Power, Literacy, and Emancipation for Vulnerable Adolescent English Language Learners

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  • In English Language Learning education, there are differences between immigrant and refugee students. Often the former has a background in formal literacy education, while the latter may have experienced significant gaps in their schooling. The problem is compounded for those who arrive as adolescents. Although students may have only had limited access to formal education, they are usually placed in high school and expected to catch up. Finishing the requirements of a high school diploma is an impossible task if they are learning to read and write for the first time while simultaneously acquiring English. The purpose of this study is to understand what it is like to be a low-literate adolescent English Language Learner (ELL) in high school in urban Alberta. I explore how experience during the first year in Canada impacts English language acquisition through data collected in interviews with three adolescent or young adult ELLs. Using critical literacy as a theoretical lens, I offer six recommendations to help empower and emancipate these youth from the literacies and Discourses that can be oppressive.

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    Attribution 3.0 International