Charis Ketcham obtained her MA degree in TESL from Eastern Washington University, where she also taught English composition. Formerly, she has also trained middle school EFL teachers in China and presently is an ESL instructor at Mukogawa Fort Wright Institute. Her recent thesis research is the origin for the topic that she will be presenting on today: The Potential Effects of Trauma on Refugees' Language Learning Processes.
Throughout my recent graduate thesis research (2016-2018) at Eastern Washington University, I focused on the research question: "How can trauma potentially affect the language learning processes of refugees?" This question appealed to me on a practical level because of a desire to learn from and help teachers who work with refugee student populations. My research was fueled by a motivation to more effectively and holistically meet the needs of refugee students in the classroom. I began to see three broad categories within research interviews that I conducted with a school counselor, K-12 ELD teachers, and adult ESL teachers. These interviews helped me begin to 1) define types of trauma students may have experienced (or currently be experiencing), 2) discuss how these types of trauma might affect their language learning, and 3) delve into how teachers may better assist refugee students in their learning processes with this information in mind. My presentation of this research is intended to help assist the ESL community in discussing and becoming more informed about how trauma can impact their students' learning processes.