Views of Adolescent Bhutanese Refugees on Home Learning During School Shutdown Across the Period of COVID-19

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  • Nabaraj Mudwari School of Education, University of Tasmania
  • Kim Beasy School of Education, University of Tasmania
  • Carol Murphy School of Education, University of Tasmania
  • Monica Cuskelly School of Education, University of Tasmania



adolescent refugees, COVID-19, education, home learning, social capital.


The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is now a global crisis, resulting in the intermittent closure of many schools, worldwide. The school closures are believed to have affected adolescents’ education, particularly for vulnerable adolescents including those from a refugee-background.  The study explores the home learning experiences of adolescent Bhutanese refugees in Tasmania, Australia and draws on social capital theory to interpret findings. Interviews with adolescent Bhutanese refugees revealed four overarching themes: disengagement from learning, the experience of isolation, the complexity of family relationships and motivation through relationships. This article makes an important practical and theoretical contribution to home learning through challenging Putnam’s binary distinction between bonding and bridging and suggesting alternative conceptualisations based on the role of bonding in the creation of bridging social capital.  These findings have potential implications for the development of mitigation measures to support refugee-background students under extraordinary circumstances. 


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Author Biographies

Nabaraj Mudwari, School of Education, University of Tasmania

School of Education, PhD Candidate and Casual Academic Staff

Kim Beasy, School of Education, University of Tasmania

Equitable education and education for sustainability

Carol Murphy, School of Education, University of Tasmania

Inclusive education and mathematics pedagogy

Monica Cuskelly, School of Education, University of Tasmania

Intellectual and developmental disabilities; family functioning; developmental psychology


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How to Cite

Mudwari, N., Beasy, K., Murphy, C., & Cuskelly, M. (2021). Views of Adolescent Bhutanese Refugees on Home Learning During School Shutdown Across the Period of COVID-19. Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Studies, 8(4), 286–306.



Original Manuscript
Received 2021-05-04
Accepted 2021-09-01
Published 2021-10-10