Summer 8-15-2016



Degree Name


Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Laura Halldin

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Anne DeMuth

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

Chrissy Her


The Karen people are one of the newest refugee populations to immigrate to the United States, but very little is known about them. The Karen have endured a civil war in Burma that has caused family separation, loss of loved ones, interrupted education and suffering from human rights violations. This research aims to gather vital information about the educational experiences of Karen students in order to inform and prepare educators to respond to the academic, cultural, and social needs of this population. Seven Karen high school students were interviewed to share their perspectives, and teacher observations are also included in this qualitative study. The findings offer effective instructional practices for Karen students with limited formal education (SLIFE) by creating a distinctive newcomer program that adheres to the Mutually Adaptive Learning Paradigm (MALP), building an inclusive community, addressing social welfare needs, and relying on teacher empathy.

Research Methodology

Action Research, Case Study, Ethnography, Interview


At-risk Students, ESL/ ELLs, Teachers/ Teaching

Included in

Education Commons