07 SES 04 A, Inclusion of Newcomers and Refugees Part 1
Paper Session to be continued in 07 SES 06 A
Nowadays, there are 244 million inhabitants living in a different country from the country of origin (UN, 2016). The total number of international migrants has been rising about 2 % each year, which is quite rapidly (UN, 2016). Europe has lately registered plenty of newcomers, both economic migrants and refugees. Their amount is increasing. It means that there are more and more immigrant children in european elementary schools in each European country. Pedagogical research shows that immigrant children have traditionaly worse school results than their peers from major society (Hermansen, 2016; PISA, 2015) which is interpretated mainly by their lack of knowledge of the major language. That leads very often to early drop-out of immigrant children from educational system. Immigrant children are, on this count, children at risk. To keep them in the educational system as long as possible is one of the major aims of many Euroepan countries because education means integration. That is why immigrant children need support in the early phase when they come to a new school in a new country. How the support of immigrant children adaptation process looks like in the Czech and Norwegian environmnent, will be discussed in this contribution.
The theoretical background for the paper is the concept of equal educational opprotunnities (UNESCO, 2017; Lynch, 2001; Coleman, 1968) as well as the two main strategies of immigrant ingegration: assimilation and multiculturalism (Giddens, 1997; Jensen, 1985; Bělohradský, 2009; Gordon, 1964). The basis are the international discussions regarding: equal educational opportunities for immigrant children and multiculturalism as the only nowadays "right" strategy of immigrant integration in democratic and developted countries.
The main aim of the paper is to compare the support of immigrant children school adaptation in the Czech and Norwegian environment in order to understand the process in both countries and to discover the areas that the main actors consider crucial for the success of the whole process. By immigrant children, I mean the first and the second generation of immigrants (Øia, 2000). By support of immigrant children school-adaptation, I consider measures based on legislation and strategic documents at the national and regional level of education policy as well as the specific school measures. School adaptation is considered as a complex, nonlinear proccess (Berry, 1997) and as a triangulation process (Brizuela and Garcia-Sellers, 1999) involving variables related to immigrant children, their families and schools, and which is also embedded in a wider historical, social, economic and political context (Berube, 2004 and Deslandes et al., 2012). This is a process where the child learns about the new environment, learns new language and gets friends.
The main research question is: What knowledge does the comparison of immigrant children school adaptation support in the Czech and Norwegian environment bring? The paper will also answer two specific research questions: 1) What are the main similarities and differences in immigrant children school adaptation support in the Czech and Norwegian environment at the macro, mezzo and micro level? 2) What are the key areas that actors perceive as crucial to the success of immigrat children school adaptation support in both environments?
The design of an empirical survey is a comparative study whose methodological approach is inspired by Bereday's four-step comparative method (Beraday, 1964). The first step is a description, describing the demographic, historical, economic, social and political context of immigrant children school-adaptation support in both environments. The second step is an interpretation that involves collection and interpretation of data at three levels: macro, mezzo and micro. At the macro level, I use qualitative content analysis of Czech and Norwegian legislative and strategic educational documents. On the mezzo level, I analyse, using the same technique, Prague and Oslo regional educational documents. Finally, at the micro level, I present the results of the case studies of four primary schools (two in Prague and two in Oslo). The criteria for the selection of schools were their localization in the capital cities as well as their localization in the urban district, characterized by the presence of mainly economic immigrants. Another criterion was the selection of schools from the common spectrum of education. Deliberately, those schools were chosen, that are not characterized by an extreme such as an extremely high proportion of immigrant children, segregated schools, schools from extremely economically weak areas, or schools with significantly poor results. The last criterion is related to the results of previous research, which show, that the extent and intensity that the schools use on immigrant children school-adaptation support is influenced by the amount of immigrant children at school and by the level of schools´ and teachers´ experience with immigrant children (Øzerk, 2013; Øia, 2000). Therefore, one school with a lower and one with a higher number of immigrant children was chosen in each city (taking into account the total number of immigrant children in the capital cities). The main technique of data collection at the micro level is semi-structured interviews with school hadmasters and teachers. Observation and content analysis of school documents is provided as complementary techniques. The data was collected between 2016 and 2017. The third step, juxtaposition, represents the main findings presented in the previous step (in parallel for the Czech and Norwegian environments) in the overview table. Finally, step four, the comparison presents the narratively established assumptions and differences that have arisen from the research made at the macro, mezzo and micro level.
The main result of the presented research is the creation of a model visualizing the immigrant children school adaptation support (including three layers: macro - national level; mezzo - regional level; micro - school level: teachers, family and immigrant children). The model for instance emphasizes the importance of strenghtening school and immigrant parents cooperation in both examined countries. The model also shows the regional level as the key element of the support, which in the Czech environment proved to be insufficiently represented throughout the process. The survey in the Norwegian environment has shown that there is a quite strong mezzo level speaking of the immigrant children school support: because there exist regional documents for teachers describing the ways of how to deal with the new immigrant child at school. This is at the same time something that is completely missing in the Czech context. Therefore, while the both countries have similar goals at the national level in terms of promoting immigrant children school-adaptation, there are large differences in the school reality. These findings led to reflections on the meaning of so-called symbolic policy (Boussaguet, 2016; Elias, 1983; Sears, Lau, Tyler, & Allen, 1980; Hy, 1978) and substantive policy (Smitty, 2018; Krause, 2011) in the field of immigrant children school-adaptation support and to reflections on their forms in the Czech and Norwegian environment. In the same way, the results lead to a discussion on the current form of assimilation and multicultural tendencies in the Czech and Norwegian contexts with regard to the topic of the paper.
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