A Path to Our Future: Artful Thinking, Learning, Teaching, and Research
Chapter Two: Critical Approaches to Learning With Refugee Stories
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In Ms. Rafiq’s first-grade class, every child has recently come to this country from another country. Some have never spoken English until kindergarten last year. Some speak the English of Guyana and don’t qualify for English language services, but the dialect is so different that it is as if the children are working with a second language. Some children are from Central America, some are from India, some are from Russia, and others are from Haiti. And they become engaged participants in the poetry that Ms. Rafiq adores and introduces them to.
Ms. Rafiq began her collaborations in qualitative action research with her first graders by sharing with them part of a poem she had written for a “Where I’m From” List Poem activity. Her belief is that teaching and learning involve sharing and disclosing personal stories as a collaborative way to learn others’ stories and encourage critical literacy. Ms. Rafiq’s poem includes the following stanza.
I am from spices and scarves,
hand-me downs and baseball cards
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