Becoming qualified to teach low-literate refugees: A case study of one volunteer instructor

Kristen H. Perry


This case study investigates Carolyn, an effective volunteer ESL and literacy instructor of adult African refugees, in order to understand both what it means to be a qualified instructor, and also how community-based volunteer instructors may become more qualified.  The study’s findings suggest that Carolyn’s qualifications are a combination of personal dispositions (e.g., cultural sensitivity) and professional behaviors, including self-education, seeking mentoring and outside expertise, and purposeful reflection on her teaching.  Several implications for supporting community-based volunteer literacy and ESL instructors emerge from these findings.

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Publication of the Community Literacy Journal is made possible through the generous support of the English Department and the Writing and Rhetoric Program at Florida International University. The CLJ is a journal of the Conference on Community Writing.