Building cultural and linguistic bridges: Reflections on a program designed to support adult students from refugee backgrounds’ transitions into university
Keywords: adult students from refugee backgrounds, transitions, cultural and linguistic norms, higher education, TAFE to university
AbstractAlthough many students struggle with the complexities of moving into and through higher education, these transitions can be particularly challenging for students from refugee backgrounds (SfRBs). While federal government resettlement initiatives provide English language education opportunities for new refugee arrivals up to a ‘functional’ level, there is little in place to support the educational, linguistic and cultural challenges encountered by SfRBs who wish to enter and progress through higher education. This paper presents reflections on the design, delivery and evaluation of a program developed to facilitate SfRBs’ transitions into an enabling education course at a regional university. A primary goal of this program was to purposefully and explicitly unpack the cultural expectations and linguistic requirements of higher education study. Underpinned by a curriculum which is both flexible and responsive to cultural, educational and funding contexts, this program was first mapped to the outcomes of the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP)—delivered at a TAFE institution—and then redesigned as a pre-semester university-based ‘bridging program’. Reflections from the practitioners who designed and delivered the program shed light on the challenges of working with a responsive curriculum in real-time to attempt to fill the multiple gaps created by institutional assumptions and misrecognitions about who is in the higher education classroom.
How to Cite
BakerS., IrwinE., FreemanH., NanceS., & ColemanJ. (2018). Building cultural and linguistic bridges: Reflections on a program designed to support adult students from refugee backgrounds’ transitions into university. Journal of Academic Language and Learning, 12(1), A64-A80. Retrieved from https://journal.aall.org.au/index.php/jall/article/view/521
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