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Unlocking newcomers’ literacy development: learning for life in formal, non-formal and informal spheres

Migration brings people to places where not only new languages but also new forms of literacy (administrative, commercial, digital, etc.) are important for their civic and professional socialisation. Although for a lot of newcomers literacy learning is an important part of their voluntary or mandatory integration trajectory, the courses offered to them in formal educational contexts often prove to be unsuccessful in terms of success rate and time efficiency. In this project we apply an empowerment approach, which means we will be building further on the ‘can do’s’, resources and skills newcomers have built up in the course of their lives instead of highlighting their ‘lacking’ thereof.. Using this dynamic view of learning as a reflexive and transformative practice, the project aims to map the literacy learning practices of newcomers in formal, but also non-formal and informal learning spheres. Through ethnographic monitoring the project seeks (a) to gain insights into how newcomers’ literacy learning is being perceived, handled, and valued by themselves as well as by significant others in those three spheres of learning; and (b) to explore, through a set of experiments, the possible transfers of literacy learning practices between the spheres. To thematically unpack these transmissions, the project distinguishes four specific domains of resources: (a) the multilingual resources newcomers bring with them, (b) their literacy brokers and brokering networks, (c) the technologies they use in support of their language and literacy practices and (d) the genres of tasks within which the three other resources are deployed and which provide affordances for learning. Building on our research findings, we will develop prototypes of toolkits for trainers in the different learning spheres.
Date:1 Oct 2020  →  Today
Keywords:integration, migration, literacy
Disciplines:Literacy curriculum and pedagogics, Linguistic anthropology, Language proficiency, Contact linguistics