Whose deficit is this anyhow? Exploring counter-stories of Somali Bantu refugees' experiences in "doing school"

Laura A. Roy, Kevin C. Roxas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations

Abstract

In this article, Laura Roy and Kevin Roxas draw from two studies with Somali Bantu refugee families in South Texas and Michigan. Findings from both study sites revealed a disconnect between how educators perceived the Somali Bantu families' educational goals and Somali Bantu families' actual views of education. In contrast to educators' perceptions, Somali Bantu caregivers stressed the high value they placed on education through their storytelling practices in the home that related past struggles, including experiences of violence and poverty. The stories told and advice given by parents and elders showed an embedded value of education within the community and a counter-story to the way in which Somali Bantu families were viewed by the majority of their teachers. The authors conclude that the discourse employed by educators was grounded in a defcit-based paradigm that created missed opportunities for connecting with Somali Bantu parents and marginalized students by blaming them rather than evaluating the lack of education provided to families in how to "do school" in the American context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)521-541
Number of pages21
JournalHarvard Educational Review
Volume81
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education

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