested in ideas than immigrant children. Immigrant children were found to have a less objective self-concept, lower academic achievement, lower attainment in written English, vocabulary and fluency of spoken English, and lower non-verbal intelligence test scores than English children. No significant differences were found between social acceptability, non-academic achievement, interest in people and attitude towards school scores of English and Cypriot children. West Indian children were more interested in people, had a less unfavourable attitude towards school, a higher non-academic achievement, but were less socially acceptable than the English children. The Cypriots were found to be better adjusted, more socially acceptable, less anxious and as having more objective self-concept but lower non-academic achievement and less interested in people than the West Indians. No significant differences were found between the personal satisfaction, academic achievement, attainment in written English, vocabulary and fluency of spoken English, I.Q., extraversion, interest in things and ideas, and attitude towards school scores of the two groups of immigrant children. 'Adjustment' of immigrant children was found to be positively and significantly related to their academic achievement, attainment in written English, extraversion, interest in people, attitude towards school, and friendship with English children. Family size, interest in things, interest in ideas, and difference between vocational aspirations and expectations were found to be negatively and significantly related to 'adjustment', No relationship between 'adjustment' of immigrant children and age, age at the time of emigration, length of residence in the U.K., intention of returning home, living with one or both parents, working mother, non-academic achievement, fluency of spoken English, vocabulary, intelligence test scores, expectation of high status jobs, and aspiration of high status jobs, could be established. The results showed that there was very little mixing among children of different races. Only 22.4% of the West Indians claimed the friendship of even one English child while only 14.5% of the Cypriots and 2.9% of the West Indians claimed an English child as their ‘best friend’. Only 13.2% of the Cypriot and 2.9% of the West Indian families were on visiting terms with an English family in their neighbourhood. Case histories of five most 'well-adjusted' and five least ‘well-adjusted’ Cypriot and West Indian children each were recorded. Some suggestion were made about the suitable actions that could be taken by the various people concerned with the education of immigrants and some proposals for further research in the area were outlined.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Research Areas: B. > Theses
Item ID: 13504
Depositing User: Adam Miller
Date Deposited: 23 Sep 2014 11:29
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2021 16:46
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/13504

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