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Educational Research for Social Change

On-line version ISSN 2221-4070

Abstract

ISSERI, Sanam; MUTHUKRISHNA, Nithi  and  PHILPOTT, Susan C.. Immigrant children's geographies of schooling experiences in South Africa. Educ. res. soc. change [online]. 2018, vol.7, n.2, pp.39-56. ISSN 2221-4070.  http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2221-4070/2018/v7i2a3.

The aim of this research was to explore the schooling experiences of academically high-functioning immigrant learners in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. The participants were six female immigrant learners (age range: 13-18 years) in Grades 8 to 11. The research tradition was narrative inquiry. Data generation involved open-ended interviews and a participatory research technique, photovoice. The findings revealed the resiliency and agency of the young learners as they navigate schooling in South Africa. It was apparent that they took on a positive stance despite the struggles they have experienced in the host country, including language and cultural barriers, social isolation and exclusion, and bullying and discrimination that heightened their vulnerability in schooling spaces. The study revealed their strong sense of self-efficacy, responsibility and self-discipline, determination to succeed, commitment to their studies, and to make the best of valued opportunities in South Africa. Social capital emerged as a key protective influence that shaped the schooling experiences of the learners.

Keywords : Immigrant learners; South Africa; Children's geographies; Social capital; Photovoice.

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