07 SES 04 B, School Contexts in Migration Societies
65.3 million people were forced to leave their countries in 2017 as a result of the conflicts all over the world (ECHO, 2018). 3.9 million people settled down Turkey according to the official figures in 2018 (ECHO, 2018). Turkey became the most refugee- receiving country along with this number (UNHRC, 2018). Refugee crisis exist around the world. Settling down a new country and meeting with new cultures bring along studies about refugee adaptation process. Schools are the inseparable part of the adaptation process.
Adaptation to a newly arrived country needs the development of cultural competence (Gardner, 1995). As Peterson, Meehan, Ali and Durrant (2017) stated, education and school process have a significant role during the adaptation process. Schools are not just the places children learn how to read and write. They also help to sustain the culture of society and also help the socializing process within the culture. Thus, school can be seen as a socializing agent in the society (Saldana, 2013). Schools gain more importance with the refugee crises occured all over the world. Refugee families who can afford to send their children to school hope them to learn the language and the culture of newly arrived country that can help them to maintain a healthy life which includes proper adaptation to newly arrived country by communicating the locals, maintaining their life without depending someone else such as having an education without a translater.
School counselors are the inevitable part of the education process. They need to be informed about every single component of students’ educational process. According to ASCA (American School Counselor Association) Ethical Standards for School Counselors (2016), school counselors are liable for collaborating with all relevant stakeholders inside the school. Most of the codes defined by ASCA based on the ground of collaboration issue with students, families, teachers, administration, other professionals, and institutions around the school. Hereby, school counselors should have knowledge of and cooperate with all stakeholders inside and outside of the school. This situation makes school counselors as a milestone of the school and the school environment. Since school counselors are informed all school components’ needs and issues, they act as the key position in the school.
The present study aimed to profile refugee-receiving schools in terms of their psychosocial needs and issues so that more effective school-based psychosocial intervention models can be developed. The motivation of the study comes from the fact that majority of the existing literature consist of studies examining solely the nature of the refugees’ needs and issues and these studies point out the importance of contextualizing intervention models. Therefore, the results of the study should help to provide contextualized data to set bases for comprehensive prevention and intervention programs for Turkish refugee receiving schools.
Data were collected during September- November 2017 by interviews as qualitative data collection tool. During the interviews, prompts (reminders) and probes (further inspection) were used to understand the nature of the phenomena in depth. Interviews carried on ranged from approximately 45 minutes to one hour. There are Syrian refugees in almost every city in Turkey. On the other hand, cities differ in terms of the refugee population density. Also, refugee population at school varies from region to region at the same city. Therefore, seven cities with most Syrian refugees selected according to the Ministry of Interior Directorate General of Migration Report (2017). These cities are Istanbul, Hatay, Şanlıurfa, Mardin, Diyarbakır, İzmir and Gaziantep. Fifteen school counselors who are working at the most refugee- receiving schools in their cities were interviewed by using semi- structured interview protocol. Since different schools at different regions may have various needs in accordance with the phenomenon, it is aimed to select the schools from different regions in Turkey, not just the southeastern part of Turkey. Interview protocol was designed by referring six areas: (1) Demographic information of the participants, (2) Determining the Situation of School Counselors, (3) Needs and Experiences of Refugee Students, (4) Needs and Experiences of Local Students, (5) Needs and Experiences of School Counselors, and (6) Suggestions for the Adaptation process. Directed content analysis steps were followed by analyzing the transcribed data. In this research, triangulation process was done by four academics of Faulty of Education. Transcribed and raw data were shared with the members in the first place. Their own themes and codes were compared with the researcher’s findings afterward. Suggested comments and opinions about the themes, sub-themes, and codes of the data were taken into consideration.
There are three main themes emerged after the analysis of the interviews considering the aim of the study. These are (1) Refugee Students, (2) Local Students and (3) Personal and Professional Experiences of School Counselors. Each main theme have three sub- themes as problems, needs and facilitative factors. Problems of refugee students were grouped into seven codes as multi- way exclusion, personal adjustment problems, familial problems, policy problem, socio- cultural problems, psycho- social problems and behavioral problems. Even the school counselors indicated that the problems of refugee students may differ, there is one common ground of all the problems; language barrier. Needs of the refugee students were grouped as the need for being accepted, healing from trauma and training for learning the culture. Financial and cultural issues are categorized under both problem and protective factors sub- themes. Problems of local students were grouped as behavioral, familial and academic problems. School counselors stated that there is a need for cultural recognition and being accepted for local students as well. Facilitative factors for refugee students as psycho- social factors and teachers’ attitudes also emerged as the facilitative factors for local students. Expectations from the school counselors, lack of school facilities, language barrier, inadequate trainings and the ambiguity about the adaptation process were brought up under the problems of school counselors. In- service trainings, motivation of school counselors and language learning process for refugee students were also addressed as a need for the adaptation process. As it can be seen, there are similarities between the problems of school counselors, local and refugee students are experiencing during the adaptation process. Language barrier issue is the overarching theme for all three components. Educational programs should be developed for all stakeholders in order to address the educational needs of refugee children.
American School Counselor Association (2016). ASCA Ethical Standards for school Counselors. Alexandria, VA: Author. European Commission Echo Fact Sheet. (2018). European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection. Retrieved from https://ec.europa.eu/echo/files/aid/countries/factsheets/turkey_syrian_cr isis_en.pdf (accessed May 1, 2018). Gardner, H. (1995). Reflections on multiple intelligences myths and messages. Phi Delta Kappan, 77, 200-203, 206-209. Peterson, A., Meehan, C., Ali, Z. and Durrant, I. (2017) What are the educational needs and experiences of asylum-seeking and refugee children, including those who are unaccompanied, with a particular focus on inclusion? - A literature review. Canterbury Christ Church University.Canterbury Christ Church University.and refugee students: From hostile to holistic models. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 14(3), 247-267. doi:10.1080/13603110802504523 Saldana, J. (2013). Power and Conformity in Today's Schools. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 3(1), 228-232. Turkey, Republic of Turkey Ministry of Interior Directorate General of Migration Management. (2017). Annual Migration Report and Statistics. Ankara, Çankaya. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees UNHCR. (2018). Registered Syrian Refugees. Retrieved from https://data2.unhcr.org/en/situations/syria/location/113(accessed May 1, 2018).
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