Refugee Students in Global Schools, Constructing Citizenship: A comparative case study of sixth grade classrooms in two public IB schools Open Access

Quaynor, Laura Jeanne (2012)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/zp38wc89x?locale=en
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Abstract


Abstract
Refugee Students in Global Schools, Constructing Citizenship:
A comparative case study of sixth grade classrooms in two public IB schools
Although the United States resettles more refugee students than any other country, little research
examines the ways that schools in the United States prepare these students to participate in their
political community. At the same time, a growing number of schools serving refugee students are
adopting curricula with a global focus. The purpose of this research was to conduct a
comparative case study of schooling for sixth-grade refugee students at two publicly-funded
schools that serve many refugee students and emphasize global education. In this research, I
addressed the following questions: 1) How does the implemented curriculum, including content,
pedagogy, and climate, educate students for citizenship? 2) What are students taught about
different levels of affinity (community, national, global, and transnational citizenship)? 3) What
are students taught about citizenship as a status, practice, and feeling? 4) How are citizenship,
literacy, and the use of English connected within these classrooms? 5) What does citizenship
mean to refugee youth in these schools? This study drew on data from classroom observations,
interviews with teachers and administrators, and focus groups with students to create descriptive
profiles of classrooms and schools, allowing for comparisons between the two schools in the
study. At one school, content was both multicultural and comparative; pedagogy included
students making connections between the content, themselves, and other students; and both
teachers and students expressed feeling "at home" in the school. The discourse in social studies
class focused on comparative national practice, and the teacher and teaching assistant
encouraged students' development of transnational identities. At the other school, content,
pedagogy, and climate varied among specific settings. School-wide activities involved global
content and endorsed global citizenship as characterized by practice, but did not incorporate
refugee students' perspectives. In social studies class, although students learned about different
countries, the teacher continually emphasized the perspective of "us Americans" and taught
through lecture. In this classroom, both the teacher and students expressed disrespect. In
language arts class, students learned about multicultural issues, drew connections between
themselves and the content, and worked in a responsive classroom climate. Within the ESOL
class, students learned about some nationally-focused citizenship content, and for the most part
only interacted with students from the same cultural background. Overall, findings from this
study suggest that although schools can educate students for inclusive citizenship, global
education initiatives do not always translate into classroom pedagogy that is responsive to the
needs of refugee students. This work builds on the literature, suggesting that international
education can be responsive or exclusive, and that practices vary at the school and classroom
levels. I argue that schools working with refugee students should consider how they
institutionalize the dimensions of care as they implement a global curriculum.

Table of Contents



Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Statement of the Problem .............................................................................................. 1
Purpose of the Study ................................................................................................................ 3
Research Questions ................................................................................................................. 3
Theoretical Framework ........................................................................................................... 4
Definition of Terms ................................................................................................................. 6
Chapter 2: Literature Review .......................................................................................................... 9
Refugee Students in U.S. Schools ........................................................................................... 9
Civic Engagement of Refugee and Immigrant Youth ........................................................... 22
Intersections of Citizenship, Language, and Literacy ........................................................... 27
Global Education ................................................................................................................... 33
Chapter 3: Methodology ............................................................................................................... 43
Sites ....................................................................................................................................... 43
Participants ............................................................................................................................ 44
Data Sources .......................................................................................................................... 45
Data Analysis ........................................................................................................................ 51
Validity and Reliability ......................................................................................................... 53
Researcher's Perspective ....................................................................................................... 53
Limitations ............................................................................................................................. 55
Chapter 4: Findings ....................................................................................................................... 57



School and Classroom Profiles .............................................................................................. 57
Global Charter School ...................................................................................................... 57
Holly Middle School ........................................................................................................ 64
Implemented Curricula of Six Classrooms in Two Schools ............................................ 70
Global Charter School: Citizens at Home in the World ......................................... 71
Holly Middle School: Sending Mixed Messages ................................................... 75
Citizenship Dimensions across Two Schools: Citizenship as Feeling ............................. 82
Language, Literacy, and Citizenship ..................................................................................... 92
Refugee Students' Conceptions of Citizenship ..................................................................... 99
Emergent Themes ................................................................................................................ 104
Chapter 5: Discussion ................................................................................................................. 110
Implemented Citizenship Curriculum ................................................................................. 111
Pedagogy and Climate ........................................................................................................ 116
Social Capital, Refugee Education, and Citizenship ......................................................... 119
Language, Literacy, and Citizenship .................................................................................. 123
Conceptions of Citizenship ................................................................................................. 127
Implications for Theory, Research, and Practice ................................................................ 130
References ................................................................................................................................... 134
Appendices .................................................................................................................................. 156
Appendix A: Data Sources .................................................................................................. 156
Appendix B: Observation Guides ........................................................................................ 157
Appendix C: Document Analysis Guide ............................................................................. 164
Appendix D: Teacher and Administrator Interview Guide ................................................. 165



Appendix E: Student Focus Group Interview Guide ........................................................... 172
Appendix F: Data Analysis Process .................................................................................... 174
Appendix G: Themes from Two Schools ............................................................................ 175
Appendix H: Focus Group Participants ............................................................................... 177
Appendix I: IB Framework and sixth Grade GPS Social Studies Curriculum ................... 178
Tables

Table 1: Summary of Research Questions, Data sources, and Methods ............................... 47
Table 2: Dimensions and Affinity Levels of Citizenship ..................................................... 84




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