Anda di halaman 1dari 12

Hamernick 1

Home Language Literacy and Refugee


Resettlement: A Case Study
Samantha Hamernick
18 October 2016

1.1 PROPOSAL
Literacy is an integral part of assimilation into a new community. This research project will
investigate how the level of literacy and educational background a refugee has coming from their
home country affects their resettlement in Fargo, North Dakota.
In 2015, there were 19.5 million refugees worldwide; of this, 506 were resettled in North Dakota.
70% of the 400 500 refugees who arrive annually are resettled in Fargo. In the recent years, the
majority of the refugees resettled in Fargo have arrived from Bhutan, Iraq, Somalia and Congo,
according to Lutheran Social Services, the only resettlement agency in North Dakota.
I am interested in improving the refugee resettlement experience through the results of my
research. This research will identify ways that the welcoming community and local organization
can specify their assistance to refugees during the resettlement process based on their
background. Additionally, I am interested in providing local Non-profit organizations the results
of my research. Working with local Non-profit organizations will give me the experience I need
in order to fulfill one of my goals of working in a Non-profit.
Some scholars, such as Paul Kei Matsuda and Suresh Canagarajah, study the pedagogy of second
language writing. Matsuda studies the discourse and contrastive rhetoric in the pedagogical
models of second language writing. Matsudas research on pedagogical models will be useful
while studying the affects of their educational backgrounds on refugee resettlement process,
particularly in the focus of writing. Canagarajah also studies pedagogy, but with a focus on the
complexities and consequences of rigid language identity labels, especially in a learning
environment. While I agree with Canagarajahs theory that rigid language identity labels affect
learning success, it is important to note that language identity label consequences extend past the
learning environment and into the resettlement process as a whole, especially for refugees.

Hamernick 2
Other scholars, such as Kristen H. Perry and Alanna Frost, study the language brokering among
specific demographics of refugees. Their findings are useful as a basis for the research I will be
doing, but I will look at language brokering among refugees as a means of literarily navigating
their new environment and how this navigating process varies based on their literacy
background. This focus will draw new conclusions about refugee resettlement that were not
found in the research Perry or Frost conducted.
Furthermore, another scholar, Kate Vieira, studies how movement across borders shapes literacy
practices. While Vieiras theory of how transnational movement has shaped peoples literacy
lives is correct, my research will essentially turn this around and examine how peoples literacy
lives shape their transnational movement. Specifically, my research will address the implications
that literacy practices has on the refugee resettlement process, something that Vieira did not
entirely address.
My research will add to and expand on the existing knowledge of literacy practices and how such
practices shape how we navigate a new environment. The expansion of knowledge will occur
with my focus on the Fargo, North Dakota community, which is something none of these
scholars have done. This focus of community will benefit local organizations in ways that
previous studies would be unable to.
My research will ask: How does literacy of home language and educational background before
resettlement in the United States affect the resettlement process for refugees in Fargo, North
Dakota? Additionally, my research will explore the question: With this information, how can the
community and local organizations specify their assistance to refugees during the resettlement
process based on their literacy and educational background to maximize success?

1.

OBJECTIVES

My goal is to attend graduate school either for a Masters in Public Administration or a Masters
in Literacy Studies. Either way, this research project will assist me in reaching those goals. For
the former, working with a Non-profit organization will give me the experience and references I
need to enter into the program. For the latter, studying literacy in this context will broaden my
knowledge on the study and give me an opportunity to research the topic scholars in this area.
Professionally, I aim to work in a Non-profit organization with refugee resettlement as a focus.
This research project will provide me skills and knowledge to achieve my professional goals. I
will be better prepared to work in an organization and work with refugee resettlement after
completing this project.
Conducting this research will provide me access to Non-profit organizations seeking research
specific to the Fargo community but unable to spend the time or resources conducting it. The

Hamernick 3
process of conducting my research will also allow me the opportunity to practice interviewing
people and analyzing these interviews. This practice will assist me in the future if I conduct
research with similar methods for academic or professional purposes.
I will measure the success of my project by my ability to meet my outcomes. Once all of the
outcomes have been met, I will know I am successful. My intended outcomes are as follows:

2.

I will discover the literacy practices and educational experiences past and present of two
refugees in the Fargo community.

I will discover the resettlement process of the same two individuals.

I will discover the correlation between the literacy practices and educational backgrounds
and the resettlement process of the same two individuals.

I will discover how the community and local organizations can specify their assistance to
refugees with backgrounds similar to the case study subjects during the resettlement
process based on their literacy and educational backgrounds to maximize success.

METHODS
My research will aim to answer the posed questions through qualitative research within a specific
demographic. I will obtain this qualitative data through extensive interview(s) with participants
of specific demographics.
Answering the posed questions for this research project require a thorough understanding of a
refugees resettlement experience. Furthermore, it is essential to the research that I have
qualitative data coming from two separate backgrounds one with a higher amount of literacy
studies in their home country and one with a lower amount. The best suited research process to
collect this information is interviewing individuals in the Fargo community (see appendix B).
For the sake of time and resources, I will be interviewing two individuals, one with a background
of literacy studies in their home country and one with little to none. To keep the variable of this
study to a minimum and focus on the issue of literacy in resettlement, I will interview two
individuals with the closest possible demographics. This includes, if possible, the same country
of origin, similar arrival time to Fargo, North Dakota, and similar age. If these variables are
similar, the results of the study will be more reliable.
After the interview process, I will analyze the qualitative data gathered from both participants. I
will focus on the variable of their literacy and educational backgrounds when analyzing;
however, the analysis process will depend on answers received from the participants.

Hamernick 4
The people involved in this research project will be my mentor Dr. Lisa Arnold and two
interviewees. The organizations potentially involved in this research project will be the New
American Consortium for Wellness and Empowerment, the Afro American Development
Association, and Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota. Some of these organizations will be
useful sources while seeking case study subjects. Additionally, these organizations have
expressed interest in using my research for presentation purposes when it is completed.

3.

TIMELINE
Table 1 is a Gantt Chart that depicts the timeline for this research project. The timeline begins
Monday, September 19 , the fifth week of the semester and ends Thursday, December 8 on the
last day of the research presentations. The color coded timeline includes in-progress events (light
pink), project due dates or events (dark pink), project completion (green), and mentor meetings
(peach). The in progress feature allows me to recognize when I should be starting a particular
portion of the project. The due dates and events feature is useful to visualize the deadlines over a
long period of time. The project completion feature is to keep track of when projects are finished
and turned in. Mentor meetings are scheduled biweekly, Wednesdays at 2pm spare the last week
before presentations when our meeting is scheduled for a Monday. The completed The rows are
grouped by related portions of the project and the columns are grouped by week. The timeline is
on google sheets to encourage editing with the progression of the project. Another purpose of the
timeline being on google sheets is for mutual access between my mentor and myself.
th

th

Hamernick 5

Table 1: Gantt Chart

Hamernick 6

Table 1 (Cont.): Gantt Chart

Hamernick 7

1.2 WORKING BIBLIOGRAPHY


Identities, and the Complex Issue of Plagiarism: ESL Students Writing in Graduate School. Journal
of Second Language Writing 15.2 (2006): 102117. CrossRef. Web.
Canagarajah, Suresh. Clarifying the Relationship between Translingual Practice and L2 Writing:
Addressing Learner Identities. Applied Linguistics Review 6.4 (2015): 415440. Print.
Frost, Alanna. Literacy Stewardship: Dakelh Women Composing Culture. College Composition and
Communication (2011): 5474. Print.
Hirose, Keiko. Pursuing the Complexity of the Relationship between L1 and L2 Writing. Journal of
Second Language Writing 15.2 (2006): 142146. CrossRef. Web.
Leonard, Rebecca Lorimer. Multilingual Writing as Rhetorical Attunement. College English 76.3
(2014): 227. Print.
Leonard, Rebecca Lorimer, Kate Vieira, and Morris Young. Special Editors Introduction to Issue
3.3. Literacy in Composition Studies 3.3 (2015): VIXI. Print.
Matsuda, Paul Kei. Contrastive Rhetoric in Context: A Dynamic Model of L2 Writing. Landmark
essays on ESL writing (2001): 241255. Print.
---. Process and Post-Process: A Discursive History. Journal of Second Language Writing 12.1
(2003): 6583. CrossRef. Web.
Perry, Kristen H. Genres, Contexts, and Literacy Practices: Literacy Brokering Among Sudanese
Refugee Families. Reading Research Quarterly 44.3 (2009): 256276. CrossRef. Web.
Selected Bibliography of Recent Scholarship in Second Language Writing. Journal of Second
Language Writing 15.2 (2006): 150157. CrossRef. Web.
Tardy, Christine M. Researching First and Second Language Genre Learning: A Comparative
Review and a Look Ahead. Journal of Second Language Writing 15.2 (2006): 79101.
CrossRef. Web.
---. Researching First and Second Language Genre Learning: A Comparative Review and a Look
Ahead. Journal of Second Language Writing 15.2 (2006): 79101. CrossRef. Web.
Vieira, K. Undocumented in a Documentary Society: Textual Borders and Transnational Religious
Literacies. Written Communication 28.4 (2011): 436461. CrossRef. Web.

Hamernick 8

Appendix A

1.3 CONSENT FORM


Adapted from the consent form used for Kathleen Mullens research presented in A Holistic
Approach to Promoting Student Engagement: Case Studies of Six Refugee Students in Upper
Elementary.
Consent for Using Interview Results
I, Samantha Hamernick, request the rights to use your responses to my interview questions as a
part of research for a class project. I am conducting this research to learn about refugees
resettlement experiences in Fargo, North Dakota based on their literacy and educational
backgrounds with the goal of gaining insight into how the community and local organizations
can specify their assistance to refugees during the resettlement process to maximize success. You
can ask me any questions you want about this study. You can contact me, Samantha Hamernick,
with questions about the study, at 651-303-8004 or Samantha.Hamernick@ndsu.edu. You may
also contact my advisor, Dr. Lisa Arnold, at Lisa.r.Arnold@ndsu.edu. If you understand this
information and agree to take part in this study, please sign your name or put your initials on the
lines below. I will provide you with a copy of this form in case you want to keep it for future
reference.
I agree to allow the researcher, Samantha Hamernick, to use my responses for research. I
understand that I may be quoted at length and carefully paraphrased. I understand that my name
or identifying information will not be used while presenting this research. I understand that I will
not be paid to participate in this interview.
Print Name: ______________________________________
Signature: ________________________________________
Date: _____________________________________________

Hamernick 9

Appendix B

1.4 INTERVIEW QUESTIONS


Adapted from the interview questions used for Kathleen Mullens research presented in A
Holistic Approach to Promoting Student Engagement: Case Studies of Six Refugee Students in
Upper Elementary.

Background

What is your home country? What province did you live in?
What is your ethnic group?
Where and when were you born?
What stands out as significant before you came to the United States?
What was happening in your country during your time there?
o How did it affect you?
Where have you lived?

The United States

When did you come to Fargo?


Can you tell me about your resettlement process here in Fargo?
What was your journey to the United States like?
o How long was the process?
What did you expect when coming to the United States?
o How did it diverge from what you expected?
What traditions here in the United States were most surprising to you?
What was the most difficult part of the transition to the United States?

School and Work

Did you work in your home country?


What kind of work did your family do in your home country?
Do you work here in Fargo? (IF APPLICABLE) What kind of work would you like to do
here?
Did you go to school in (country of origin)? Y/N For how many years?
How big was your school?
Where was it located? What city?
How often did you attend?
What kind of school was it?

Hamernick 10

When did you start school?


What grade did you go to school until?
What did you study at school?
What materials did you use? *Note students may not know how to answer this question
What language was school taught in?
Can you tell me about school in (country of origin)?
Was your schooling helpful in your life? Y/N If yes, how so?
Have you attended school in the United States?
What grades have you attended for?
Can you tell me about school here?
How was school back home different than schools are here?
What do you like best about school here?
What do you like least about school here?

Literacy

What languages do you speak?


Written language or mostly an oral language?
When do you/did you use these languages?
How well do you understand your home language?
How well do you speak your native language?
How well do you read your native language?
How well do you write your native language?
How well do you understand spoken English?
How well do you read English?
How well do you write English?
What language do you typically use at home to speak to your family?
What language do you use most of the time at school?
What language(s) do you typically speak with your friends?
Who likes to read in your home?
What kinds of reading materials do you have at home? Newspapers, Magazines, Comic
books, religious materials?
In what language are most of your reading materials?
Do you read for pleasure? Y/N If so, in what language are most of the things you read?
About how many hours do your read for pleasure each week?
Has that changed since you came to the U.S.? If so, how?
How often are you able to speak English with people who grew up speaking English?
In what situations do you write? *Give examples
Do you ever write for anyone else? *Give examples

Research Question

Hamernick 11

How do you think your literacy and/or educational background affected your
resettlement process?
How does your literacy and/or educational background affect you today?
Do you ever feel empowered or limited by it?

Future

How do you define someone who is successful in life, meaning someone who has a good
life?
If a cousin who just arrived from (country of origin) asks you how a person becomes
successful in the United States, what would you tell her/him?
What do you want to do when you grow up?
How much school do you think you will need for that?

Other

Are there any questions that I should have asked you that I did not?
Are there any questions that you would like to ask me?

Hamernick 12
Appendix C

1.5 Approval
_________________________________________
Mentor Signature

_________________
Date

_________________________________________
Student Signature

__________________
Date