Approaches to teaching low literacy refugee-background students

Joel Austin Windle, Jennifer Margaret Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Many displaced young people enter secondary schools with limited mother tongue literacy and low proficiency in the language of instruction, but little is known about how teachers respond to this challenge. This paper presents an investigation of the approaches to teaching low-literacy refugee-background students reported by 61 teachers in Victorian secondary schools in receipt of targeted funding. Teachers were surveyed using a questionnaire designed to measure adoption of current popular approaches advocated in influential language and literacy pedagogy frameworks (Cummins, 2000; Freebody Luke, 1990; Gibbons, 2009; Luke Freebody, 1999; Martin, 1999). Over half of the practices we asked about were used routinely by a majority of teachers. Our findings suggest that most teachers make routine use of at least some strategies for developing language and literacy but may not always work towards building learner autonomy. Lack of attention to autonomous learning is explained in part by a lack of resources and time.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317 - 333
Number of pages17
JournalAustralian Journal of Language and Literacy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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