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ACT: Lessons from a longitudinal study of students from refugee backgrounds...

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Canberra Institute of Technology, Reid Campus, J Block, room J029

37 Constitution Avenue

Reid, ACT 2612

Australia

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The education and language proficiency of people from refugee backgrounds has recently become the focus of national attention due to proposed changes to Australia’s citizenship test. However, navigating educational systems and structures has long been difficult for students from refugee backgrounds, as well as creating challenges for the education and community practitioners who support them.

This workshop will draw on the results of a 3-year project that is funded by the Australian Government Department of Education and Training, and which has traced the educational experiences of students from refugee backgrounds as they move into, through, out of (and back into) higher education. This project was originally developed because there is relatively little research that addresses the educational, language and socio-cultural expectations and experiences of students from refugee backgrounds, especially those who were educated and held status in their own countries and who are now looking to gain educational and economic capital by entering Australian higher education.

The project has three institutional partners: the University of Newcastle, Macquarie University (both New South Wales) and Curtin University (Western Australia) and takes three different routes that students from refugee backgrounds might take, and different groups of students: Afghan men leaving the Adult Migrant English Program to enter an enabling program (VET–enabling–university: University of Newcastle); refugee youth students (HSC–university: Macquarie University); refugee youth exiting an Intensive English Centre (IEC–university: Curtin University).

Focusing specifically on the opportunities and barriers presented by language, culture and transition, this workshop offers insights into the experiences of students from refugee backgrounds as they move from the three different ‘pathways’. Aimed primarily at community sector practitioners and educators who work with students from refugee backgrounds, this two-hour workshop will present findings and recommendations for pedagogy and practice for people working directly with students from refugee backgrounds who are interested in tertiary education. The workshop will also offer opportunities to share experiential evidence and practical advice among attendees with the purpose of building networks, shared resources and benefits.

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Canberra Institute of Technology, Reid Campus, J Block, room J029

37 Constitution Avenue

Reid, ACT 2612

Australia

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