Transnational Education Professor to Continue Research at Victory Christian Academy on St. Maarten

Dr. Allison Skerrett begins another round of research with the students and teachers at Victory Christian Academy this week. Skerrett, an Associate Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at The University of Texas at Austin is looking at how students with multiple nationalities navigate literacy and education.

She recently published a book called Teaching Transnational Youth: Literacy and Education in a Changing World (2015). “Transnational youth are young people who live across two or more countries – spending significant amounts of time in each (for instance, across a year) and maintaining deep ties to each of the places they live. Often they belong to families who are transnational, so their living “here and there” occurs as part of their families’ transnational lifestyle; but there are also youths who have their own transnational experiences independent of their families’ movements,” the professor explained.

The book offers approaches to literacy curriculum and instruction through which literacy educators can learn about their transnational students' educational experiences, challenges, resources and academic needs and use what they learn to promote these students' academic development. Importantly, the book describes how teaching with more awareness of transnationalism ultimately supports the academic development of all students in the classroom.

The book offers approaches to literacy curriculum and instruction through which literacy educators can learn about their transnational students’ educational experiences, challenges, resources and academic needs and use what they learn to promote these students’ academic development. Importantly, the book describes how teaching with more awareness of transnationalism ultimately supports the academic development of all students in the classroom.

Victory Christian Academy, which is celebrating 10 years in 2016, was the only school on island used in the Caribbean-wide research project over a three-year period. “She was most interested in Language Arts and specifically students’ study habits, how they assimilate what they learn and how do they translate this learning into other areas,” revealed VCA Director Dianne Greenaway.

Skerrett also looked at how the students’ environment including home life affected learning.

Dr. Allison Skerrett is on island to continue research into transnational youth and how they are affected by literacy at the Victory Christian Academy.

Dr. Allison Skerrett in the Department of Curriculum and InstructionDr. Skerrett is an associate professor in the Language and Literacy Studies program area and an affiliate faculty member in the Cultural Studies in Education program area. Her teaching and research interests include secondary English education, adolescent literacy, and sociocultural influences on teaching and learning.

This is the first book to specifically address the needs of transnational youth, a growing population of students who live and go to school across the United States and other nations including Mexico and different Caribbean islands. The professor offers a coherent approach to English language arts and literacy education that supports the literacy learning and development of transnational students, while incorporating these students’ unique experiences to enrich the learning of all students. Drawing from exemplary teachers’ classroom practice and research-based approaches, the book demonstrates how teachers can engage with transnationalism to reap the unique and significant benefits this phenomenon presents for literacy education. These benefits include a deeper appreciation of cultural and linguistic diversity, an increased awareness of world citizenship, and the development of globally informed ways of reading, writing, investigating, and thinking.

Dr. Skerrett serves as faculty advisor for the College of Education’s UTeach Urban Teachers Secondary English Teacher Preparation Program, and teaches and conducts research on adolescents’ literacy practices and secondary English education in contexts of racial, cultural, and linguistic diversity. Dr. Skerrett’s publications appear in leading educational journals including the American Educational Research Journal, English Education, Journal of Literacy Research, Reading Research Quarterly, Research in the Teaching of English, and Urban Education.

Victory Christian Academy was established in January 2006 to provide an alternative style of learning to children from kindergarten to secondary school. Over the past years the school has helped more than 235 children improve their reading and mathematical skills to enable them to move back into more mainstream educational institutions.

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