A journey beyond the classroom: a narrative inquiry into the settlement struggles of adult EAL students

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Date
2015
Authors
Castillo, Laura
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Abstract
Canada welcomes and supports refugees from all over the world. However, they encounter many struggles that force them to with withdraw from their English language classes. This Narrative Inquiry explores the lived experiences of two adult refugee students who could not continue with their English classes due to the hardships they encountered. Through research conversations I document their experiences in two narrative accounts, and read across them to find common threads. These common struggles include financial strains, employment, childcare, isolation and mental health. The findings point to the importance of further supporting refugee students in different ways. My recommendations are that ESL teachers develop lessons that include settlement, support services, and Canadian culture information. English language programs need to incorporate support services with professionals trained in ESL, and the different levels of government need to be part of the discussion on how to provide stronger supports through childcare, employment and information accessibility.
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Keywords
ESL, EAL, Refugees, Settlment struggles, langauge barrier, adult students, Programs, English classes, Barriers
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