ERIC Number: EJ774861
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Reference Count: 50
"A Meeting Place for Us": Milpera, a Newcomer High School
Hones, Donald F.
Multicultural Education, v14 n4 p8-15 Sum 2007
Most of the students at Milpera State High School are in Australia because of wars, famine, or economic devastation in their homelands. Many have suffered the additional loss of parents and other family members. Some have low (or nonexistent) literacy in their native languages, and many have had few opportunities for formal education. Such students enter high school well behind the grade level that their ages would indicate, and when they learn to read and write in English, they are learning to read and write for the first time. The very nature and culture of school can be foreign to them. Providing a quality education to such students presents a special challenge for schools and teachers. At Milpera, a newcomer program in Brisbane, Australia, this challenge is being met through a combination of social, cultural, and academic support grounded in critical pedagogy. Critical pedagogy offers educators a road they can walk with refugee and immigrant students as they find their way in a strange new land. It is "a pedagogy of engagement: an approach to teaching English as a second language that sees such issues as gender, race, class, sexuality, and post colonialism as so fundamental to identity and language that they need to form the basis of curricular organization and pedagogy." A critical, narrative research project conducted at Milpera in the waning months of 2003 describes how this school is able to reach refugee and immigrant newcomers through such pedagogy of engagement. This narrative portrait highlights ways in which critical leadership, critical teaching, and a focus on multiple intelligences and literacy serve to assist newcomers as they overcome trauma and develop their identities in Australia. Finally, the critical work being done at Milpera offers implications to all schools serving refugees and immigrants.
Descriptors: Foreign Countries, Literacy Education, Educational Quality, Refugees, Multiple Intelligences, Immigrants, Cultural Differences, English (Second Language), Educational Experience, Teaching Methods, War, Cultural Awareness, High School Students, School Culture, Student Needs, Social Influences, Instructional Leadership, Leadership Responsibility, Student Adjustment
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia