10 SES 08 E, Special Call: Mapping Teacher Education across Europe and Beyond
In 2017, the United Nations reported 258 million migrants, the majority of whom were received by Asia and Europe. In 2015, over a million refugees escaping war, including thousands of unaccompanied minors, entered the European Union and Norway (Connor, 2016). Diversity across Europe is hardly new, but its nature is rapidly changing given the growing number of refugee, asylum seeker, and migrant children in Europe, which places increasing pressure on schools to meet the learning needs of these pupils (Public Policy & Management Institute, 2017). It is unsurprising then that these increases in transnational and global mobility have teachers in Europe, and across the world, struggling to reconsider their everyday practices to accommodate many more newcomers in their classrooms.
Among OECD countries, including in Europe, immigrant students lag behind their non-immigrant peers academically because they “often face the double disadvantage of coming from immigrant and disadvantaged backgrounds” (OECD, 2016, p. 244). The need for teachers to become more responsive to changing social conditions and student populations is gaining urgency (European Commission, 2013a; OECD, 2010, 2016; Public Policy & Management Institute, 2017), as recent reports such as the Education and Training in Europe 2020 Report (European Commission, 2013b), emphasize the need to support children from low socio-economic, migrant, or disadvantaged minority backgrounds, especially in urban areas where high concentrations of “disadvantaged” populations are typical.
The imperatives surrounding the inclusion of diverse students, placed at risk by their social circumstances and their immigrant status, are not new, but rather enduring. Moreover, the ongoing Syrian crisis that has displaced more than 11 million people (UN Refugee Agency [UNHCR], 2018) has further increased the urgency for humanitarian intervention, as Syrian refugees (and other migrants) traverse numerous EU countries and reshape schools, cities, and societies. While many factors play a role in the integration of newcomers, education is certainly critical to the life chances of immigrants, especially children and youth (Turkish National Police Academy, 2017). This highlights teacher supply and preparation as an urgent issue surrounding immigrant education (Culbertson & Constant, 2015), whether in Europe or globally.
Our purpose in this study is to gain insight into teacher preparation for educating immigrant children in Turkey, the U.S., and Hong Kong (HK), as each country presents a distinct immigration case. In Turkey, the influx of Syrian refugees has altered demographics dramatically, specifically increasing border area populations by 10–20 percent. This is causing tensions and making significant demands for the education of immigrants, even while less than 40% of Syrian refugee children are currently enrolled in formal education (Culbertson & Constant, 2015). The U.S., shifting policies and politics around immigration notwithstanding, “has more immigrants than another other country in the world” (Lopez, Bialik, & Radford, 2018, para. 1), and one in five school children is an immigrant or a child of immigrants (Rong & Preissle, 2009), creating pressure for teachers to be able to respond to their needs. In HK, the majority of migrants are from mainland China, with other “immigrants” from Indonesia and the Philippines entering as domestic workers, and about 10,000 refugees seeking asylum--which HK does not recognize (Kennedy, 2012). Regardless of where they come from, “both new immigrants and ethnic minorities below the age of 15 face particular difficulties related to schooling” (Kennedy, 2012, p. 5).
We examine literature from these countries, given the unique insights each offers into teacher preparation for diverse and vulnerable pupils, to ask: what do teachers need to know and do in order to enact social justice in their own practice? Such an analysis offers lessons for different national contexts since immigration experiences internationally are not uniform.
To explore this question, we examined scholarship in teacher education that focuses on preparing new teachers to employ inclusive pedagogies to meet the needs of the increasingly diverse newcomer students in their classrooms. This provides a window into the knowledges and skills teacher educators in the three contexts seem to emphasize in their preparation of preservice teachers and illuminates what is likely in place or missing in initial teacher education programs. Designed as a multiple-case study (Yin, 2014), our data sample included empirical and descriptive articles selected through criterion sampling (Patton, 1990) from journals focusing on teacher education in Turkey, Hong Kong, and U.S. from 2015 through 2018. We selected this time span because it was not only a period of unprecedented global mobility and immigration (UNHCR, http://www.unhcr.org/figures-at-a-glance.html), but it represented the height of the refugee crisis in Syria and elsewhere, such as Myanmar. Data collection involved isolating journal articles focused on preservice teacher preparation for educating migrant children. We sorted through the titles published by key teacher education journals in our respective locations (e.g., Journal of Teacher Education for the U.S., Asia Pacific Journal of Education for Hong Kong, and Educational Sciences: Theory & Practice for Turkey). We began by assessing titles, reading abstracts, and looking at key words. Any mention of concepts associated with migration, immigration, inclusive pedagogies, increasing diversity, educational equity, etc., triggered a full read of the article for addition, or not, to our list. Data analysis consisted of using Cochran-Smith’s (2004) six principles for social justice teaching to code and categorize relevant articles. We began with a pilot study to calibrate our individual article choices, and then elected to independently code the same small set of articles, using Cochran-Smith’s principles, to ensure that we were applying the same meanings to the process. At the conclusion of the pilot, we came together to discuss and compare our coding and share preliminary insights. We found remarkably few differences of opinion, which was encouraging. Still, this process enabled us to clarify each principle, analyze the nuances that raised queries about how specific data chunks might be coded, and further operationalize each principle. We are now in the process of independently coding all the articles we each identified. To ensure the trustworthiness of our process, we meet frequently to compare lists and vet choices, discuss and critique analyses, identify and resolve discrepancies, and come to mutual decisions.
Based on preliminary findings, we found similar themes across the three countries. The most common thread among the three existing fields of literature focus on 1, 2, and 4 of Cochran-Smith’s (2004) principles for social justice. We found that the studies of new teachers focus on preparing them to “enable significant work with communities of learners, build on what students bring to school with them, and working with (not against) individuals, families, and communities.” For example, in U.S. literature, Campano, Ghiso, & Welch (2016) particularly emphasize how all teachers can partner with communities and build solidarity, in order to transform diverse 21st-century classrooms. Similarly, these principles were also found in Turkish literature. For instance, Tarman and Gürel (in press), report that the opinions of teacher candidates regarding Turkey’s welcoming of refugees vary within themselves indicating approval or disapproval of the presence of refugees in Turkey. Thus, they underline the need for adding new courses to teacher education programs for raising awareness on immigration. However, principles 3, 5 and 6 appear less in the literature across all three locations. For instance, forms of assessment such as standardized testing and federal exams, remain dominant in teacher education. Thus, little was found about diversifying assessments for immigrant students. Rather, the literature focused on how to prepare immigrant students for current established assessments. Although these findings show that existing studies offer some insights on preparing teachers across all geographic locations, few studies focus on how to prepare teachers to teach immigrant students. Immigration is an ever-growing issue in the EU, Asia, and the U.S., but studies on preparing new teachers for changing demographics are less visible. Therefore, our study calls for teacher education studies that focus on who is in the classroom and how to prepare for the ever-changing demographics in global times.
Campano, G., Ghiso, M. P., & Welch, B. (2016). Partnering with immigrant communities: Action through literacy. New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Cochran-Smith, M. (2004). Walking the road: Race, diversity and social justice in teacher education. New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Connor, P. (2016). Number of refugees to Europe surges to record 1.3 million in 2015. Retrieved from http://www.pewglobal.org/2016/08/02/number-of-refugees-to-europe-surges-to-record-1-3-million-in-2015/ Culbertson, S., & Constant, L. (2015). Education of Syrian refugee children: Managing the crisis in Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan. Retrieved from https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_reports/RR800/RR859/RAND_RR859.pdf European Commission. (2013a). Supporting teacher competence development for better learning outcomes. Retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/education_culture/repository/education/policy/school/doc/teachercomp_en.pdf European Commission/EACEA/Eurydice. (2013b). Education and training in Europe 2020: Responses from the EU member states. Brussels: Eurydice. Kennedy, K. (2012). Immigration in Hong Kong: “New immigrants” and ethnic minorities. Retrieved from https://www.eduhk.hk/diversityproject/Outputs%20and%20downloads/Doc/Immigration%20and%20Hong%20Kong.pdf Lopez, G., Bialik, K., & Radford, J. (2018). Key findings about U.S. immigrants. Retrieved from http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/11/30/key-findings-about-u-s-immigrants/ OECD. (2010). Educating teachers for diversity: Meeting the challenge. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264079731-en OECD. (2016). Supporting teacher professionalism: Insights from TALIS 2013. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264248601-en Patton, M. Q. (1990). Qualitative evaluation and research methods. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications, Inc. Public Policy & Management Institute. (2017). Preparing teachers for diversity: The role of initial teacher education. Brussels: European Commission. Rong, X. L., & Preissle, J. (2009). Educating immigrant students in the 21st century: What we need to know to meet the challenge. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage/Corwin. Tarman, B., & Gürel, D. (in press). Awareness of social studies teacher candidates on refugees in Turkey. The Journal of Social Studies Research. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0885985X16300663 Turkish National Police Academy. (2017). Mass immigration and Syrians in Turkey. Retrieved from https://www.pa.edu.tr/Upload/editor/files/1-Mass%20Immigration%20and%20Syrians%20in%20Turkey-DIZGI-TASARIM.pdf UNHCR (UN Refugee Agency). (2018). Syria emergency. Retrived from https://www.unhcr.org/syria-emergency.html Yin, R. K. (2014). Case study research: Design and methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
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