Russian-speaking Pentecostal Refugees and Adult ESL Programs: Barriers to Participation
Author(s)Zaitseva, Elena Valerijevna
KeywordsEnglish language -- Study and teaching -- Russian speakers
Soviets (People) -- United States
Pentecostals -- United States
Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education
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AbstractPentecostals from the former Soviet Union are the most recent and fastest growing refugee group in Oregon. Because the refugee population's low English skills may increase their dependence upon welfare assistance, their nonparticipation in ESL programs is treated as a social issue. Efforts to increase the English literacy levels of Russian-speaking Pentecostal refugees are limited by lack of empirical data regarding forces that affect this population's decision to participate or not to participate in educational activities. The purpose of this study was to gather information about barriers to participation in ESL programs by adult Russian-speaking Pentecostal refugees. To this end the present research sought to determine (1) the importance of individual reasons for nonparticipation; (2) whether there was an underlying structure to those reasons; and (3) whether socio-demographic variables were associated with reasons for nonparticipation. The survey was conducted on a representative sample of 143 Russian-speaking Pentecostal adults in the Portland, Oregon area. Data were obtained with the Deterrents to Participation Scale - Form LLR (adapted from Hayes & Darkenwald, 1988) which had two parts: socio-demographic information and 35 items which operationalized the concept "reasons for nonparticipation." Factor analysis of the 35 items resulted in six factors: School/Self Incongruence, Low Priority of Education, Negative Attitude Towards Classes, Low SelfConfidence, Situational Barriers, and Social Disapproval. The socio-demographic variables and factors were found to relate in logical ways. School/Self Incongruence correlated with age and number of dependent children; Low Priority of Education correlated with number of children and unemployment; Low Self-Confidence was shown to be related to age; Situational Barriers related to number of children, educational attainment and unemployment; and Social Disapproval correlated with period of attendance of ESL classes. With the data gathered from the research, implications for practice were drawn which can be used as the basis for developing programs to meet the ESL needs of the Russian-speaking Pentecostal adults.