Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Educational Experiences of Refugee Children in Countries of First Asylum

In The Educational Experiences of Refugee Children in Countries of First Asylum, researcher Sarah Dryden-Peterson draws upon her field-based case studies involving refugee children in Bangladesh, Burundi, Egypt, Kenya, Malaysia, and Uganda to examine how pre-resettlement educational experiences can affect how children encounter school and the relationships they form with their teachers and peers.

As Dryden-Peterson notes, refugee students often have gaps in their skills and knowledge, which U.S. teachers and school staff may misinterpret as lack of aptitude. Recognizing refugees’ past experiences may help teachers identify strategies to overcome these gaps and better engage refugee children in school.  These strategies include identifying educational needs based on prior exposure
to academic content, teaching children how to ask questions in the classroom, and helping them develop a positive ethnic and cultural identity to buffer the effects of discrimination.

The report is the third in a series, supported through a research grant from the Foundation for Child Development, on young children in refugee families.  Earlier reports examined the effects of school disruptions and trauma on Syrian children in refugee camps in Turkey, as well as experiences of Somali Bantu refugee children after their enrollment in a Chicago elementary school. At 2:30 p.m. ET today, MPI will host a webinar with the authors of all three reports.



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