Educating Refugee-background Students Critical Issues and Dynamic Contexts Edited by: Shawna Shapiro, Raichle Farrelly, Mary Jane Curry

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03 May 2018
New Perspectives on Language and Education
Multilingual Matters
234 x 156


This collection of empirical work offers an in-depth exploration of key issues in the education of adolescents and adults with refugee backgrounds residing in North America, Australia and Europe. These studies foreground student goals, experiences and voices, and reflect a high degree of awareness of the assets that refugee-background students bring to schools and broader society. Chapters are clustered according to the two themes of Language and Literacy, and Access and Equity. Each chapter includes a discussion of context, researcher positionality and implications for educators, policy-makers and scholars.


In these pages, socially aware academics have integrated educational and social issues, attending consciously to refugees as whole people. The editors and authors understand how the educational concerns of refugees are inseparable from their political, geographic, cultural and psychological contexts, and are to be commended for producing this worthwhile volume.

- James Simpson, University of Leeds, UK

This volume offers a wealth of information about what crossing (language) borders means for students with a refugee background. It demonstrates the opportunities modern technology offers them to stay connected to their heritage culture and languages, to create new bonds with host community members, and to foreground their voices. In doing so, it invites educators to go beyond the classroom walls to meet students’ experiences and needs.

- Jeanne Kurvers, Tilburg University, The Netherlands

With deeply nuanced and textured accounts of the various factors that influence the language, literacy and learning experiences of refugee-background learners of all ages and in many contexts, this volume will be of great value to anyone interested in facilitating refugee-background learners’ access to educational, social and economic opportunity.

- Doris Warriner, Arizona State University, USA

While the authors’ repeated calls for more and better research validates the need to be able to account for demands for funding, resources and the like, the work that is presented is valuable precisely because of its specificity and the lines drawn, connections made from one particular set of occurrences to broader possibilities for interventions, shifts and new approaches to engaging refugee learners of all ages and abilities across the educational spectrum. This collection moves the needle well in the direction of furthering collective wisdom, offering solutions and possibilities in a time of darkness around the world

- Languages 2019, 4(3), 66 - Janet Isserlis, Adult Educator/Literacy Practitioner, USA

Author Biography:

Shawna Shapiro is an Associate Professor of Writing and Linguistics at Middlebury College, Vermont, USA, where she also directs the Writing and Rhetoric Program. Her research interests include transitions from secondary to postsecondary education, innovations in teaching writing to multilingual students, and other asset-oriented approaches to teaching and research with linguistically diverse college students. In addition to her scholarly work, she is involved in local initiatives benefitting English learners in her community.

Raichle Farrelly is an Assistant Professor in the Applied Linguistics Department and MA TESOL Program at Saint Michael’s College, Vermont, USA. She is a teacher educator and researcher with a focus on L2 teacher education, reflective teaching, and teaching English to adult refugee-background students. Her first co-authored book, published by TESOL Press, focuses on how instructors can support international students in higher education settings.

Mary Jane Curry is Associate Professor, Department of Teaching and Curriculum, Warner Graduate School of Education, University of Rochester, New York, USA, where she also directs the Writing Support Services. She is co-editor of TESOL Quarterly’s Brief Research Reports section and Multilingual Matters’ series, Studies in Knowledge Production and Participation. Her research focuses on access to academic writing and knowledge production by scholars and students using English as an additional language.

Readership Level:

Postgraduate, Research / Professional

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