This article reports upon one set of findings in an investigation of the pathways through Australian secondary school and into higher education for students from refugee backgrounds. English language proficiency was a key factor in the educational success of these students. However, teaching staff framed the language capacities of these multilingual students in deficit terms. In this article, we explore, through the capability approach of Fraser (1996) and Sen (2009), how language can be understood in relation to the capabilities that individuals, communities and society have reason to value; why deficit models of language learners persist; and how we can redress this through teacher professional learning.
|Number of pages
|European Journal of Applied Linguistics and TEFL
|Published - 2019