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Communicating Through COVID-19: Experiences of
Multilingual Families with Refugees Experience

Researchers: Andrea MacLeod1, Yvonne Chiu2, Lucero Vargas2, Natalie Gordon1, Catrine Demers1, Rita Chehayeb3
Affiliation:University of Alberta1, Multicultural Health Brokers, Edmonton2, Multilingual Families Lab3
Research Partner: Multicultural Health Brokers, Edmonton
Keywords: refugee children, refugee families, newcomer children, newcomer families, language development, minoritized language, COVID-19, qualitative methodology, community-based participatory research
Jump to: Full infographic, Methodology, Findings, Recommendations, Publications & Reports, Presentations

Summary

Overview: This study sought to understand newcomer parents’ experiences supporting their children’s language development before and during COVID-19. The study used a community-partnership research model that empowered families and built service providers’ capacity to meet newcomer families’ needs.

Objective:

Research Justification: Research shows that supporting children’s early communication development is essential to their long-term well-being, academic success, and full participation in daily activities. During COVID-19 newcomer families faced additional challenges supporting their children’s communication due to the pandemic restrictions, new stressors, and isolation.

Infographic Excerpt

Full Infographic

Executive Summary

Methodology

Using a community-based participatory approach, the research team co-developed semi-structured interviews questions with Multicultural Health Brokers. They connected with parents of young children who were from the Eritrean and Ethiopian community (n=3), Syrian community (n=3), Mandarin community (n=3), Spanish-speaking parents (n=3), and a multilingual group (n=3). The focus groups were facilitated in the preferred language spoken by parents.

The researchers used thematical analysis to deductively code the interviews according to previously reported themes and Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological Model. Inductive coding captured emerging themes. Yosso’s Community Cultural Wealth framework was used to understand the strengths and assets used by multilingual families.

Findings

Family-level Factors:

School & Peer Factors:

Community-level Factors:

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