Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students

Posted by on Apr 21, 2017 in | 0 comments

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  • Children authoring storybooks: A narrative approach for children learning a new language— Amy Liu


    For young people from non-Chinese speaking backgrounds who are attending schools in Hong Kong, acquiring Chinese language proficiency can be a significant and anxiety-provoking challenge. When students are not yet proficient in Chinese language, their low estimation of their Chinese language ability can create a vicious circle: feeling incompetent and worrying about language acquisition makes it more difficult to learn. Acquiring an additional language is not merely a linguistic and grammatical exercise, but an affective one. This article explores the use of narrative tools and perspectives for supporting culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) students in Hong Kong with their Chinese language learning. In particular, it shows how externalisation, therapeutic documents (in this case storybooks), Denborough’s (1995) ‘step by step’ process and a search for ‘wonderfulnesses’ (Marsten, Epston, & Markham, 2016) were used with individuals and groups. The article includes accounts of work with an individual and two groups of students. In the first story Alex, a 13-year-old student attending a mainstream secondary school, externalises negative emotions that adhered to the learning of Chinese, thus paving ways to see her abilities. In the second story, a group of three 14-yearold students from a mainstream secondary school externalise ‘strengths’ and ‘resources’ for learning Chinese so that the internal quality of a person was made apparent (M. White, 2007, p. 38). The third story involved a group of five students, eight to nine years of age, from a primary school attended mainly by CALD students. ‘Chinese’ was externalised and became an imaginary friend. This imaginary friend learned from the students, thus making the language less intimidating to approach. Recruited as a carrier and consolidator of the dominant knowledge associated with ethnic minorities, as a local Cantonese speaking person I attempted to maintain a position of being decentred but influential in these stories.


  1. Thank you for this overview of Narrative Therapy. I am returning to practice after some time away, and these reminders are timely and appreciated.

  2. Hi Chris

    I really enjoyed watching your video about Narrative Walks. My project is based in Blaenau Gwent, in South Wales, Uk. I’m wondering whether I might use such an approach in my work with our Youth Service, who support young people between the ages of 11 and 25. Have you any thoughts on this? Are there any resources available, either free or to purchase?

    Best wishes


    • Hi Paul, m

      Much of my early attempts of the program were with the 15-20 year old age bracket and I found it worked really well. When I recently had an opportunity to run the program again with this age bracket – I extended the finish time so that could spend more time at the stop points and have a fire at the last resting place to talk about our intentions after the walk. This meant that we used head torches for the 2km which added a bit of a sense of theatre to the day. It was pretty cool.

      If you email me on I can send you the manual. Or ask any other questions via this page so others might share in the answers.


  3. Thank you for sharing your insights. This has been very enlightening as a student studying post-grad social work. Recently my tutorial group was discussing how professionals often use their interpretation and that clients may not get to see how some professionals interpret their stories, in this way many things can be missed especially what the client sees as being important.