Family Cultural Orientation: Refugee Learners Shaping Design
Families new to our city, especially transnational families, become skilled in the art of cultural orienteering. They use their knowledge, values, relationships, and communication skills to create a new home for themselves in Nashville. To date, scholars have not adequately addressed refugees’ perspectives on orientation to mainstream school culture in the United States. In this project, my position is that the collective strength of family units can be used to create a positive cultural orientation (CO) learning experience. Based on my conversations with refugee families, a refugee resettlement center, and a government agency, knowing what to expect - prior to the start of school - decreases stress in children and supports positive experiences in adapting to new learning environments. My capstone project offers just one more navigational tool that families can use to prepare for enrollment in MNPS. I created a website, featuring differentiated cultural orientation modules, to facilitate conversation between interpreters, parents, and their children, about what they will encounter in elementary, middle, and high school.