Everyday literacy practices of a Syrian refugee: strengths and struggles
Taking a social practice view of literacy, this study examines and describes the everyday literacy practices of a recently arrived Syrian refugee to Aotearoa New Zealand. It highlights the individual, home and community literacy competencies that are often overlooked in adult literacy education. Data was collected from interviews with the participant at home including observations of literacy and multi-lingual practices. Analysis reveals key theoretical perspectives, captures how the participant’s literacy practices have changed as a result of changing demands and the particular cultural and contextual aspects of their literacies. The study supports the complexity of literacy and language skills that refugees need for successful resettlement. It calls for a greater awareness of alternative understandings of literacy, challenges the often deficit views of refugees as helpless victims and advocates an inclusive approach to address problems and possibilities for learners surviving trauma.
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© Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educational Research, Te Kura Toi Tangata Faculty of Education, 2015