LITERACIES IN MOTION: TRANSNATIONAL LIVES AND LIFELONG LEARNING IN THE US AND NEPAL

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/555859
Title:
LITERACIES IN MOTION: TRANSNATIONAL LIVES AND LIFELONG LEARNING IN THE US AND NEPAL
Author:
Silvester, Katherine
Issue Date:
2015
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Embargo:
Dissertation not available (per author's request)
Abstract:
"Literacies in Motion: Transnational Lives and Lifelong Learning in the US and Nepal," is a multi-sited, ethnographic case study of adult Bhutanese refugees' English language and literacy learning in the transnational contexts of the Bhutanese Diaspora and subsequent refugee resettlement. Specifically, I look at two refugee education programs that provide intensive English language training, the Pima Community College Adult Education Refugee Education Project (REP) in Tucson, Arizona and Caritas-Nepal's Spoken English Center at the site of the Bhutanese refugee camps in Jhapa, Nepal. As a teacher engaged in classroom inquiry in the REP program in Tucson, I was interested in how multilingual adults who strategically and complexly identified as refugees also understood themselves as English language learners and what effect these orientations might have on learning processes and classroom dynamics, especially related to literacy instruction. This initial classroom research gradually expanded to include research in the homes and community spaces of the Nepali-speaking Bhutanese students who invited me to participate as a teacher-researcher in their cultural events and neighborhood meetings and, eventually, to global sites of inquiry in the Bhutanese refugee camps in Nepal. Altogether, I conducted ethnographic research over a period of 5 years, including classroom observations, teacher and learner interviews, and literacy artifact collection in homes, schools, and community spaces. My findings show that while linguistic inequalities within the communicative contexts of refugee resettlement worked to constrain adult language learners' second language literacies in the classroom, refugees' own mobile knowledge networks and global language investments allowed for more flexible multilingual and multimodal literacy resources and practices. Furthermore, while there is a profound, collective investment in English language learning in refugee camps in Nepal prior to resettlement, this investment is complex and learners often demonstrate deeply ambivalent attitudes toward the benefit of learning English especially later in life. While much local effort is invested in "empowering" teachers and adult learners through English education, true fluency among older adults in the refugee camp remains extremely limited to a truncated classroom repertoire (i.e. copying from the board, repetition, and simple greetings). Instead, adult learners, especially women, flourished in other ways through language center leadership, recruitment, and coordination involving translingual, transcultural, and multimodal skills. By considering the ways in which women refugees' expanding communicative repertoires outside of class operate in the refugee camp, and then travel through the migratory space of refugee resettlement, this study supports the work of emerging voices in the field of rhetoric and composition (i.e. Rebecca Lorimer Leonard's "traveling literacies") as well as those more established in literacy studies and applied linguistics (i.e. Jan Blommaert's "grassroots literacies" and "mobilization of language resources") to forward a mobile literacies construct that helps to explain the affordances and constraints of traveling language resources in a globalized world. Discrepancies found in both US and Bhutanese refugee camp contexts between the truncated English language repertoires of adult learners in class and their expanding translingual and multimodal repertoires outside of class, suggest important implications for translocal language policy and planning for multilingual learners.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
English Language Teaching; Migration; Refugees; Women and Literacy; English; English Language Learners
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Graduate College; English
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Hall, Anne-Marie; Gilmore, Perry

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoen_USen
dc.titleLITERACIES IN MOTION: TRANSNATIONAL LIVES AND LIFELONG LEARNING IN THE US AND NEPALen_US
dc.creatorSilvester, Katherineen
dc.contributor.authorSilvester, Katherineen
dc.date.issued2015en
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en
dc.description.releaseDissertation not available (per author's request)en
dc.description.abstract"Literacies in Motion: Transnational Lives and Lifelong Learning in the US and Nepal," is a multi-sited, ethnographic case study of adult Bhutanese refugees' English language and literacy learning in the transnational contexts of the Bhutanese Diaspora and subsequent refugee resettlement. Specifically, I look at two refugee education programs that provide intensive English language training, the Pima Community College Adult Education Refugee Education Project (REP) in Tucson, Arizona and Caritas-Nepal's Spoken English Center at the site of the Bhutanese refugee camps in Jhapa, Nepal. As a teacher engaged in classroom inquiry in the REP program in Tucson, I was interested in how multilingual adults who strategically and complexly identified as refugees also understood themselves as English language learners and what effect these orientations might have on learning processes and classroom dynamics, especially related to literacy instruction. This initial classroom research gradually expanded to include research in the homes and community spaces of the Nepali-speaking Bhutanese students who invited me to participate as a teacher-researcher in their cultural events and neighborhood meetings and, eventually, to global sites of inquiry in the Bhutanese refugee camps in Nepal. Altogether, I conducted ethnographic research over a period of 5 years, including classroom observations, teacher and learner interviews, and literacy artifact collection in homes, schools, and community spaces. My findings show that while linguistic inequalities within the communicative contexts of refugee resettlement worked to constrain adult language learners' second language literacies in the classroom, refugees' own mobile knowledge networks and global language investments allowed for more flexible multilingual and multimodal literacy resources and practices. Furthermore, while there is a profound, collective investment in English language learning in refugee camps in Nepal prior to resettlement, this investment is complex and learners often demonstrate deeply ambivalent attitudes toward the benefit of learning English especially later in life. While much local effort is invested in "empowering" teachers and adult learners through English education, true fluency among older adults in the refugee camp remains extremely limited to a truncated classroom repertoire (i.e. copying from the board, repetition, and simple greetings). Instead, adult learners, especially women, flourished in other ways through language center leadership, recruitment, and coordination involving translingual, transcultural, and multimodal skills. By considering the ways in which women refugees' expanding communicative repertoires outside of class operate in the refugee camp, and then travel through the migratory space of refugee resettlement, this study supports the work of emerging voices in the field of rhetoric and composition (i.e. Rebecca Lorimer Leonard's "traveling literacies") as well as those more established in literacy studies and applied linguistics (i.e. Jan Blommaert's "grassroots literacies" and "mobilization of language resources") to forward a mobile literacies construct that helps to explain the affordances and constraints of traveling language resources in a globalized world. Discrepancies found in both US and Bhutanese refugee camp contexts between the truncated English language repertoires of adult learners in class and their expanding translingual and multimodal repertoires outside of class, suggest important implications for translocal language policy and planning for multilingual learners.en
dc.typetexten
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen
dc.subjectEnglish Language Teachingen
dc.subjectMigrationen
dc.subjectRefugeesen
dc.subjectWomen and Literacyen
dc.subjectEnglishen
dc.subjectEnglish Language Learnersen
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen
thesis.degree.disciplineEnglishen
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen
dc.contributor.advisorHall, Anne-Marieen
dc.contributor.advisorGilmore, Perryen
dc.contributor.committeememberHall, Anne-Marieen
dc.contributor.committeememberGilmore, Perryen
dc.contributor.committeememberWaugh, Lindaen
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