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Learning to Read a New Culture: How Immigrant and Asylum Seeking Children Experience Scottish Identity through Classroom Books

DescriptionWeb Only Research Report in the Education Sponsored Research Series
ISBN97807559 6829 9
Official Print Publication Date
Website Publication DateNovember 09, 2007


Professor James McGonigal and Dr Evelyn Arizpe
Faculty of Education, University of Glasgow

ISBN 978 0 7559 6829 9 (Web only publication)

This document is also available in pdf format (1.2MB)


Executive Summary

1. Introduction

2. The Scottish context for ethnic minority communities
2.1 Ethnic minority communities in Glasgow
2.2 Ethnic minority education and bilingualism in Scotland

3. Literacy, culture and identity: literature review
3.1 Literacy and bilinguality
3.2 Home/school literacy practices
3.3 Multiculturalism, identity and texts
3.4 Bilinguality, popular culture and digital media texts
3.5 Research implications for the Scottish context

4. Making sense of Scottish texts
4.1 Scottish identity: Scottish children's literature and language in education
4.2 Ethnic minority children reading children's books: interpreting/making sense of text and pictures

5. Research design and methodology
5.1 The schools
5.1.1 Highmont Primary
5.1.2 Sir James Kelvin Primary
5.1.3 St. Margaret's Primary
5.2 The pupils
5.3 The selected texts
5.3.1 Janet Reachfar and the Kelpie by Jane Duncan
5.3.2 'Hauntit Park' by Hamish McDonald
5.3.3 The Mean Team from Mars by Scoular Anderson
5.3.4 'Blethertoun Rovers' by Matthew Fitt
5.3.5 'My Mum's a Punk' by Brian Johnstone
5.3.6 'Wee Grantie' by Iain Mills
5.3.7 'Tigger' by Anne Donovan
5.3.8 Oor Wullie and The Broons
5.4 The sessions
5.5 The teacher interviews
5.6 Strategies for engaging with text and culture
5.7 Data analysis and framework

6. Findings
6.1 Personal experience
6.1.1 Understanding the experiences of home and school
6.1.2 A new country: perceptions of Scotland and the UK
6.2 Home literacy practices
6.2.1 Home languages
6.2.2 Home texts
6.2.3 Literacy practices
6.3.4 English as a second language at home
6.3 Making sense of school texts
6.3.1 Previous knowledge and experience
6.3.2 Intertextuality
6.3.3 Setting and landscape
6.3.4 Characters, identity and empathy
6.3.5 Interpretation and negotiation
6.3.6 Questioning the text
6.3.7 Humour and comedy
6.3.8 Illustrations
6.3.9 Awareness of author/illustrator
6.3.10 Audience awareness and critical judgements
6.4 Scots language issues
6.5 Scottish stories, themes and images
6.6 Making sense of identity: stories of origin
6.7 The role of the school
6.8 Points emerging for consideration

7. Conclusions and implications
7.1 Original research aims
7.2 Research recommendations
7.3 Staff development and pedagogy
7.4 Policy issues

8. Appendices

9. Bibliography


The names of pupils, teachers and schools have been changed in this Report, but staff involved will no doubt recognise places and personalities. We are grateful to all for their generous help with this research, for sharing their experiences and for welcoming us into their busy school lives.
Jim McGonigal and Evelyn Arizpe

Since the preparation of this report the Scottish Executive has been renamed the Scottish Government, but references to the old name are retained in the body of the report.

The Scottish Government is making this research report, part of the Education Sponsored Research programme, available in order to provide access to its contents for those interested in the subject. The Scottish Government sponsored the research but has not exercised editorial control over the report.

The views expressed in the report are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the Scottish Government or any other organisation(s) by which the author(s) is/are employed.

The research was commissioned through Education Information and Analytical Services Division, which is responsible for providing analytical services within the Scottish Executive. Their work is part of a multidisciplinary unit (consisting of researchers, economists and statistics staff) and the staff undertakes and funds economic analysis and social research in the fields of: school education, and children, young people and social work.

If you wish to find out more about our education research programme, please contact the Dissemination Officer, Information, Analysis and Communication Division, Scottish Government, Education IAS, Area 1B (S), Victoria Quay, Edinburgh, EH6 6QQ or by e-mail on recs.admin@scotland.gsi.gov.uk or visit our website www.scotland.gov.uk/insight/

This report was published on the Scottish Government website in November 2007.