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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Literacy, identity, and power: the experience of adult El Salvadoran refugees in Canadian government-sponsored ESL and job-training programs MacLean, Ian B.


This study addresses a concern for the experience of participants in Canadian Government sponsored language and job-training programs for recent immigrants, specifically El Salvadoran refugees. The research has sought to uncover, through interviews with two former students, some of their impressions and insights concerning their participation in a Canadian government sponsored language and job-training program. The interviews were structured to account for historical, cultural, political, ideological and educational events and influences in El Salvador and Canada that contributed to the formation of their subjective experience within the context of the Canadian programs in which they participated. Analysis of the interview transcripts and notes made during and after the interviews revealed several emergent themes. These were: political activity and war, teachers as leaders, religion, what is good teaching, adjustment to Canada, values and hopes, and the need for ESL and job-training programs. In the views of the two informants, the teacher-student relationship, based on awareness, communication and respect emerged as a very important feature of successful pedagogy . The findings are related and discussed in relation to Canadian society. The instructional implications are discussed with reference to relevant pedagogical approaches.

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