00 SES 06 A, Between One World And The Next: New Strategies For Improving Refugee Education In A Post-Covid Era
As the Indian writer Arundhati Roy has recently noted “Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next.” The pandemic has helped us understand how much education is a precious, and vulnerable, part of our life. Learning about the experience of refugees and the role that education can play in their lives allows us to better understand how the vulnerability is also an opportunity to develop a different approach to education, as a chance to 'love the world enough to take responsibility for it' (Arendt, 1968). The session has been inspired by the EERA conference theme, which calls for a more equitable, diverse, and transparent educational polity as a crucial step in developing a stronger sense of citizenship in Europe. Accepting the invitation to consider the present moment as a gateway between one world and the next, there is an urgent need to take seriously the potential of education to recalibrate, rather than augment, crisis narratives, whether they refer to viruses or refugees. Evidence from countries with extensive experience with refugee education shows that the ability of schools to provide immediate and appropriate support is pivotal in favouring a smooth accommodation process and ensuring safety, security, and settlement for children. To this end, teachers play a key role in coordinating all efforts aimed at guaranteeing the effective enrolment and transition of refugee youths. This entails school practitioners acquiring a broader awareness of how children experience high mobility, displacement, replacement, dealing with a new language and culture, enduring poor housing and health problems, and facing changes in family relationships. This poses a professional challenge for teachers’ education and continuous professional development, as both future and in-service teachers need to receive specific training and continual professional development to cope with the new tasks involved in refugee education. Taking a cue from the first results achieved by the European project ITIRE, the session will provide a space for exploring some relevant research questions related to the field of refugee education in Europe and beyond:
- The current state of the art of RE research;
- The role of international good practices in developing RE;
- Mapping the quality of RE through indicator systems;
- Designing and implementing teachers’ training on RE;
- Making research on RE sustainable through dissemination and networking.
The session is organised as an interactive meeting with short presentations, followed by facilitated group discussions and reflections. In the concluding part, the general and specific challenges identified in relation to the above questions will be reviewed and their implications for potential future joint research of the participants discussed.
Open to all conference participants, the session will especially welcome researchers from NW01 (Professional Learning and Development), NW04 (Inclusive Education), NW07 (Social Justice and Intercultural Education), NW10 (Teacher Education), NW20 (Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments) and NW25 (Children's Rights in Education).
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