Teaching L2 for students with a refugee/migrant background in Greece
Teachers’ perceptions about reception, integration and multicultural identities
Keywords:refugee/migrant education, intercultural education, teaching L2
Refugee education has been an important challenge for the Greek educational system and for the teaching community. New supporting structures (i.e., Reception Facilities for Refugee Education [RFRE]), operating after the end of the regular school day, have been created to enable newcomers living in Refugee Accommodation Centers to learn (mainly) Greek as a second language before accessing the mainstream school program. On the other hand, refugee students living in urban locations are enrolled in mainstream classes with or without the support of parallel Reception Classes (RC). Most of the educators teaching refugee children, and particularly these working on RFREs, did not have any relevant previous experience or specialization and, at the same time, they received minimum support in training or professional development.
This paper is based on a qualitative research focusing on perceptions, attitudes and practices of primary and secondary school teachers in relation to refugee students’ second language learning and integration into Greek public schools. Interviews were conducted with 60 teachers in RFREs, RCs, and mainstream classes, including Intercultural Schools. Despite the difficulties they faced, many teachers seemed to move towards a positive understanding of their students’ multiple identities, focusing not only on L2 acquisition and competency building, but also on empowerment and the development of a mutual intercultural understanding. Students’ resilience and efforts helped their teachers deal with stereotypes about identity and otherness and reformulate their assumptions about effective teaching practices. These experiences seemed to lead some of the educators to a deeper critical reflection; they also lead to the development of teachers’ intercultural competence and facilitated a “crossing borders” transformative process.
Copyright (c) 2020 Kostas Magos, Giorgos Simopoulos
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).