What works in welcoming refugees in European classrooms

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An increasing number of European classrooms are welcoming Ukrainian families and their children, meaning more cultural and educational diversity in our schools. The European Toolkit for Schools offers a carefully selected set of resources for teachers, professionals, administrators, families, and policymakers, including effective practices for refugee and migrant inclusive education.

Practices for the inclusion of refugee and migrant students

The Including Children Affected by Migration (ICAM) programme  improves the learning capacity of children affected by migration and boosts the concept of ‘convivencia’ (living in harmony) in schools by raising awareness of the rights they are entitled to and by providing additional support for their social and emotional learning and well-being.

Through an online platform, teachers will find training modules with practical activity sheets like sharing sweet words or playing with noises and homework support. The programme has developed guidance, resource packs, and coaching workshops for schools across Europe to help them welcome and include Ukrainian children. ICAM creates communities of schools across Europe and provides them with the understanding and resources needed to welcome the CAM children in our classrooms.

The Interactive Groups and Dialogic Literary Gatherings practices were both developed under the framework of dialogic learning. Interactive groups are in a classroom arrangement where students are placed within small mixed groups with a facilitator that promotes interactions among students to accomplish a shared task.

The Dialogic Literary Gatherings are based on the collective, meaning construction through interactions and egalitarian dialogue between diverse people on the best creations of humanity in the literary field. Its objective is the comprehension of written texts and transforming dialogic communicative acts and quality interactions produced both in the development of higher psychological processes and the creation of thoughts, feelings, and universal values in human beings such as social justice, solidarity, friendship, and love. Check out this video as an example of how to implement them.

The INCLUD-ED book on successful educational actions gives an overview of both the Interactive Groups and the Dialogic Literary Gatherings, and many other practices that have been successful in welcoming migrant and refugee students into the classroom. The book also includes recommendations for further policy and practices.

Written resources for the inclusion of refugee and migrant students

The European Toolkit for Schools Welcoming newly arrived refugees in the classroom webinar focuses on how diversity can be a positive asset for the classroom and how the complex educational needs of migrant children can be met. The webinar features the CHILD-UP and MiCREATE projects, which both focus on the inclusion of migrants in educational institutions.

CHILD-UP aims to provide schools, social services, reception centres, education and mediation agencies, and policymakers with knowledge about dialogic methods that can support professionals working with migrant children by conducting research into the level of integration of migrant children in Europe and their social condition, with the primary aim of proposing an innovative approach to improving these conditions.

MiCREATE focuses on a child-centred approach by researching contemporary integration processes of migrant children. The aim of the project is to enhance the agency, participation, and well-being of migrant children, better assess risks, and meet the specific needs of migrant children in host societies. MiCREATE has published various reports and documentation to support teachers in integrating students into the classroom including the Multiculturalism at school handbook for teachers and the Digital Storytelling Tool.

The European Toolkit for Schools offers many more resources on refugee and migrant education, such as: