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Title: Negotiating narratives : exploring the complexities of Somali boys' and girls' learner identities around notions of "educational help" at home and at school
Author: Kashyap, Kathryn
ISNI:       0000 0004 8508 4409
Awarding Body: UCL (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2020
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This study explores how a group of Somali boys and girls who migrated to the UK as refugees and who may require "educational help" negotiated their identities as "possible" learners at home and at school. Lived experiences of educational inequality at the intersection of refugee, gender and Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) are not often considered within research. However, in practice this is found to be a pressing area of concern, including in communication between schools and families. The study takes an in-depth focus and draws on post structuralist, post-colonial, feminist understandings of identities to explore notions of subjectivity, marginalisation, agency and belonging. Using ethical, young-person-centred approaches, I conducted interviews with eighteen young people, six family members and three teachers who were nominated by the young people and I observed a range of lessons chosen by the young people. Narratives co-constructed through these methods are analysed as sites of identity performance and meaning making. The study argues that in order to explore refugee young people's negotiations of notions of SEND, the ways that these learner identities interwine with English as an Additional Language (EAL), underachievement and disadvantage need to be understood within racialised, classed and gendered discourses about what it means to be a learner. Reflecting on the difficulties of considering this wide range of social and learner categories, the analysis demonstrates that these are nevertheless important processes to understand. Family, religious and school notions of success and failure are shown to collide, conflict and converge, challenging prevailing assumptions about Somali families as resisting "educational help" and highlighting the need for appropriate engagement strategies from schools with families. An exploration of im/possible spaces at home and at school, rather than considering learners as im/possible, is presented as a fruitful way to understand the complexity of these young people's negotiations.
Supervisor: Parkes, J. ; Phoenix, A. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available