CYRRC

Ongoing Project:

Case Analysis of the Language for Young Adults Program: An Investigation into the Language, Social and Emotional Learning Needs of Refugee Youth

Researchers: Christine Doe1, Krista Ritchie1, Erin McDonald2, Carol Derby3, and Olga Lyubenko3
Affiliation: Mount Saint Vincent University1, Learn English Nova Scotia (LENS)2, Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS)3
Research Partner: LENS and ISANS
Keywords: young adults, youth, refugees, language learning, learning needs, English; language, social, and emotional learning, case study, Halifax, Nova Scotia, qualitative methodology

Summary

Overview: This study investigates the language, social and emotional learning needs of youth with refugee experience enrolled in the Language for Young Adults Program at Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS). 

Objective: to map the Language for Young Adults program goals, resources, and processes in order to prepare a substantial evaluation plan for ISANS and help other Service Provider Organizations (SPO) develop similar language learning programs, and to better understand the language, social and emotional learning needs of young adults with refugee experience.

Research Justification: Refugee youth must learn English quickly to integrate and participate in academic programs. At the same time, they have learning needs related to limited or lack of literacy skills, effects of trauma, interrupted schooling, and racism and discrimination. The Language for Young Adults Program was developed when ISANS and LENS identified a need for specialized programs for young adults with refugee experience who were dropping out or aging out of the public school system and left with few options for language learning or further education. This case analysis will investigate the language, social and emotional learning needs of young adults who are participating in the Language for Young Adults Program.

Methodology

This case study will adopt multiple qualitative methods. The research team will conduct two focus group interviews with 5-10 youth with refugee experience about their experience with the program and previous language learning experiences. Individual interviews will then be conducted with 15 youth who have a range of language levels and a range of social and emotional learning needs. Follow-up interviews with the 15 youth will take place one year later to gain perspectives on the usefulness of the program and perceived outcomes. Qualitative data from the interviews will be supplemented with document analysis of curriculum and instructional materials, classroom observations of the different language courses, and a focus group interview with 2-3 teachers about their pedagogical decision-making processes.

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