Social and Emotional Adjustment in Migrants’ Children Research

Migration takes place in prosperous / dysfunctional conditions. The modern economic and political situation in the world has significantly increased the intensity.

According to the Federal Migration Service, the number of migrants in the USA is increasing every year. According to the calculations, there are more than 10 million people. The annual population growth in the CIS and Baltic countries in the 1990s was about 250 thousand people. The number of migrants in the USA is 5% of its population. A significant part of the migration flow in the USA is the most attractive from an economic point of view. According to the results of research conducted by the research program in 2001-2002, 28% of illegal migrants are aimed at staying in our country. Migrations spread ethnic and cultural mosaic, reveal and aggravate ethno cultural contradictions between different groups of the population, experience social tensions.

Increasingly, people’s attitude towards visitors is unfriendly and even hostile. According to the data of the Levada Center in 2009, about 67% of Russians believed that their city or district could do without visitors. In 2002, 45% of Americans suggested restricting entry to the country, while 44% were in favor of eliminating barriers for migrants. Due to non-involvement of society and the resulting feelings of inferiority and insecurity of migrants, there is ethnic and religious solidarity. Language barriers, cultural differences further aggravate the situation.

Reducing the negative nature of interethnic relations, reducing the effects of xenophobia and migrant-phobia, improving intergroup relations between migrants and local residents is especially important if these processes concern children who have become displaced by the courts. This situation has led to the emergence of social problems in children, migrants, who experience enormous material, psychological and educational difficulties in adapting to different environments and cultures.

Literature Review
Migrant children can be described as one of the problem groups for which access to many social services, including education, is de facto difficult (although the legal framework guarantees these children access to educational resources). Meanwhile, according to sociological research data, among the reasons for migrant families moving to the Russian Federation, the desire to educate children is one of the leading places in the spectrum of motivations for moving.

It should be borne in mind that education is the most democratic, widespread, accessible, humane in essence and content institution providing adaptation of migrant children, since it translates for them the culture of the host community, ensures their social and professional mobility. In this case, the priority task in working with children is to ensure their integration, taking into account the different degrees of their entry into the general cultural environment.

Thus, the scientific problem is to identify the contradictions between the objective need for the children of migrants to enter the social and cultural environment of the host country and the functional state of education that does not fully meet the needs of social development.

The interest of scientists to the problem of social and cultural adaptation of migrants was first identified at the turn of the 20th century. The sociological interpretation of social adaptation for the first time received a justification in the works of M. Weber, R. Merton, F. Bock. Methodological foundations of the study of migratory movements and adaptive behavior of migrants were also laid in the works of representatives of the Chicago school – A. Small, R. Park, V. Thomas, F. Znanetsky, V. White. However, research approaches have changed markedly over the past decades, when the intensity of migration movements has increased dramatically, and migration has become a vital resource for the socio-economic development of many countries.

The first group of sociological works are generalizing research. In foreign science, the conceptual study of adaptation was conducted by S. Vertevek, S. Spencer, A. Memm, J. Berry (Yu, 2016). In recent years there were works summarizing the experience of the sociological analysis of migration.

The second group consists of theoretical and applied research on the adaptation of migrants in various cultural and socio-economic conditions. This problem is investigated in the works of Albdour & Altarawneh (2014), Alijanpour, Dousti & Alijanpour (2013), Bizlagan, Dogan & Daoudov (2010) and other authors. Accultural strategies and models of identity transformation in migrants are considered in the works of Folorunso, Adewale & Abodunde (2014) and Ghosh & Swamy (2014). Recently, interest in the adaptation of migrants in the context of migration management in a changing social environment has intensified (Leite, Rodrigues & Albuquerque, 2014).

In the study of the problem of sociocultural adaptation of migrant children, the author is interested in the analysis of national identity and inter-ethnic tolerance ( Lizote, Verdinelli & Nascimento (2017), Mitonga-Monga, Flotman & Cilliers (2018); the influence of environmental factors on adaptation processes (Ghosh & Swamy (2014), Radosavljević, Ćilerdžić, & Dragić (2017), Folorunso, Adewale & Abodunde (2014), Leite, Rodrigues & Albuquerque (2014); educational environment as a socio-pedagogical phenomenon (Radosavljević, Ćilerdžić & Dragić, 2017); studies devoted to the consideration of the urban environment as an adaptation space (Bizlagan, Dogan & Daoudov, (2010).

Understanding the adaptation of migrant children in the field of education in pedagogy takes place within the framework of the concept of fostering a culture of interethnic communication (Zefeiti & Mohamad, 2017), multicultural education (Serna, & Martínez, 2018), dynamically developing migration pedagogy (Lizote, Verdinelli & Nascimento, 2017). Different aspects of this problem are considered in the foreign concepts of multicultural education (Ghosh & Swamy 2014), the dialogue of cultures (Radosavljević, Ćilerdžić & Dragić, 2017), as well as from the point of view of the socio-psychological approach (Mitonga-Monga, Flotman & Cilliers, 2018). The study of the influence of the multicultural educational environment on the process of adaptation of migrant children was also studied in the work of R.Henvi, S.Simpson and D.Borges.

The experience of socio-psychological research is reflected in the research of Zefeiti & Mohamad (2017). Also, modern psychological approaches to the study of adaptation are presented in the works of Zvereva and Abdi.
In general, the study of the problem of sociocultural adaptation of migrants and their children in the subject field of sociological sciences is conducted with a certain lag behind the needs of social practice. It should be noted that there was no large-scale study of the characteristics of the sociocultural adaptation of migrant children in the field of education in sociology, which determined the object and subject of research, its purpose and objectives (Albdour & Altarawneh, 2014).

To understand the problem, it is important to conduct an evaluation comparison of the main methodological approaches to the analysis of the sociocultural adaptation of migrant children and to clarify the concept of sociocultural adaptation and features of the sociological approach to its study (Zefeiti & Mohamad, 2017).

The main hypothesis in many research papers is that in the process of sociocultural adaptation of migrant children, not only differentiating factors that usually divide people into “their own” and “alien” – language, value orientations, traditions, religious ideas – but also such factors as positive social well-being, integration with the local population, activity towards the social environment, optimism in assessing their future. Fulfillment of these conditions provides adaptation both at the individual and at the group and societal levels (Lizote, Verdinelli & Nascimento, 2017).

Adaptation in the educational environment is for the children of migrants the foundation of the whole socio-cultural adaptation, which is determined by the diversity of its functions and potential, ensuring the integration of the child at all designated levels. Value-motivational adaptation is central to its cognitive and behavioral components (Serna, & Martínez, 2018). The leading factors of the educational environment influencing the process of the sociocultural adaptation of children are the personal orientation of the educational process, the formation of rational interpersonal relations and a favorable psychological climate. The theoretical and methodological base of the research is based on two sociological paradigms – interactionism (analysis of the role of social, cultural and educational environment in the process of adaptation) and structural functionalism (study of the social functions of migration, adaptation mechanisms of foreign ethnic migrants, study of migrants’ demographic and structural features). To substantiate the theoretical basis of the study, works on the sociology of migration by Bizlagan, Dogan & Daoudov (2010) and Albdour & Altarawneh, (2014), considering it as a complex social process, affecting many aspects of socio-economic and cultural life.

Understanding the role of the educational environment in the process of adaptation is carried out taking into account the concepts of Alijanpour, Dousti, & Alijanpour (2013) and Ghosh & Swamy (2014), who are united in considering the educational space not only as a condition necessary for the successful integration of alien ethnic migrants into society, but also as a means of adaptive influence (Zefeiti & Mohamad, 2017).

For a deeper consideration of the socio-psychological and pedagogical features of children from migrant families and the conditions of their sociocultural adaptation, we also used the concepts of dialogue of cultures, migration pedagogy, and multicultural education (Serna, & Martínez, 2018).

The direct methodological basis of the dissertation was made up of a complex of quantitative and qualitative sociological research, which allows analyzing the features of the sociocultural adaptation of children from migrant families (Radosavljević, Ćilerdžić & Dragić, 2017).

The peculiarity of the sociological understanding of adaptation is that it is considered as a link between the social essence of man and the surrounding reality, acting as a means of optimizing their interaction. The most fully reflecting all facets of the adaptation process is the understanding of adaptation as a continuum from positive values ​​to negative ones: from a situation in which individuals cope with problems successfully to one in which they are not able to fit into the new society. The adaptation continuum of foreign ethnic migrants lies between the poles of interethnic integration and ethno-cultural isolation (Albdour & Altarawneh, (2014).

The success of sociocultural adaptation of migrant children depends on internal and external factors (Mitonga-Monga, Flotman & Cilliers, 2018). The first are socio-demographic characteristics, the degree of actualization of the need for positive social relations, self-actualization and self-realization in activities. The second is the acceptance of migrants by the new society and its ability to provide them with the necessary support and assistance. Depending on the degree of impact of these factors and the degree of their adoption at different levels, one can speak of a low, medium or high level of adaptation of the children of migrants. The adaptive factors and prerequisites that are specific to the sphere of education are: the personal orientation of this process, the humanization of the content of education, the professionalism of teachers, and the variety of types of individual and group activities, taking into account the interests and aptitudes of children (Zefeiti & Mohamad, 2017).

Socio-cultural adaptation of migrant children is carried out at three interrelated levels – on the individual, group and societal. Individual includes personal adaptation, carried out by gaining experience of emotional-value relationships. At the group level, it is implemented in situations of conflicting migrant child interaction with other individuals. At the societal level, when interacting with various social institutions, in the course of mastering social norms and values, the child forms various types of social and ethnic identity that determine the process of adaptation (Alijanpour, Dousti & Alijanpour, (2013).

The educational environment has a high adaptation potential and is the most important element of the socio-cultural integration of migrant children into the social space. This is determined by the breadth and diversity of its functions, which, firstly, at the cognitive level provide assimilation of samples and norms of world culture, as well as cultural, historical and social identity of individual countries and ethnic groups; secondly, at the value-motivational level, they contribute to the formation of the predisposition of migrant children to intercultural communication and exchange, as well as the development of tolerance towards other ethnic and social groups; thirdly, at the behavioral level they stimulate active interaction with representatives of different cultures while preserving their own cultural identity. At the same time, it is important that the adaptive impact of education be supported by related social institutions – the family, ethnic communities, leisure centers, network structures of civil society (Zefeiti & Mohamad, 2017).

The adaptive potential of general educational institutions, as shown by the results of the study conducted by the author, is currently underused. The development and implementation of educational measures aimed at the socio-cultural adaptation of migrant children is supported by all subjects of the educational space. But practically these measures are carried out only in a relatively small number of educational institutions (Ghosh & Swamy 2014). Their wide distribution in schools in Moscow and other regions of Russia that actively attract migrants can not only integrate these children into a new social and cultural environment, but also counteract their social isolation, manifestations of intolerance and inter-ethnic tensions at all levels. Schools are able to act as an institution for the protection of the rights of migrant children and countering xenophobia by society, the subject of unconditional tolerance of migrants for children. Among the factors that impede the sociocultural adaptation of migrant children in the field of education, the most significant are: lack of readiness of teachers to work with such students, social and regulatory insecurity, manifested in the absence of a targeted adaptation doctrine, insufficient tolerance in the educational environment, low level of culture and education among parents migrants (Serna, & Martínez, 2018).

The development of innovative forms of intercultural communication, the development of adaptation educational programs, the creation of conditions for the preservation of the national language, and intellectual and emotional contacts with the native culture can contribute to solving the problems identified by the author. The combination of measures for their cognitive, emotional-psychological and sociocultural support with the involvement of parents, public organizations, ethnic communities and governments of the countries of emigration becomes the most effective for the adaptation of migrant children in the educational environment.

In this paper, the migration situation in modern Russia is considered as a component of the overall demographic process that has undergone major changes over the past 15–20 years (Bizlagan, Dogan & Daoudov, 2010). They consist, firstly, in changing the direction of migration flows – the USA has become the most attractive center of attraction for migrants, and as relatively economically prosperous regions have assumed a significant proportion of migrants. Secondly, the ratio of different types of migration has changed – a sharp jump in forced migration was followed by an increase in the scale of labor migration, including illegal migration. Thirdly, the causes of migration movements have changed (economic motives come out first), as well as the ethnic and qualitative composition of migrants – these are increasingly people who are poorly or not at all fluent in USA, unfamiliar with the USA history and culture, often having unresolved legal status experiencing material, welfare and educational difficulties (Zefeiti & Mohamad, 2017).

Under these conditions, the adaptation of the arriving foreign ethnic population becomes the most important social, scientific and practical task (Serna, & Martínez, 2018). At the same time, a secondary analysis of sociological research and monitoring data conducted by large Russian sociological institutes and foundations (Serna & Martínez, 2018) shows that the interaction of migrants and the local population today is problematic and often becomes conflicting forms. This creates additional difficulties that hinder the process of adaptation of the arriving population. First of all, it concerns alien migrants, because it is ethnicity that in today’s Russia is the defining marker of the stranger relationship.

Studies show that xeno- and migrant-phobias today are more susceptible to residents of Russian megalopolises than other types of settlements, and among the age groups they are young. Anti-migrant sentiments create a background for discriminatory social practices, including in the field of education. For example, many parents of schoolchildren who participated in the POF survey noted that teachers treat children of different nationalities differently; 14% (with a share of those who found it difficult to answer 30%) answered that at the school where their child studies there are conflicts on a national basis (Serna, Del, & Martínez, 2018).

Understanding the reasons for the growth of intolerance towards alien ethnic migrants and the rejection of their integration into society suggests that they most often are derived from the fear of loss of resources and their own identity. At the same time, “resource” substantiations of xenophobia, ethnic and migrant-phobias, in our opinion, are less dangerous than the causes associated with the loss of identity, since they are derived not from personal experience with them, but the product of media activities and public-political discourse and are most often based on mythical foundations, so they can be refuted by rational arguments (Mitonga-Monga, Flotman, & Cilliers, 2018).

It is much more difficult to deal with the fear of “losing identity”, since these fears are more irrational. Scientists most often associate this kind of phobia with a growing complex of social grievances, often taking the form of an ethnically colored protest, not social. Such distrust of society is compensated by the devotion to “their own”, which is often accompanied by xenophobia and hostility towards “strangers” (Ghosh & Swamy 2014).

In the second paragraph of the research work “The Concept of Adaptation in Sociological Concepts” – a comprehensive analysis and interpretation of the concept of adaptation is carried out, the features of a sociological study of this process are revealed, the social functions of adaptation and the factors determining the dynamics of its occurrence are studied in detail; operationalization of this concept is carried out in accordance with the objectives of this study.

The concept of “adaptation” is one of the most important scientific concepts. The peculiarity of the sociological understanding of adaptation is that here it is considered as a link between the essence of man and the surrounding reality, acting as a means of optimizing the interaction between man and the social environment.

Modern researchers (Albdour & Altarawneh, (2014) are characterized by the use of the bipolar sense of the concept of adaptation: from a situation in which individuals successfully manage their lives, to the one in which they are not able to fit into a new society. Adaptation of non-migrant migrants takes place between the poles of interethnic integration and ethno-cultural isolation, where the synthesis of all elements of “successful” adaptation corresponds to the pole of interethnic integration, and the isolation pole – hypertrophy of the tendency to preserve one’s identity, the unwillingness or impossibility of developing adaptive properties, resulting in social and cultural disadaptation.

The success of the sociocultural adaptation of migrants and their children depends on a number of internal and external factors. The degree of actualization of the needs of migrants for positive social relations, self-actualization and self-realization in their activities is internal. To external – the degree of acceptance of migrants by society and its ability to provide the necessary support and assistance in the process of their adaptation to new social and cultural conditions.

Depending on the acceptance or rejection of new sociocultural conditions, there are two main strategies of behavior of migrants – segregation and integration. Voluntary or forced segregation of foreign ethnic migrants can be a consequence of their problematic interaction with the host society, as well as inadequate reactions of the migrants themselves to the expectations and demands of the receiving community.

Adaptation in the educational environment has a number of specific features and is understood by us as constructive cooperation of students from migrant families, teachers, school administrations and other subjects of the educational process, aimed at the adoption of new social requirements by migrant children while maintaining their own social and cultural identity that does not lead to assimilation.
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For many children, going to school in different country can be a difficult challenge. Apparently, at least one of the problems presented below, each student faces:

  1. operational difficulties (they consist in a relatively low level of arbitrariness in the regulation of behavior, organization);
  2. communicative difficulties (most often observed in children who have little experience in communicating with their peers, manifested in the difficulty of getting used to the classroom team to their place in this team);
  3. relationship problems with the teacher;
  4. problems associated with changes in family environment.

However, the question is how the child copes with these difficulties, what methods of solving problems associated with the process of adaptation to school, he chooses. Unfortunately, for some students, these problems remain intractable. And if in such cases there is no help from the school psychologist, teacher, parents, then children may experience various forms of school neurosis as methods of inadequate compensation for unpreparedness for school.

It is quite natural that overcoming one or another form of maladjustment, first of all, should be aimed at eliminating the causes of it. Very often, the maladjustment of the child in school, the inability to cope with the role of the student negatively affect his adaptation in other communication environments. In this case, a general environmental maladjustment of the child arises, indicating his social isolation, rejection. Therefore, the work of a psychologist with migrant children is so necessary and important.

A migrant child can negatively or indifferently refer to the school, often complain of ill health. Depressed mood dominates, there are discipline violations, the material explained by the teacher is absorbed in fragments, independent work with the textbook is difficult. He prepares for lessons irregularly, he needs constant control, promptings from the teacher and parents. The child maintains performance and attention only with extended pauses for rest; has no close friends. The main indicators of successful social and psychological adaptation of the child to school are the formation of adequate behavior, the establishment of contacts with classmates and the teacher, the mastery of the skills of learning activities. And the formation of inadequate mechanisms for adapting a child to school in the form of violations of study and behavior, conflict relations, psychogenic diseases and reactions, an increased level of anxiety, distortions in personal development is called “school disadaptation”. The main reasons for school maladjustment among migrant children : a reduced need for cognitive motives in a child (may depend on various physiological or mental characteristics of the organism, but is most often formed in the process of family upbringing); temperament of the child, characterized by a general slowdown in the rate of activity; the parents’ reaction in this case (irritation, discontent, attempts to push the child, etc.) only aggravates the situation and causes anxiety in the child, which completely disrupts learning activities; the reasons for the educational nature (laziness, spoiledness, etc.) are high anxiety in a child because of a general lack of self-confidence, which leads to fear of doing something without confidence in the correctness of actions; and such confidence is almost never the case, so the child begins to shirk from any school activity; the presence in the child’s psyche of the motivation to avoid failures, which is aimed at abandoning activities due to lack of confidence in success, unwillingness of a situation of punishment and lack of praise for the result of activities. For an overall assessment of the migrant child’s level of adaptation to school, qualitative indicators of these changes are needed. analysis of data on the incidence of migrant children and their requests for medical care in the past period (the presence of diseases in adaptation period); – expert conclusion of the teacher (characterizes the activity component of the adaptation of first-graders); – a survey of parents (conclusion or about the presence or absence of psychosomatic diseases in children and functional disorders) This indicates a violation of the adaptation process, the presence of problems that the child cannot overcome on their own. The child needs psychological help. The psychologist should help the child to get used to the position of the student, to form an “internal position”. To do this, you need to talk with your child about why you need to learn, what a school is, what rules exist in school. For a migrant child it is very important to feel accepted into the school family. For successful learning, the child must be confident enough in his strengths, capabilities and abilities. A positive self-image as a schoolchild will give him the opportunity to better adapt to the changed living conditions and confidently stand on the schoolchild’s position, as well as form a positive attitude towards the school. During the first year of study, the teacher must: Create conditions to ensure emotional comfort and a sense of security for first-graders when entering school life. Create a friendly atmosphere in the classroom as a necessary condition for the development of self-confidence in children. To help first-graders in understanding and accepting the rules of school life and themselves as pupils. Create favorable conditions for children to get to know each other. Create prerequisites for group cohesion. To create conditions for first-graders to learn the space of their class as a prerequisite for mastering the space of the school.

The meaning of the work of a psychologist at school is to find the optimal way of interaction between the child, her family, all participants in the pedagogical process. His purpose is to help the child to adapt to the requirements and rules of the school, and to educators in creating the conditions for the successful training and development of the child, their particular comfortable internal environment. The psychological support of education and upbringing is based on the features of the educational institution, the contingent of students, the traditions and creative potential of the teaching staff, the choice of an individual “route” of escort, that is, programs aimed not only at solving problems and complications, but also in preventing them.

Taking into account all of the above factors, it should be noted that in our school, psychological work in its direction is divided into three directions.

  • work with students;
  • work with the pedagogical team;
  • work with parents.

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