Getting Started: things to read and things to know about critical education

Mar 29, 2010

CEN Seminar #1-2010 Video Now Available

Please click the following link to view the video of the inaugural CEN Seminar for 2010: Kerry Taylor-Leech's

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1 comment:

  1. Firstly thank you for providing us access to this seminar series, the first seminar from Kerry Taylor-Leech was fascinating.

    A couple of points came out strongly to me.

    1) Probably because this is related to my research on schools and community collaboration, but the points about Bernie and his connection to the Jehovah's Witnesses (JW) were quite interesting. I think it demonstrates the power of individuals being connected to a community, in this case a religious one. The fact that he had made that connection in the refugee camps, and had it validated as soon as he entered Australia, really has probably made a huge difference to his life here in Australia.
    I think another factor to his success in picking up English is the fact that in that community (Jehovah's Witnesses) he is exposed to English language speakers, the emphasis they place on oral language, and the 'practice' he gets through such things as the role plays they run for their outreach/doorknocking. His written text (Bible) is something he is interested in and subsequently he is motivated to learn to read English because his text revolves around something he is passionate about.
    This is evident in research on disadvantaged schools, notably Comber and Kamler (2004) Getting out of deficit journal article. The importance of connecting literacy (reading material) to children's lifeworlds is evident in this research by Comber and Kamler, it is worth a read.

    2) The second participant, John, I noted that Kerry mentioned the cultural norms from John's culture such as who gets to speak, lack of eye contact etc and how important they are when interacting with people in Australia while he is learning English (and learning how to survive in a foreign country). While John needs to learn Australian cultural norms, it is important that his cultural norms are taken into consideration by all who interact with him. In fact, it underlies the importance of existing Australian residents being educated about the culture (and religion) of a variety of ethnic groups, especially those whose migrant levels are increasing (ie. Muslims from various cultures). Hopefully that can instill more respect for the 'Other' culture which in turn instills more respect for Australian culture from the 'Other' (not that I am suggesting migrants do not have a healthy respect for Australia already).

    3) A migrant's literacy background in their native language also appears to be a critical factor in their success in learning English. If a migrant had poor literacy in their native language, that makes English language acquisition that much harder.

    Ok, that is 3 points rather than 2, but you get the idea. These are 3 things I took away from Kerry's seminar, points that are important if migrants' are to be able to successfully make the transition into a foreign culture.

    So what did you take away from Kerry's seminar?