Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Colleen Loomis

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


The present study, conducted in collaboration with a public school board in southern Ontario, Canada, focused on stakeholders’ perspectives of an English Literacy Development (ELD) program offered in secondary schools within this particular board. The purpose of this research was to identify resources that would help address school absenteeism, credit accumulation and graduation needs of ELD learners, as well as to learn which factors in ELD better assist students who are refugees with school integration and in reaching their academic potentials. The research objectives were (1) to identify factors that influence integration of refugee students in school and (n) to seek better understanding of programs and services designed to support refugee youth, as perceived by students and administrators. An ethnographic case study design of one secondary school in an English-speaking city was used. Six students between the ages of 16 and 20, and two key informants (who served in the role of teacher, principal, or department head) participated in this study. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with key informants. Students participated in both interviews and focus groups Findings revealed that students were unclear of the behavioural norms and disciplines used in Canadian schools, experienced language difficulties that served as barriers to participation and academic achievement, and instigated or participated in fist fights as a response to anti-immigrant racism. Findings have implications for continued support (both academic and social), school organized activities and leadership opportunities for adolescent students who are refugees.

Convocation Year


Included in

Psychology Commons