This timely volume uses critical ethnographic methods to trace the experiences and identities of refugee students from Burma as they move through their final year of schooling in an urban high school in the United States.
Against the backdrop of increasing tensions surrounding immigration and identity in America, The Experiences of Refugee Youth from Burma in an American High School presents an analysis of the academic paths of adolescent immigrants and the challenges they face throughout their schooling. Delving into the historical and socio-political context of the school and surrounding landscape, this volume offers an immersive, insider perspective of the educational circumstances of SaySay, Paw Htoo, and Hlaing, the three newcomer youths—from Burma. Through detailed ethnographic narratives, readers are introduced to resilient adolescents who navigate their way through the maze of social expectations, language-learning demands, and ethnic-related tensions to rebuild their identities in the United States. By highlighting the students’ stories and identities, the book shows how racism is subtly woven into the fabric of education in the United States, and how schools can provide more equitable schooling for newcomers from other nations.
This volume will benefit graduate students, researchers, academics, and pre-service teachers in the fields of English language learning, refugee and immigrant education, and the sociology of education. Those with an interest in urban and multicultural education will also find this text useful.
Table of Contents
Prologue: But I Am Still Strong: Voice and Point of View in Writing
1. Introduction: Hearing the Voices of Refugee Youth from Burma
2. The Ant Climbing the Tree: The Importance of History and Context
3. "Why Do the Highest People Want to Break Me Down?" Critical Race Theory and Language Practices
4. Following the Shoreline of a Study: The Ebbs and Flows of Data, Context, and Analysis
5. Burmese, Karen, American: Intersecting Identities for The Prom King, the Valedictorian, and the Teacher
6. The Self-Portrait: How Narratives Trap and Empower Us
7. Into the Maelstrom: Bullying, Stereotypes, and Racial Tension
8. Working Toward a Paradigm Shift
Appendix: Interview Questions
Lisa Roof obtained her PhD in Curriculum, Instruction, and the Science of Learning at the University at Buffalo, SUNY, Buffalo, USA.
Mary B. McVee is Professor of Literacy Education and Director of the Center for Literacy and Reading Instruction (CLaRI) at the University at Buffalo, SUNY, Buffalo, USA.