Linguistic and Cultural Diversities Challenges for African Newcomers

In Tunisia as well as in other countries, newcomers have typically enrolled at international private universities with an intention of an inclusive learning environment. In recent years, Tunisian universities are seeing growth in their newcomer populations notably from Cameroun, South Africa, Mauritania, Algeria, Gabon, and Congo. As newcomers' backgrounds become increasingly diverse, educators must be ready to respond to their needs. This study, conducted in ESPRIT, Private Higher School of Engineering and Technology, located in the northern side of Tunis, has noted a disintegrated population of newcomers, and examined the perspectives of a sample of educators concerning issues in the education of newcomers. English as a Foreign Language teachers, school administrators as well as staff from the Department of Education responsible for overseeing the jurisdiction, were interviewed. The findings demonstrate a number of vital issues enclosing both sides: on one side, educators facing multi-cultural challenges and on the other, students having difficulties to express themselves in a different language. The implications mentioned in this paper, have unanimously entailed the need for pedagogical guidance and support to teachers to meet the requirements of students with limited English proficiency or lack of prior linguistic education, in order to better assess students' progress, especially those who appeared to have special needs.

Linguistic and Cultural Diversities, Inclusive Education, Learning in Multi-cultural Classrooms

Learner Diversity and Identities

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session