Flexible models for learning English are needed for refugee mothers

Author/s: Elisha Riggs, Karen Block, Lisa Gibbs, Elise Davis, Josef Szwarc, Sue Casey, Philippa Duell-Piening and Elizabeth Waters

Edition: Volume 52, Number 2, July 2012

Summary: The importance of English language acquisition for resettlement of refugees is well established, particularly as a pathway to education, employment, health and social connections. A qualitative study was conducted in 2011 in Melbourne, Australia utilising focus groups with 87 refugee background women from Karen, Iraqi, Assyrian Chaldean, Lebanese, South Sudanese and Bhutanese refugee backgrounds. Focus groups and interviews were also conducted with 18 service providers and five bicultural and community workers. Several barriers were identified that prevented refugee mothers from learning English; however, some innovative and flexible models appear promising. The development, implementation and evaluation of innovative models and settings for refugee background women with young children to learn English in a culturally appropriate way are essential.

Keywords: English language acquisition, refugees, barriers

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This article is part of AJAL, Volume 52_2. The entire volume is available in .pdf for purchase here.

 

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