04 SES 16 B, Forced Migration and Inclusive Education: European perspectives on including forced migrants into teacher training, (non-)formal schooling and work Part 2
Symposium continued from 04 SES 14 B, to be continued in 04 SES 17 B
Refugees, both adults and children, from any part of the world face challenges in their new environments. Some of the challenges relate to their religious values and traditions while other have to do with the different school systems and programs. In Iceland, the number of refugees is growing. Eleven Syrian refugee families, including 20 adults and 35 children and adolescents, arrived in Iceland from Lebanon in early 2016 and settled in three municipalities. The aim of this study is to explore how these refugee families in Iceland experience education in their new environments. The theoretical framework of the study includes critical approaches to education and education for social justice (May & Sleeter, 2010) and multilingual education (Chumak-Horbatsch, 2012). The methods include semi-structured interviews with principals and teachers in all the preschools and compulsory schools of the refugee children and interviews with their parents. Thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006) was used to analyse the data. The findings indicate that the refugee parents find that education in Iceland is both different from what they have experienced and contradictory in its content and emphasis. Furthermore, some of the topics and contents of education in Iceland conflict with the religious values and traditions from their home cultures. Some examples include swimming, sports or physical education that require that the students wear certain kind of clothing, religious programs in the schools, and whether the food served is haram (forbidden) or halal (allowed). Therefore, educators need to be aware when dealing with these topics. School staff should be conscious of the preparation and serving of food. Schools need to cooperate to assure that the rights of the parents to get information regarding the programs taught and the ingredients of foods served at school are respected. They need to make sure that there are acceptable programs and food for those students.
Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77–101. doi:10.1191/1478088706qp063oa Chumak-Horbatsch, R. (2012). Linguistically appropriate practice: A guide for working with young immigrant children. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. May, S. & Sleeter, C. E. (2010). Introduction. Critical multiculturalism: Theory and praxis. In S. May & C.E. Sleeter (Eds.) Critical multiculturalism: Theory and praxis (pp. 1–16). New York: Routledge.
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