07 SES 03 A JS, Counteracting Discrimination in Schools and Minority Students’ Educational Experiences
Joint Paper Session NW 07 and NW 26
Schools and educational practices in Europe are currently challenged by migration and various forms of transnational practices in relation to globalization, war and unequal social conditions (cf. Adams & Kirova 2007; Hamilton & Moore 2004; Rutter 1998).. Migration into Sweden has gone on in different phases and with different intensity since the end of the Second World War and the year 2016, 16% of the population in Sweden are born abroad.
Swedish schools have however adopted slowly and research and national evaluations show low results and a neglect of migrant children and newcomer students’ needs (Bunar 2015; Jonsson & Rudolphi 2010; Nilsson & Bunar 2015). There is however a considerable gap in educational achievement between students who have immigrated after starting school and those who were born in the country or who migrated at a younger age, prior to starting school (Nilsson & Bunar 2015; PISA 2016). Newly arrived students have a double disadvantage in that they in addition to lacking the knowledge of the language often have difficult experiences in connection with the migration. Further, these students are partly seen by teachers and majority students as representatives of ‘the other’, and there is a lack of respect within a dominant discourse on Swedishness (Bunar 2010).
Aims of research
A first aim of this research is to provide a picture of how the newly arrived students are received in school. This will be explored through extensive case-studies in two mid-sized Swedish municipalities which include schools with various experience of multilingual students and arrangements for their inclusion. A second aim is to explore different models and methods, approaches and didactic tools in order to take part in a critical discussion on newly arrived students’ education and possible educational interventions. How newly arrived students are received in schools varies greatly between Swedish municipalities, according to Bunar (2010), and is only sporadically investigated through research at the present.
The project aims, through a survey and in-depth case studies in two Swedish municipalities and its compulsory schools:
- Explore how newly arrived pupils are received and included during their first time in the Swedish compulsory school, which models there are for receiving, for teaching and models for transitions, and how the students themselves interpret, experience and handle their education.
- Deepen the knowledge of how the school organization as well as competences, attitudes and approaches at different levels (from administration to the classroom) affects newcomers' opportunities for learning and inclusion.
- Describe examples and general aspects of the organization, approach and didactic tools that promote or hinder newcomers' knowledge and social inclusion.
Theoretically we draw on an ecological system perspective as used in work by among others Anderson, Hamilton, Moore, Loewen, and Frater-Mathieson (2004) and Nilsson and Bunar (2015). It builds on the work by Urie Bronfenbrenner (1979, 1992) and his development of a theory for understanding child development. In this theory Bronfenbrenner emphasizes the whole social context and the different systems of relationships that form a child’s environment. Bronfenbrenner separates in his theory between five different environmental levels that influence the child; the microsystem, the mesosystem, the exosystem, the macrosystem and the chronosystem, this in order to understand and organize patterns of the levels experienced by the child (Bronfenbrenner 1979, 1992). Of importance is to emphasize that the theory states that we are not mere recipients of the experiences we have when socializing in the micro system environment, but we are also contributing to the construction of such environment. In our work this theory will work as an important organizing tool or lens for understanding different levels influencing the lives of newly arrived children and youth in compulsory schools in Sweden.
Adams, L. D. & Kirova, A. (2007) Global Migration and Education. Schools, Children and Families. London: Routledge. Anderson, A., Hamilton, R., Moore, D., Loewen, S., & Frater-Mathieson, K. (2004) Education of refugee children: Theoretical perspectives and best practice. In R. Hamilton & D. Moore (Eds.), Educational interventions for refugee children (pp. 1–11). London: Routledge. Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development: Experiments by nature and design. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Bronfenbrenner, U. (1992). Ecological systems theory. In R. Vasta (Ed.) Six theories of child development: Revised formulations and current issues (pp. 187–249). London: Jessica Kingsley. Bunar, N. (2010). Nyanlända och lärande [Newly arrived and learning]. Stockholm, Sweden: Vetenskapsrådet. Bunar, N. (Ed.). (2015). Nyanlända och lärande: Mottagande och inkludering [Newly arrived and learning: Reception and inclusion]. Stockholm, Sweden: Natur och Kultur. Jonsson, J. O & Rudolphi, F. (2010) Weak Performance—Strong Determination: School Achievement and Educational Choice among Children of Immigrants in Sweden. European Sociological Review, 27 (4): 487-508. Nilsson, J. & Bunar, N. (2015) Educational Responses to Newly Arrived Students in Sweden: Understanding the Structure and Influence of Post-Migration Ecology. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 60: 4, s. 399-416. PISA 2016. What the Pisa rankings actually tell us about Swedish schools. http://www.thelocal.se/20161206/what-swedens-improving-school-performance-tells-us-pisa [Hämtat 170107]. Rutter, J. (1998) Refugees in today’s world. In J. Rutter & C. Jones (eds.), Refugee Education: Mapping the field, s. 13-32. London: Trentham.
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