Language and literacy education of youth refugees
No abstract available.
This study of multimodal textmaking is focused on how resources from home and from school are used by one child in the middle years of elementary school. Kyle is the primary participant in this ethnographic case study, which spanned two school years. Analysis focused on how texts change, how resources and identities are constructed and reconstructed, and which texts and textmaking practices are valued and which are not. In response to the need to understand more fully how hybrid or ‘relocalized’ (Pennycook, 2010) texts are made, this study undertook an examination of a wide range of textmaking processes. Kyle’s use of the cultural resources of professional wrestling, amongst others, to make narrative and performative hybrid texts, is traced. His ‘rescripting’ of everyday experiences, in playful and parodic ways, is explored. Kyle’s writing within a mandated writing process, performance-based assessment is also examined and a sociocultural understanding of creativity is proposed.Insight into permeability of home and school boundaries is offered. An expanded definition of text to include multimodal forms suggests that all texts are multimodal, but also that many children are excluded from successful textmaking at school because the modes, forms, and resources with which they are familiar or have had success, are not included amongst the valued texts at school (Luke, 1997; Marsh, 2006; Nixon & Comber, 2006). Powerful practices and interpersonal influences are made visible in a way that is not possible when only polished or final versions of texts are considered. The potentials and possibilities offered by play and improvisation within textmaking, both in and out of school, are emphasized.
The goal of achieving Universal Primary Education (UPE) has found resonance throughout Africa as governments embark on ambitious development agendas, and in Uganda specifically. Yet, arguably the fundamental prerequisite for attaining quality UPE, literacy, has had limited success: one in three Ugandans cannot read or write in any language. Illiteracy is especially acute in post-conflict Gulu, in the north, illustrative of how closely intertwined human security is to the ability to offer relevant, culturally appropriate and high quality education. Some argue that the poor progress on raising literacy levels is a consequence of education systems’ disconnections from the cultures of their learners (Prah 2008), including quality multilingual education. The need to integrate the mother tongue into the classroom, including into second language learning is well established (Cummins 1981, 1993; 2000; Egbokhare 2004; Garcia, 2009). Identifying the best tools to accomplish this in African contexts, particularly where conflict is a factor, however, is much less well explored. This research seeks to understand how Gulu's primary teachers can use specific information communication technology (ICT) tools to support teachers who are struggling to teach the mother tongue with limited traditional literacy resources. It forms part of a larger project led by Dr. Bonny Norton, Dr. Maureen Kendrick and Dr. Margaret Early, to address language and literacy challenges in diverse African communities. In particular, this study serves as a response to the finding (Mutonyi & Norton, 2007) that ICTs offer untapped potential to raise learning outcomes.
In the field of early childhood literacy, researchers have begun to investigate the ways contemporary childhoods are being shaped by a range of multimodal communicative practices (Kress, 2003; Lankshear & Knobel, 2003; Marsh, 2003b). The link between children’s use of these practices, many of which are linked to digital technologies and global discourses, and their identity construction, is also being examined in the new millennium. The changing communication systems of the twenty-first century are also influencing the ways urban Aboriginal children make meaning in their worlds, and are impacting Aboriginal children’s identities. Drawing on a sociocultural theory of learning, the purpose of this qualitative comparative case study is to investigate the complexity of the everyday communicative practices utilized by two, six-year-old urban Aboriginal children in and out-of-school, in an attempt to inform the future direction of literacy curricula for young Aboriginal children. Acquiring insight into Aboriginal children’s meaning making is also vital to challenging and replacing long-standing deficit notions held by society and mainstream schools about Aboriginal students’ inferiority and ineducability. This is particularly relevant as the urban Aboriginal student population rises in the province of Saskatchewan. The findings revealed the focal children’s homes to be vibrant, multimodal textual spaces in which the children were supported by their family members as they engaged in a range of communicative practices for multiple purposes. The findings also revealed the link between the dynamic and evolving nature of Indigenous knowledge and the families’ meaning making. Further, the findings showed how the practices valued and promoted in the focal children’s classroom generally reflected traditional and narrow modes of communication, specifically, print-based and teacher-directed practices, and also included superficial, rudimentary aspects of Aboriginal culture. This study offers new suggestions on the ways in which Aboriginal children’s out-of-school communicative practices, specifically those practices linked to digital technology, can be included in early childhood classrooms in culturally-relevant ways.
This thesis presents an ethnographic, qualitative case study on a digital storytelling project with “at-risk” senior-high aged immigrant and refugee students in a Surrey School District transition program. Most of the students were of refugee background, belonging to a subpopulation of English language learners possessing distinct academic and social needs due to limited formal education and trauma. The study addresses a gap in the research on digital storytelling with refugees by investigating the pedagogical potential of a multimodal project design through which students approach composition non-sequentially according to their individual interests and intents, employing cultural, linguistic, and meaning-making resources. Theoretical frameworks included the socio-cultural perspective of literacy, as well as the notions of multiliteracies and multimodality. Data were gathered through field notes, participant observation, informal conversations with students, semi-structured ethnographic interviews, and the collection of student artifacts and digital stories. I include in the findings both general observations, as well as detailed accounts of the composing process and digital stories of two students. Findings were determined through coding data according to modes of communication and common themes that emerged during analysis, and further organized using an adaptation of Gillian Rose’s visual methodology. This research demonstrates how a non-sequential, multimodal digital storytelling project promoted a democratic classroom environment in which all students felt capable of communicating their knowledge and identities, according to their strengths and interests. Also, students developed a conscious awareness and enhanced their repertoires of how to use and combine different modes to communicate meaning, thus revealing complex thinking and decision-making. The project furthermore extended possibilities for students to communicate complex and abstract aspects of their identities and social worlds, including difficult knowledge. Teachers gained greater insight into the students’ identities, and the students deepened their understanding of their own strengths and accomplishments.
Using a qualitative case study design this thesis looks at literacy and the visual-verbal relationship. I describe the ways in which a child in grade three, formally diagnosed through standardized testing as having a writing learning disability, engages in new literacy practices in his home context. Data were collected via field notes, participant observation, semi-structured interviews, and digital photographs of artifacts. The theoretical frameworks that influenced this study were Vygotsky's social constructionist theory, the theory of new literacies, Gunther Kress’s theory of multimodality, and the New London Group's multiliteracies pedagogy. The artifacts I documented and collected were analyzed using multimodality analysis, as I adapted from Gillian Rose's visual methodology approach. The focus is on the role of image and the ways the participant incorporated drawings and computer-generated visuals into his texts. The role of technology in his meaning-making and how it affects his identity construction and sense of agency is particularly noted and discussed. The overall aim is to inform current pedagogical practices and address a gap in the literature by focusing on a child who has a learning disability, yet who is superior in intelligence and gifted in other cognitive abilities, and to explore whether it is possible to bridge the gap between new literacy practices and traditional, school print-based ones. The findings reinforce current research on the importance of acknowledging and bringing into the classroom children's competencies with digital literacies from their out-of-school literacy practices. They also support the need to reassess current methods of teaching writing and to investigate the non-linear qualities in children's multimodal text-making. A final intent of this study is that it will raise awareness of addressing the needs of students who are marginalized in the classroom and how a multimodal and multiliteracies approach may support not only cultural diversity, but also learner diversity.
In 2007 Uganda launched a new curriculum called the thematic curriculum that emphasizes the use of home languages as the medium of instruction in lower primary classes and the use cultural resources such as local stories and songs as pedagogical tools to improve literacy instruction. The purpose of this study was to examine how Lugbara cultural resources like stories, songs, and riddles ‘travel’ from community sites into classrooms and how teachers used them to enhance language teaching and learning. The study was informed by the New Literacy Studies (Barton & Hamilton, 1998; Street, 1984), which focus on literacy as a situated social practice. This was a qualitative case study that used lesson observations, interviews, focus group discussions and document analysis as the main data sources. For data analysis the study loosely drew on Hymes’ (1974) SPEAKING Model which views discourse as a series of speech events within a cultural context by describing the Setting, the Participants, the End, the Act sequence, the key, the Instrumentalities, the Norms and the Genre of the speech event. Findings from the study revealed that cultural resources ‘travel’ from the community settings where they are traditionally performed to new sites in the classrooms as hybrid forms ranging from strong (retaining a large number of key elements from their place of origin) to weak (with limited elements from their place origin). Strong cultural resources have great potential to transform classroom practices and enhance language teaching and learning, whereas weak cultural resources are stripped of their transformative potential. Thus, cultural resources do not have an intrinsic resourcefulness as pedagogical tools. Their resourcefulness depends on the extent to which they retain their key traditional elements in the course of travelling from the community sites into the new settings. Teachers thus need further training to understand how the cultural resources function as both community and classroom resources to make their best use as pedagogical tools. The study informs the language policy and the new thematic curriculum in Uganda. It brings a much needed non-Western perspective to New Literacy Studies theory by building on literacy as a socio-cultural practice.