faced by refugees regarding the language barriers include lack of proficiency in English as an instruction language, and limited proficiency in social language within academic environments. In the United States, English is the primary language used in classroom instruction and assessment programs. On the other hand, social language is instrumental in facilitating academic interactions between students (Brown, Miller, & Jane, 2006). Limited proficiency and lack of confidence regarding these education language concepts act as considerable obstacles in refugees’ academic journeys.
Technically, a refugee refers to an individual who fled his or her native country, and who is not willing to return for fear of persecution. Currently, the total number of refugees in the world is approximately 22.4 million persons. Substantial portion of this number, about 75%, reside in the Middle East and North Africa. The rest are evenly distributed across Western nations in Europe and America. In 2000, United States had 90,191 refugees (Brown et al, 2006). Most of these refugees come from Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin American nations. Approximately 30% of refugees entering the United States are children below the age of 15 years. Some of these children end up being adopted by American families while others stay with their parents. Across the 50 US states, refugee children are present in classrooms. For every 50 students, there is at least one refugee student in US schools (Peggy, 1999).
As insinuated earlier, language barriers predispose refugee students to poor academic performance in US schools. These language barriers can be pre-immigration or post-immigration in nature. Pre-immigration language barriers exist before persons are forced to flee their native countries. Apparently, most children in certain African nations like Somalia have had little or no contact with education (Watkins, Razee & Richters, 2012). Social interactions in their original communities are