14 SES 13 B, Research Journeys through Diverse Urban Communities: The Language and Literacy Development of New Arrival Children
These three papers construct a narrative that examines the ways in which our knowledge of new arrival children and visual literacy research can inform the design of quantitative research through the creation of innovative data gathering tools that favour a constructivist approach to literacy development as well as subsequent pedagogical practice.
Population change and migration is a manifestation of globalisation and the urban areas of Glasgow, Barcelona and Marseille, which provide the contextual setting for each paper, have all experienced cycles of migration over the last century. Over the past 15 years population shifts across Europe mean that within these cities approximately 15% of young people are new to the language of instruction within the education systems While individual education systems have responded at a policy level to meet the educational needs of these children, tensions still remain in terms of attitudes and beliefs about migration and the links between state, language and identity. Fixed notions of state, language and identity still abound and have made their presence felt in the subsequent cities through intolerance and an increased sense of marginalisation for new arrivals.
This symposium will discuss how researchers have used culturally responsive tools to investigate and illuminate the gaps between policy and practice, as well as evaluating the impact of their research within the communities where they work.
The first paper presents research from an international project on Visual Journeys by the Barcelona team. The project looked at how newly arrived children responded to two wordless postmodern picturebooks on the theme of journeys and migration. The resulting analytical framework was developed by a process of application mediation and re-application across four countries and showed the ways in which newly arrived children responded to the texts through personal and intertextual connections. The children became confident critical readers of these visual texts making clear links to their own identity as new arrivals.
The second paper presented by the Glasgow Visual Journeys team looked at how the data analysis tools developed in the VJ project could be developed for use in the classroom to allow the children to transfer critical reading skills developed with visuals to respond to picturebooks with text and children’s fiction on the theme of migration. The first round of enquiry used visuals to record the children’s home literacy practices. This data was then used by the classroom practitioners to meet the language and literacy developments needs of the children. Researchers working with newly arrived children need to be mindful of the need to work in collaboration with the communities where they carry out their enquiries.
Paper three looks at work emerging from a funded teacher exchange between Glasgow and Marseille. Research results from the first two projects were incorporated into professional development sessions prepared for the participating exchange teachers. The journey from research to making an impact on policy and practice is a complex and challenging one, but one that needs to be carefully considered and reflected on within the current economic climate.
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