Pathways to Belonging: An Ethnographic Study of Students of Refugee Experience making their way in a South Australian Mainstream Primary School

Author: Fiona Picton

Picton, Fiona, 2016 Pathways to Belonging: An Ethnographic Study of Students of Refugee Experience making their way in a South Australian Mainstream Primary School , Flinders University, School of Education

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Abstract

Young primary school age students of refugee experience arrive in Australia, with hope for an improved and settled life complete with new educational opportunities. Resettlement in their new country brings many challenges. Complex processes of acculturation into both broad societal understandings and negotiations of everyday meanings impact on their ability to succeed at school. Previous research indicates that while initial educational immersion in New Arrivals programs can be successful for students the transition to mainstream primary school may be accompanied by barriers to academic achievement and opportunities to connect to the school culture. This ethnographic research is concerned with understanding the pathways to belonging that young, resettled, students of refugee experience in their navigation into and through mainstream primary school. Belonging to the school culture has been identified in the literature as an important route to successful academic achievement for students. This research provides a rich ethnographic account of student life in one school setting. It employs student voice and storying to contribute to an understanding of the importance of belonging in the schooling experience of young students of refugee experience.

Keywords: Acculturation, belonging, culture, equity, ethnographic, identity, inclusion, mainstream, minority group, opportunities, pathways, pedagogies, primary school, practice, refugee, resettlement, transition, storying, structures, students, trust, understandings
Subject: Education thesis

Thesis type: Professional Doctorate
Completed: 2016
School: School of Education
Supervisor: Dr Grant Banfield