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Negotiating 'Community' in Educational Settings: Adult South Sudanese Students in Australia

Turner, M. and Fozdar, F. (2010) Negotiating 'Community' in Educational Settings: Adult South Sudanese Students in Australia. Journal of Intercultural Studies, 31 (4). pp. 363-382.

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In the culturally diverse Australian context, the relationship between culture, community and learning is a significant factor in educational outcomes. We argue that teachers and service providers can assist refugee students by being mindful of the students' negotiation of widening circles of community rather than by viewing the learning environment as independent of students' orientation to community. Data for this paper is derived from an ethnographic study of adult south Sudanese engaged in three different Australian learning environments. The concepts of social capital, interdependent self-construal/ conjoint agency and active versus passive settlement styles are used to explore students' sense of belonging to, and negotiation of, different communities in relation to learning. Participants' engagement with learning is mediated through these different levels of community an immediate ethnic group, a south Sudanese community and the wider Australian community. Active participants in the learning environments achieved success by focusing on long-term ethnic community responsibilities, negotiating these responsibilities to prioritise learning and developing strategic relationships with teachers.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Social Sciences and Humanities
Publisher: River Seine Publications
Copyright: © 2010 Taylor & Francis.
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