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102096

Researching, Teaching and Learning 1

Students Name: Hue Nghi Tran


Students ID: 17370673
Assignment 2

Critical Analysis of Research


As a member of the international community, Australia shares the responsibilities of refugee
protection and refugee problem solving. Under the Humanitarian Programme, thousands of
refugee entrants enter Australia annually. From 2014 to 2015, there were totally 13,756
refugees entering Australia (Department of Immigration and Border Protection, 2016). This
fact makes Australian classrooms culturally diverse and the number of refugee backgrounds
students entering mainstream classrooms increases. As a matter of fact, refugee background
(RB) students face a plethora of social, emotional and learning challenges due to the
acculturation process and prolonged stays at refugee camps, which result in interrupted or
lack of formal schooling (Esquivel, Oadesses, and Jarvis, 2010). These factors negatively
affect RB students on their educational performance and achievement when entering
mainstream classes, leading to academic underachievement and eventually dropping out.
Having interrupted schooling, being traumatized by displacement stresses, and even suffering
from racial discrimination, RB students feel reluctant to seek support from teachers;
therefore, poor performance occurs. Hence, it is paramount that support should be provided to
help lift RB students academic performance. In the article Refugee Action Support:
Crossing borders in preparing pre-service teachers for literacy teaching in secondary schools
in Greater Western Sydney, Naidoo (2012) discusses the importance of preparing pre-service
teachers with literacy teaching knowledge beside their specific teaching areas. Also, she
emphasizes on equipping pre-service teachers with cultural sensitivity and knowledge to help
RB students bridge the cultural gaps in study. This article will be compared with Warsame,
Mortensen and Janifs (2014) study Improving Educational Achievement for Students from
Somali backgrounds in Auckland, New Zealand: An Evaluation of a School Catch-Up
Programme. The two articles share the same themes, yet their research purposes are

102096
Researching, Teaching and Learning 1

Students Name: Hue Nghi Tran


Students ID: 17370673

different. While Naidoo (2012) mainly focuses on the significance of equipping pre-service
teachers with knowledge to meet study needs of RB students, Warsame et.al. (2014) review
the effectiveness of a weekend catch-up class programme. Both studies utilised qualitative
research, but Warsame et al. (2014) employed more methodologies This essay will
compare the similarities and differences between the two articles while evaluate the strengths
and weaknesses of each.
Both studies were conducted in Australasia with one in Greater Western Sydney, Australia,
and one in Auckland, New Zealand. As two countries are in the same Commonwealth union
and share several similarities in terms of geography, history, regulations, and education, the
findings from two articles can implement each other.
Both studies demonstrate a thorough review of the literature related to ongoing learning
difficulties that RB students are struggling with. The majority of literature came from
Australian and New Zealand sources, which makes the arguments and findings more valid
and accountable. While Naidoo (2012) briefly mentioned the traumatic impacts of
displacement and acculturation on RB students learning, Warsame et al. (2014) provided
more detailed evidence and literature on RB students learning difficulties and reasons why
they constantly struggled from underachievement. However, Naidoo (2012) entailed
information regarding teaching criteria and requirements which assist teachers in meeting RB
students learning needs. This is understandable due to the fact that the two studies bear
different purposes; as a result, corresponding literature must be reviewed (Ullman, 2015).
Overall, both articles literature review is relevant and well-organised to support the studys
backgrounds and aims.
The data collection and methodology were discussed in both studies; however, the
information about the participants such as the quantity and backgrounds were not included.
Without these information, it is challenging for readers to know the scale of the studies as

102096
Researching, Teaching and Learning 1

Students Name: Hue Nghi Tran


Students ID: 17370673

well as their reliability. In Naidoos (2012) study, only interviews were employed to gain
opinions and evaluations of the students, school teachers and UWS (University of Western
Sydney) pre-service teachers/ tutors. By conducting these interviews, Naidoo (2012) was able
to identify and address site-based needs of RB students from which her conclusions and
evaluations of the RAS programme were drawn on. Likewise, Warsame et al. (2014)
employed qualitative research methodology to evaluate the school catch-up programme. In
particular, Warsame et al. (2014) used a combination of community-based participatory
action research (CBPAR) and participatory action research (PAR) which involved the
participation of both schools and the students community. The study combined a myriad of
different research methodologies including student focus group interviews, student surveys,
interviews with programme leaders, and classroom observations. In comparison with
Naidoos (2012) research, Warsame et al.s (2014) findings are more reliable because the
findings came from both objective and subjective research methodologies. Ullman (2015)
conclude that direct observation yields more precise data than interviews which are more
susceptible to distortion and falsity. Moreover, Warsame et al. (2014) also included ethical
considerations in the study while Naidoo (2012) did not. In conclusion, both studies have
utilised research methodology that gain students and educators evaluation of the study
support programmes. However, Warsame et al.s (2014) data collection and methodology
were more well developed and credible than Naidoos (2012) in a way that subjectivity in
interviews were supported by objectivity in research observations.
The results and findings of both studies reveal positive outcomes and efficiency of the
supporting programmes. Also, findings from both articles unveil the power of students
cultural community engagement and its impacts on supporting their academic performance.
In Naidoos (2012) study, she found that the success of the RAS programme relied heavily on
three determinant factors, which are meeting students needs, the programme structure, and

102096
Researching, Teaching and Learning 1

Students Name: Hue Nghi Tran


Students ID: 17370673

family-community involvement. It was also found that RB students self-esteem and


confidence was significantly improved when teachers/ tutors showed cultural awareness and
sensitivity. Moreover, having bilingual and bicultural teachers as role models helped build up
trust and hope in RB students, that they can also achieve in the future. Another important
factor which encouraged RB students to seek support was the rapports and relationships
between students and teachers. It is believed that once teachers get to know students and
show their willingness to support, students classroom behaviours and academic performance
will significantly improve (Nieto, 2003). This proves that the combination of learning and
socialising helped improve students school performance and engagement in learning. In her
study, students reported feeling happy because of being able to finish homework and
socialising with their tutors. This strongly corresponds to Saifer, Edwards, Ellis, Ko, and
Stuczynskis (2011) arguments on using students inputs to shape curriculum contents, which
makes students feel worthy; consequently, students will become active participants in class.
In order to achieve this, Naidoo (2012) briefly mentioned the effect of having a tutor from the
students own cultural backgrounds. This was complemented by Warsame et al. (2014) where
they introduced the presence of mentors from the students community to help create an
inclusive and empowering environment in which the students feel the sense of belonging and
sameness between them and the teachers.
Moreover, both studies extol the effectiveness of building trust between the students and the
teachers. In Naidoos (2012) study, one of the participating UWS tutor remarked that trust
was one of the key factors in encouraging RB students to ask questions comfortably.
Likewise, Warsame et al. (2014) accentuate the profoundness of building trust among refugee
students by citing ORourkes (2011) findings which attributed RB students low involvement
in school activities and reluctance to seek support to the absence of trust between them and
the teachers.

102096
Researching, Teaching and Learning 1

Students Name: Hue Nghi Tran


Students ID: 17370673

On the other hand, both studies recognise the ramifications of applying small-size study
groups to support RB students in studying. Naidoo (2012) criticized the one-fit-all teaching
approach which has been conventionally employed in mainstream classes does not cater for
all student needs in a culturally and linguistically diverse classroom. Moreover, she praised
the efficiency of applying small-group (individualised) teaching method to give RB students
the opportunities to raise their voices and seek support. Similarly, the idea was also replicated
in the study by Warsame et al. (2014), where students claimed they felt reluctant to seek
assistance in mainstream classes because the teachers were so busy with other works whereas
the one-on-one tutoring sessions with mentors provided them with the chances to ask for
help.
Lastly, parent involvement and participation is strongly recommended by both Naidoo (2012)
and Warsame et al. (2014). Both studies believe that parent engagement in the education of
the child has a great positive impact on the childs academic performance and overall
development. This notion has been embraced by several educational scholars as a beneficial
strategy to help improve students learning either intellectually, socially and emotionally (i.e.
Fullan (1991); Marsh, Clarke & Pittaway (2014)).
In terms of implications towards teaching practice, both studies clearly underpin the
significance of developing students ESL skills, promoting individualised teaching and
learning strategies, as well as engaging the students community and parents in their
education.
The first teaching implication suggested by Naidoos (2012) study is that ESL teachers should
understand the length of time it takes for an RB student to acquire the English skills.
According to Cummins (1981), it takes approximately 2 years for a learner of English to learn
basic interpersonal communication skills (BICS) but nearly 7 years to acquire English for
academic success (CALP). Hence, that the initial 6-12-month ESL programmes at Intensive

102096
Researching, Teaching and Learning 1

Students Name: Hue Nghi Tran


Students ID: 17370673

English Centers (IEC) are sufficient for RB students before the transition to Australian
mainstream classrooms is a misconception (Ferfolja & Vickers, 2010). When students are
equipped with proficient literacy skills, they are more likely to become high-achievers in all
content areas (Freeman, Freeman, & Mercuri, 2005). Therefore, providing ESL literacy
support is paramount in helping RB students bridge the linguistic gap so that they have the
opportunities to reach academic and employment success in the future.
Secondly, an inclusive learning environment should be created where school staffs cultural
awareness and sensitivity are raised. This is believed to motivate students and facilitate
changes to their school practices (Block, Cross, Riggs & Gibbs, 2014). As teachers
behaviours can cause additional stressors by expecting from students total assimilation and
acculturation, this practice should be avoided in the classroom. Instead, a deep
understandings of the students culture is one of the key requirements in the teaching
profession (Soto & Kharem, 2010). Both studies highlight the potency of community
involvement in supporting RB students and its effects on creating a culturally inclusive
learning environment. Naidoo (2012) attributed the success of the RAS programme to the
partnerships of school, community and university. Similarly, Warsame et al. (2014) also
underpinned the success of the catch-up programme with the commitment of the community
volunteers. Therefore, it is implied that an incorporation of the national standard curriculum
contents with local norms and ethnic practices can help create a strong link between students
home life and school life, which bridge the cultural gap between RB students and Australian
teachers. This transformational teaching and learning method is claimed to motivate and
engage students in learning as lessons are shaped around their inputs. Consequently, a sense
of belonging is created and students will be motivated to become active participants in class
(Saifer et al., 2010).

102096
Researching, Teaching and Learning 1

Students Name: Hue Nghi Tran


Students ID: 17370673

In conclusion, both research articles have made remarkable contributions in investigating the
corresponding pedagogies to assist refugee background students in bridging the social,
cultural and linguistic gaps in their transition from interrupted schooling to Australian and
New Zealand mainstream classes. Overall, involving the students community in literacy and
study support generates a sense of belonging as well as hope for refugee background
students. Also, applying individualised pedagogies with small-size group study was proved to
help students overcome reluctance in seeking support. As a pre-service teacher, one should
consider these implications and maintain on-going educational research to have a more
insightful look into the current educational issues amongst refugee background students, from
which proper solutions could be made.

102096
Researching, Teaching and Learning 1

Students Name: Hue Nghi Tran


Students ID: 17370673

Reference List
Block, K., Cross, S. Riggs, E., & Gibbs, L. (2014). Supporting schools to create an inclusive
environment for refugee students. International Journal of Inclusive Education,
18(12), 1337-1355.
Cummins, J. (1981). The role of primary language development in promoting educational
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http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICDocs/data/ericdocs2sql/content_storage_01/0000019b/8
0/2e/a8/84.pdf
Department of Immigration and Border Protection. (2016). Fact sheet Australias Refugee
and Humanitarian programme. Retrieved 18th May 2016, from
https://www.border.gov.au/about/corporate/information/fact-sheets/60refugee
Esquivel, G., Oades-Sese, G. V., & Jarvis, M., L. (2010). Culturally sensitive narrative
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of America.
Ferfolja, T., & Vickers, M. (2010). Supporting refugee students in school education in Greater
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Fullan, M. (1991). The new meaning of educational change. London, UK: Cassell.
Marsh, C., Clarke, M., & Pittaway, S. (2014). Becoming a teacher. NSW, Australia: Pearson
Australia.

102096
Researching, Teaching and Learning 1

Students Name: Hue Nghi Tran


Students ID: 17370673

Naidoo, L. (2012). Refugee action support: Crossing borders in preparing pre-service


teachers for literacy teaching in secondary schools in Greater Western Sydney.
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