Welcoming newly arrived refugees in the classroom
- Reading time: 7 minutes
This European Toolkit for Schools webinar focused on navigating cultural diversity in the classroom and understanding the complex needs of refugee children.
06 May 2022 | Duration: 90 min
This webinar is part of the 2022 webinar series organised by the European Toolkit for Schools.
When schools and other educational institutions welcome migrants and newly arrived refugees, classrooms become more culturally diverse. Quite often, this diversity (of cultures, languages, behaviours, ways of learning and needs) goes unnoticed or it is perceived as a problem that teachers are expected to solve. If institutional support structures on how to teach in a diverse classroom are fragile, teachers tend to act in accordance with their own views and pedagogical experience. When dealing with a culturally diverse classroom, good intentions are not always enough and, rather often, pedagogical approaches that emerge from teachers’ genuine concern with their pupils ends up having detrimental effects on their learning and wellbeing. In this webinar, our speakers discussed the importance of acknowledging and, most importantly, valuing cultural diversity in the classroom, whilst tending to the complex needs of refugee children.
What was the webinar about?
Cosmin Nada, expert on diversity in education and researcher at the Centre for Research and Intervention in Education (University of Porto), approached the distinction between intercultural and monocultural teachers and highlighted the importance of adapting pedagogical practices to the needs of diverse pupils. Whille also acknowledging that all pupils are different in their own way, particularly vulnerable groups like refugee children require extra attention. Sara Amadasi, research fellow in the Department of Studies on Language and Culture, UNIMORE, and representative of the CHILD-UP project, showed how dialogic facilitation can be a tool to promote migrant children’s participation in the classroom and to enhance conditions of hybrid integration, which concerns all children. Mateja Sedmak and Barbara Gornik, from the Science and Research Centre of Koper and representatives of the Mcreate project, presented the project’s main findings and recommendations, together with a series of practical and concrete tools that teachers can use in the process of welcoming refugee children and teaching in diverse classrooms.
Cosmin Ionut Nada a European PhD in Educational Sciences, and is FCT-funded Research Fellow at the Centre for Research and Intervention in Education at University of Porto. Cosmin’s research expertise and interests are linked to: migration, diversity and inclusion in education, early school leaving, social justice, educational policies, and multicultural learning. He is currently Administrative Coordinator of NESET and member of the Editorial Board of the European Toolkit for Schools, where he provides advice to the European Commission on how to promote inclusive education.
Sara Amadasi is research fellow in the Department of Studies on Language and Culture, at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. Her research interests concern the promotion of children’s participation, intercultural communication and transnational migrations. Together with Professor Adrian Holliday, she is the author of the book ‘Making Sense of the Intercultural. Finding DeCentred Threads’, Routledge.
Mateja Sedmak, PhD in Sociology, is Principal Research Associate and the Head of the Institute for Social Sciences at the Science and Research Centre Koper. Her research interests include ethnic and intercultural studies, migration, management of cultural diversity, and topics in sociology of everyday life and sociology of the family. She is the Head of the Section for Intercultural Studies at Slovenian Sociological Society (SSD) and the leader of many national and international projects, including the MiCREATE project - Migrant Children and Communities and A Transforming Europe, funded by the Research and Innovation Grant Scheme, Horizon 2020 program.
Barbara Gornik is a Research Associate at the Science and Research Centre of Koper. Her research interests are migration, nationalism and human rights, which she studies using the anthropology of human rights and discourse theory as basic theoretical standpoints to explain the implementation and interpretation of human rights as an effect of knowledge and power relations. She works as an academic co-coordinator of the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Action 'Migrant Children and Communities in a Transforming Europe' (MiCREATE). Barbara Gornik has published work dealing with asylum, refugees, migrant children, international human rights law, Erased residents of Slovenia, governmentality and anthropology of human rights.
Teresa Sordé Martí has a PhD from Harvard University and is a Serra Húnter Associate Professor of Sociology at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, specialised in social inclusion. She is also on the editorial board of our European Toolkit for Schools.