Girls Writing Together: Developing writing pedagogies for low language and literacy learners

Dr Julie Choi
  • Location: Level 2, Room 218, 100 Leicester St, Carlton, Parkville

Project Details

Girls from African refugee backgrounds face critical educational and social barriers as they rebuild their lives in Australia. Their experiences of war, endemic violence, rape, forced marriage, forced displacement, living in refugee camps and family separation, undoubtedly play a debilitating role on their sense of worth and possibilities for positive new identity becomings in this world. Histories of disrupted schooling, a lack of formal education either due to early pregnancies or having to be the main caretakers of their families, limited language and literacy proficiency, discrimination, racism, and negative attitudes when attending Australian schools, deepen their feelings of hopelessness and beliefs that learning, thinking, reading, writing, and expressing oneself to others are ‘other’ people’s activities and futile for their own growth.

This project investigates the full range of communicative resources, learning histories and out-of-school language and literacy practices of low language and literacy African adolescent girls in Melbourne, Australia using state-of-the-art concepts that are becoming increasingly significant in the context of educational change, globalization, migration and mobility. Using a project-based learning mentorship model involving English as an Additional Language teachers and small groups of African adolescent girls, the project seeks to understand how low language and literacy African background adolescents can draw on and extend their existing multilingual and multimodal resources to engage meaningfully in new literacy practices. The findings will inform the creation of tools and resources that will help school teachers across disciplines to adjust their pedagogies to better support all students’ learning in schools. The proposed research brings new perspectives on the meaning-making possibilities of low language and literacy learners in ways they desire to be seen and heard.


Julie Choi


River Nile School