The Role of Teachers in the Integration Processes of Refugees: A Critical View on Teacher-Training Policies

Conference: The European Conference on Education (ECE2022)
Title: The Role of Teachers in the Integration Processes of Refugees: A Critical View on Teacher-Training Policies
Stream: Teaching Experiences, Pedagogy, Practice & Praxis
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation
Sarra Boukhari, University of Bath, United Kingdom


This paper will consider the impact of teacher training on refugee education in host countries' national schools. In 2012, the UNHCR introduced a national inclusion policy for refugees in national schools of host countries. The intention here was to increase accessibility and sustainability in the education of refugee children (Bellino and Dryden-Peterson, 2018). This process also entailed training teachers to adapt to refugee students’ educational needs. I explore this in the context of Algeria as one of the countries that adopted and integrated this policy into national schools which welcome sub-Saharan refugees. The evidence was informed by two phases of qualitative research. The first phase entailed semi-structured interviews with teachers to explore their understanding of the refugee students’ integration and the second phase implemented participatory methodologies with children using storytelling to reflect on their own integration experiences. The findings highlight the role of teachers in either facilitating or hindering the process of integration for refugee students. The integration process according to Korac (2003) is a process that demands efforts from both parties involved; it involves refugees and host societies to cultivate an enabling environment. The study found teachers’ national identity has a direct impact on both the learning and the integration of refugee children. The colour-blindness policy (Bonilla-Silva, 2003) adopted by the host educational institutions and teachers proved to limit integrational possibilities. Furthermore, the refugee students perceived this policy from a racist and afro-phobic point of view.

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