Digital literacies: Understanding the literate practices of refugee kids in an Afterschool Media Club

Dooley, Karen (2015) Digital literacies: Understanding the literate practices of refugee kids in an Afterschool Media Club. In Ferfolja, T., Jones-Diaz, C., & Ullman, J. (Eds.) Understanding Sociological Theory for Educational Practices. Cambridge University Press, Melbourne, VIC, pp. 180-195.

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Since the 2000s, teachers in an increasing number of Australian schools have been learning how to support students with refugee backgrounds. For some of these students, entry into the Australian school system is not easy. English literacy is integral to some of the challenges confronting the students. In response, educators have been developing and researching ways of engaging with the students’ language and literacy learning. Much of the focus has been on traditional print-based school literacies. In contrast, I look here at student engagement in digital literacies in an after-school media club.

Several concepts from the theory of French sociologist, Pierre Bourdieu are useful for understanding the position of students of refugee background in the Australian school system. Like other conflict theories, Bourdieusian theory has sometimes been criticised as ‘pessimistic’, that is, for suggesting that schools necessarily reproduce social disadvantage. However, others have used Bourdieusian theory to analyse and critique the reproductive work of schooling for groups of students who experience educational disadvantage. I align myself with this latter tradition. Specifically, I use Bourdieu’s triad of concepts to explain aspects of the literacy education experiences of some young people of refugee background: field, capital and habitus. In particular, I look at questions of the legitimation of students’ competences as capital in literate fields within and beyond the school context.

Data are drawn from an Australian Research Council-funded project, Digital Learning and Print Literacy: A design experiment for the reform of low socio-economic, culturally diverse schools (2009-14). The data analysed in this chapter include interviews and observations relating to the participation of two Congolese girls in an after school media club. Implications are drawn for teachers of literacy in culturally and linguistically diverse contexts. Consideration is made of early childhood, primary and secondary settings.

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ID Code: 81206
Item Type: Book Chapter
Additional URLs:
Keywords: refugee education, media club, digital literacy, afterschool program, Bourdieu
ISBN: 978-1-107-47746-9
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Children & Youth Research Centre
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 Cambridge University Press
Deposited On: 26 Jan 2015 23:41
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2015 04:25

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