From Local Village to Global Village

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					From Local Village to
Global Village
Developing skills and broadening
horizons for refugees from Burma in
a Language, Literacy and Numeracy
classroom

Mandy Homewood 3/10/09 (ACAL Conference)
Overview: how can we as educationalists broaden the
knowledge and comprehension of the students’ new
world, improve the process of settlement, while
raising their linguistic levels?
It helps if we:
                                           4. use informed methodology

1. have an understanding of 5. provide activities and
  Burma today                 assessments that are
                              meaningful and relevant
2. know the Australian
  context

3. offer support structures

Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia           2
Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne Australia   3
Burma or Myanmar ?

• 1989 decision of military to change the English
  name from Burma to Myanmar

• World usage of Myanmar is mixed

• UN uses Myanmar

• US, Australia, Canada use Burma

• I shall generally use Burma
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Burma – quick facts


Burma’s total land area is                A) Australia
 closest in size to:                      B) NSW
                                          C) WA
                                          D) TAS

 Answer:


             B) NSW


 Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne Australia
Burma – quick facts


Burma’s population (2009                  A) 49 million
 est.) is close to                        B) 100 million
                                          C) 72 million
                                          D) 38 million

Answer:

            A) 49 million



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Burma – quick facts


Burma became independent                  A) 1962
 in:                                      B) 1972
                                          C) 1948
                                          D) 1945

Answer:

            C) 1948



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Burma – quick facts
Burma shares a border                      A) 5 countries
 with:                                     B) 4 countries
                                           C) 6 countries
                                           D) 2 countries




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Map Burma




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Burma – quick facts


The approximate percentage A) 95%
 of the population of Burma B) 65%
 who speak the official     C) 92%
 language, Burmese, is
                            D) 82%

Answer:

            B) 65%



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 Burma – quick facts
 The official title of the                 A) The Official and
  military regime of                         Respected People’s Party
  Burma is:                                B) The Government of
                                             Myanmar
                                           C) The State Peace and
                                             Development Council
                                           D) The Venerable and
Answer:
                                             Honourable People’s
                                             Government
           C) The State Peace and
           Development Council

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Economy - overview
• one of poorest                           • Government spending
  countries in Asia                          priorities skewed
• bleak outlook                              towards military and
• 70% of the population                      large-scale
  are subsistence level                      infrastructure
• corruption/black
  market a major                           • this at expense of
  concern                                    provision of basic
                                             services such as
                                             health and education.
Source: http://www.dfat.gov.au/

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Languages                                      Religion

• Burmese (official)                       • 89% Buddhist
                                           • 4% Muslim
• a wide variety of                        • 4% Christian
  other languages is
  spoken, especially by
  ethnic minorities
  representing 4 major
  language families

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   Organised crime in Burma
Human trafficking                             Illicit drugs
• women, children and                         • Burma remains second
  men trafficked for purpose                    largest producer of illicit
  of forced labour and                          opium
  commercial sexual                           • major source of
  exploitation                                  methamphetamine and
                                                heroin for regional
• military and civilian                         consumption
  officials remain directly                   • lack of government will to
  involved in acts of forced                    take on major trafficking
  labour                                        groups
   Source: CIA World Fact Book


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     Human Rights in Myanmar
      Report to UN Human Rights Council
                    (2009)
• Ongoing systematic violations of
  human rights and fundamental
  freedoms of people of Myanmar
• Politically motivated arrests, including
  the General Secretary of the National
  League for Democracy, Aung Sang
  Suu Kyi
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   Human Rights in Myanmar
      UN Human Rights Council (2009)
 • Lack of fair and public hearings
 • Lack of transparency of political
   processes
 • Rights’ violations, including enforced
   disappearances, arbitrary detentions
 • Rape and other forms of sexual
   violence, torture and other forms of ill-
   treatment
 • Source:http://daccessdds.un.org/doc/UNDOC

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Who is a refugee?
The UN 1951 Convention defines a
 refugee as:
Any person who owing to a well founded fear of
 being persecuted for reasons of race, religion,
 nationality, membership of a particular social
 group or political opinion, is outside the country
 of his/her nationality, and is unable, or owing to
 such fear, is unwilling to avail himself/herself of
 the protection of that country .


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Statistical Snapshot of Refugees*
Residing in Myanmar                       Originating from
                                          Myanmar

• Internally Displaced                     • Refugees:
  Persons :                                184,413
67,290                                     • Asylum Seekers:
• Stateless Persons:                       22,338
723,571                                    • Internally Displaced
                                             Persons:
*As at January 2009                        67,290
Source: UNHCR/Governments.




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Chin
• a Sino-Tibetan race                     • culture is rich in folk tales,
                                            dance and music
• predominantly inhabit
  Chin State                              • respect for elderly

• composed of many                        • patriarchal society
  individual tribes, many
  different languages

• main religion (70% of
  Chins)is Christianity

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Some Chin students at Swinburne




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Karen
• second largest ethnic                    - care for the poor and
  group in Burma (about 7                     disadvantaged
  million)                                 - high level of equality
• traditional Karen village                   between the sexes
  society revolves around a
  number of core values,                   • for community
  such as:                                   organisation, the Karen
 - importance of family and                  have an established
  community,                                 democratic tradition
 - respect for the elderly



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Some Karen students at Swinburne




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                                            THE AUSTRALIAN CONTEXT

      Top 10 countries of birth for offshore humanitarian arrivals by applicant type(a) - 2007-08

                                             Primary   % primary   Secondary   % secondary     Total



  Burma                                        850          44     1 070              56     1 920
  Iraq                                         470          28     1 210              72     1 680
  Afghanistan                                  250          26       700              74       950
  Sudan                                        280          34       540              66       820
  Thailand                                       40          6       620              94       660
  Congo, Republic of                           120          26       350              74       470
  Iran                                         110          26       310              74       420
  Sierra Leone                                   70         28       180              72       250
  Tanzania                                       10          4       230              96       240
  Liberia                                        90         38       150              63       240
  Other countries                              550          29     1 370              71     1 920
  Total                                     2 840           30     6 730              70     9 570
  (a) Numbers have been rounded to the nearest 10.
  Source: DIAC Settlement Database.
                                                                                                       24
Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne Australia
Distribution of settlers from
Burma by Australian state
  Settlers Arriving from 1 Jan 2008 to 1 Sep
                       2009




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Source: Department of Immigration and Citizenship Settlement Database.
  Country of Birth of Client Contacts
  at the Migrant Information Centre (Eastern Melbourne)
• I n June 2009,there were 364 client contacts. People born in Burma
  I

  (245) were the main group.
• Source: Migrant Information Centre (Eastern Melbourne), viewed
  6/9/09 http://www.miceastmelb.com.au/statistics




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Nature of client enquiries at the MIC
In June 2009, there were 804 enquiries. 130 of them were associated with
   housing and accommodation and 146 with understanding and completing
   forms.




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Swinburne study and
employment supports




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Features of our programs at Swinburne

• classroom based training                • Excursions :
  in small groups                          - visits to local facilities
• teach computer skills                      such as the public library
• visiting guest speakers eg               - trips to the city using
  fire safety, police,                       public transport to visit eg
  Consumer Affairs,                          courts, museums
  Foundation House, the
  MIC                                     • employability skills
• Swinburne Student
  Services such as the
  Counsellor, Nurse

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‘Taster’ programs eg Welding




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                                   • Certificate in Spoken and
My class                          Written English (CSWE)111
                                    (ISLPR* 1+ in the 4 macro
                                                          skills)
                                       • part of the Language,
                                       Literacy and Numeracy
                                                       Program




                           * International Second Language Proficiency
                              Rating

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My class                  (cont)



• 16 - 20 students
• 40% Chin ethnic background
• 40% Karen ethnic background
• Most have up to Year 10 level in
  Burma, but with interrupted schooling
• Ages range from 18 – around 60


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Quotations from my students
• “In my dreams I cry for my parents in Burma but then I
  wake up and have tears on my face.”

• “The Burmese soldiers like to eat but they don’t like to
  cook.”

• “I was lucky. I was in a jail for a few years. But then I
  escaped because the Burmese soldiers were drunk one
  night”.

• ‘In the camp little rice, some vegetables and fish paste.
  But in Burma only little rice.”
• I
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Underpinning theories for
language learning
Halliday (1979) outlined 2. Learning through
  3 perspectives on         language includes
  second language           using the resources of
  learning:                 language to interact
1. Language is not          with new knowledge
  represented solely as     and ideas
  syntactic forms, but as 3.Learning about
  a resource for making     language involves
  meaning                   understanding the

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Underpinning theories for language
learning (cont)
                                           • In particular,
 3. (cont) choices                           underpinning the
   available in language                     CSWE is the
   systems and how                           importance of
   particular choices                        Systemic Functional
   relate to the social                      Linguistics (Halliday
   system and to the                         1985) , wherein
   culture                                   language is viewed as
                                             a social resource for
                                             meaningful discourse

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Some broad themes, activities, assessments

•   Health
•   Community
•   Employability
•   Environment
•   Technology (included
    in all)




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Bibliography

Australian Government Department of Immigration & Citizenship, Access and Equity in
   Government services Report 2006-2008

 Burma,http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki, viewed 7/9/09

CIA 2009,The World Factbook, viewed 6/9/09,
https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook

Craney, A. 2009, Police aim to quell Burmese refugees' fear, New Australia Media, viewed 6/9/09,
   http://www.newaustraliamedia.org

Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations 2008, Australian Core Skills
  Framework, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra

Department Foreign Affairs and Trade , viewed 15/9/09,
  http://www.dfat.gov.au/geo/burma/burma_brief.html

Human Rights Watch, June 9 2005, viewed 6/9/09

Human Rights Watch 2009 ,viewed 6/9/09,http://www.hrw.org/en


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Bibliography


Halliday, M.A.K. 1979, Language Development Project. Occasional Paper No.1,Curriculum
   Development Centre, Canberra

Halliday M.A.K. 1985, An introduction to functional grammar
, Edward Arnold, London

Human Rights Watch, June 9 2005, viewed 6/9/09

Human Rights Watch 2009 ,viewed 6/9/09,http://www.hrw.org/en

Migrant Information Centre (Eastern Melbourne), viewed 6/9/09
http://www.miceastmelb.com.au/statistics

Myanmar, viewed 7/9/09, http://geography.about.com/

NSW AMES 2008, Certificate 111 in Spoken and Written English, NSW AMES

Springall, J. 2008 Keys to Work A teaching kit for developing the employability skills of CALD
   learners, AMES Melbourne Commonwealth of Australia



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Bibliography


UN Human Rights Council 2009, Situation of human rights in Myanmar
viewed 6/9/09,http://daccessdds.un.org/doc/UNDOC

Victorian Government, viewed 17/8/09,http://www.metlinkmelbourne.com.au/

Victorian Government, viewed 6/9/09, www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au

Wajnryb, R 1986, Grammar Workout The Dictogloss Approach, Melting Pot Press, Sydney




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