• More than a Classroom: Learners Voices - How should Iskashitaa use our ESL Classes as a Space to Increase Self-Sufficiency, Language Acquisition and as a Bridge to the Community for our Adult Refugee Students?

      Zaleski, Kathryn N.; Language, Reading and Culture; Department of Teaching, Learning and Sociocultural Studies (2011-11-04)
      What are Iskashitaa Refugee Harvesting Network’s roles and objectives in teaching English as a Second Language to adult refugees in the Tucson community? How can we create a classroom environment that builds their language acquisition while promoting self-sufficiency? To inquire into these questions, interviews were conducted with adult refugee students who attend the classes, anecdotal records were kept of the ESL teachers’ weekly reflections and classroom observations were performed. Iskashitaa’s ESL classes should provide a space for English language acquisition, assisting in the acculturation process through introducing material that is based on life-skills, with the teachers serving as a cultural broker, advocate and friend and finally, introducing the adult refugees to the community through volunteer activities with Iskashitaa. There is a need for more inquiry and discussion about the pre-literate refugee population, especially in effective teaching strategies, curriculum ideas and a better understanding of literacy practices within the home. These are matters that merit a larger discussion by people who work in education and with refugees, as feedback would be beneficial from all who work with refugees and can recommend what they have observed, experienced and envision to help in the language acquisition, self-sufficiency and acculturation process for refugees.