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Ghanaian diasporic migrant students: challenges, culture and capitals

Ghanaian diasporic migrant students: challenges, culture and capitals

Male, Alberta Araba (2021) Ghanaian diasporic migrant students: challenges, culture and capitals. EdD thesis, University of Greenwich.

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While adult migration has been well documented and researched in various disciplines, issues related to child migration are often neglected or subsumed under discussions regarding adult migration. This study shows children as agents whose experiences form distinctive migration and acculturation narratives.

Utilising Bourdieu’s (1977) theory of practice and Berry’s (2005) theory of acculturation, this study investigates the lived experiences of nine Ghanaian, diasporic, migrant children in Key Stages 3-5 in a London secondary academy. These children migrated from Ghana and from within the European Union to the UK. The focus is on the extent to which the learning of these children is affected by their transition, issues of educational provision and the extent to which it accommodates their needs as migrant young people. Perspectives from parents, teachers and Ghanaian community leaders are also sought to explore the subject further.

The study uses a narrative inquiry through semi-structured individual and focus group interviews with the children, parents, teachers, Ghanaian church community leaders and an assessment of students' attainment data. The themes which emerged are the complexities of migration; the impact of challenging behaviour, peer pressure, language, peer and teacher relationships on learning; perceived lack of challenge within the English curriculum, and placement of migrant children in lower set classes on arrival; the capitals that the children possess that enable them to navigate their learning and acculturation, as well as familial and community capitals. The data also raises issues of institutional racism and how this is experienced and managed by the children.

The findings illustrate the complexities, issues, and backgrounds that the children have brought with them on their migration into Britain. The findings also indicate how the actions/choices of some of the children are affected by peer pressure and the desire to belong. Parental, teacher, peer and Ghanaian (church) community support have aided their transition and adaptation into British education and culture. Thus, the capitals of their internationalism, resilience, intrinsic desire to succeed and social/community capitals have served as advantages in their general acculturation. To the extent that ‘acculturation’ appears to be a one-way process, this could be legitimately construed as institutional racism.

Item Type: Thesis (EdD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Ghanian migration, international migration, migrant children, Ghanian identity,
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > School of Education (EDU)
Last Modified: 13 Dec 2022 10:09

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