Presentation Title

Trust, learning styles and attitudes to reading in the information literacy practices of resettled South Sudanese refugees in Australia

Location

Room 1005

Type of Presentation

Individual paper/presentation (20 minute presentation)

Target Audience

Other

This paper is relevant to both the education audiences (K-12 and Higher Education) but also to those working in community development and in refugee support

Abstract

Sub-Saharan African refugees have been resettling for over a decade in refugee receiving states such as the United States and Australia. Considerable academic and policy research has documented the many challenges African humanitarian arrivals face in settlement areas such as education, employment, health and the law. However, less is known about their information literacy needs and how they engage with the text-dense and digitally-mediated information environments of their host countries, which, in the United States and Australia, are based largely in English. This paper draws on a translocal qualitative case study with a South Sudanese Dinka clan and settlement agency staff in Australia to explore three aspects of information literacy practices within the environments of contemporary resettlement. The paper outlines how trust shaped by displacement and refugee camp administration, the learning styles of an oral culture people and cultural attitudes to reading affected the information literacy practices clan members developed following their relocation. These information literacy practices both enabled and constrained the settlement process, providing clan members with partial and contingent access to information and limited ability to critically assess its worth and act on its meaning. This limited meaning making also shaped clan members’ engagement with secondary and tertiary education. These practices have implications for information literacy educators in the United States and Australia who are seeking to improve information literacy skills among refugee entrants and their participation in formal learning, as well as for information poverty within resettling communities in the longer term.

Presentation Description

How do African refugee arrivals from differing cultural, language and literacy backgrounds engage with the digitally mediated, text-dense and English language-based information environments of education within the Global North? What are the risks for new communities of reduced access to learning and longer term information poverty through lack of information literacy practices that meet the demands of these environments? This paper draws on interviews with South Sudanese refugee arrivals and settlement agency staff to examine the role that trust, learning styles and cultural attitudes to reading play in developing effective information literacy practices within resettlement.

Keywords

Information literacy; Sudanese refugees; trust; oral culture learning styles; reading

Publication Type and Release Option

Presentation (Open Access)

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Oct 10th, 8:30 AM Oct 10th, 9:45 AM

Trust, learning styles and attitudes to reading in the information literacy practices of resettled South Sudanese refugees in Australia

Room 1005

Sub-Saharan African refugees have been resettling for over a decade in refugee receiving states such as the United States and Australia. Considerable academic and policy research has documented the many challenges African humanitarian arrivals face in settlement areas such as education, employment, health and the law. However, less is known about their information literacy needs and how they engage with the text-dense and digitally-mediated information environments of their host countries, which, in the United States and Australia, are based largely in English. This paper draws on a translocal qualitative case study with a South Sudanese Dinka clan and settlement agency staff in Australia to explore three aspects of information literacy practices within the environments of contemporary resettlement. The paper outlines how trust shaped by displacement and refugee camp administration, the learning styles of an oral culture people and cultural attitudes to reading affected the information literacy practices clan members developed following their relocation. These information literacy practices both enabled and constrained the settlement process, providing clan members with partial and contingent access to information and limited ability to critically assess its worth and act on its meaning. This limited meaning making also shaped clan members’ engagement with secondary and tertiary education. These practices have implications for information literacy educators in the United States and Australia who are seeking to improve information literacy skills among refugee entrants and their participation in formal learning, as well as for information poverty within resettling communities in the longer term.