Teaching and Learning in Refugee/(Im)Migrant Communities Around the World

A special issue of Social Sciences (ISSN 2076-0760). This special issue belongs to the section "International Migration".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2024 | Viewed by 5207

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Division of Educational Leadership & Innovation, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, Farmer Education Bldg. #402N, Arizona State University, 1050 S Forest Mall, Tempe, AZ 85281, USA
Interests: refugee/(im)migrant education; ethnography; anthropology of education; critical education policy; Actor-Network Theory

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Worldwide, there exists an estimated 103 million forcibly displaced people, who are part of a broader grouping of “refugees/(im)migrants”, a term that indicates the complex social construction of migrants. Of those forcibly displaced, 41% are children and nearly 27.1 million are formally recognized as refugees under the UNHCR definition: People who are “unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion”. Nearly half of these refugees are under the age of 18. Despite significant gains in recent years, access to education within host countries can be challenging, and UNHCR estimates that at least 3.7 million refugee children were out of school prior to COVID-19 related school closures; refugee children are five times more likely than their non-refugee peers to be out of school. In host countries around the world, refugee students attend schools, and both adult and youth refugees engage in learning and teaching outside of schools—in job training centers, at community organizations, through resettlement agencies, and informally across refugee networks. Some create their own learning and teaching spaces.

This Special Issue will bring together different empirical research, conceptualizations, and expertise in multiple and varied forms of learning and teaching in refugee/(im)migrant communities. It will situate refugees to include those legally designated as refugees by the UNHCR, asylum seekers, internally displaced persons, and migrants who self-identify as refugees to show the complexities and multiplicities of migrant categorizations and experiences. Furthermore, while there is a small, but growing body of research on refugees/(im)migrants’ experiences in formal schooling and schooling in refugee camps, this issue will bring much needed attention to educational contexts outside of schooling. While potentially illuminating the challenges of refugee/(im)migrant education, individual pieces will focus on the ways in which these challenges are met, negotiated, resisted, and undone. In the aggregate, and in conversation with one another, the papers will push back against deficit framing of refugee/(im)migrant educational needs to demonstrate the ways in which refugee/(im)migrants learn, share knowledge, and educate themselves and others. The Special Issue will address the broad question: In what ways, with whom, and where do refugee/(im)migrants teach and learn?

Possible topics include, but are in no way limited to:

  • Activism and advocacy as learning and teaching with/by refugees/(im)migrants;
  • Critical refugee studies in education;
  • Education in refugee/(im)migrant organizations;
  • Experiential learning as refugees/(im)migrants negotiate new institutions, policies, and norms;
  • Heritage language education;
  • Intersections of adult and youth refugee/(immigrant) education;
  • Limited/lack of access to formal schooling;
  • Organizing and knowledge sharing in refugee/(im)migrant communities;
  • Racializing refugees/(im)migrants in education;
  • Refusing to learn in formal schooling contexts and the creation of new learning spaces.

Prof. Dr. Jill Koyama
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • refugees
  • immigrants
  • education
  • community
  • critical refugee studies

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

19 pages, 339 KiB  
Article
Learning in Transit: Crossing Borders, Waiting, and Waiting to Cross
by Michelle J. Bellino and Maxie Gluckman
Soc. Sci. 2024, 13(2), 121; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci13020121 - 17 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1177
Abstract
Recent U.S. policy changes have contributed to longer waiting periods for migrant families in Mexican border cities. This study centers on four Honduran families enrolled in the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) policy, also referred to as ‘Remain in Mexico,’ while undergoing prolonged waiting [...] Read more.
Recent U.S. policy changes have contributed to longer waiting periods for migrant families in Mexican border cities. This study centers on four Honduran families enrolled in the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) policy, also referred to as ‘Remain in Mexico,’ while undergoing prolonged waiting periods in the Mexican border town of Monterrey, Nuevo Léon. Centering on young people’s voices, we ask what they learn during this prolonged period of transit. Through ethnographic and digital participatory storytelling interviews, we illustrate how children learned about the politics of border crossing through fraught interactions with im/migration officials, prolonged periods of immobility, and evolving understandings of legality. Building on theories of ‘border thinking’ and ‘politicized funds of knowledge,’ we highlight ways that young people employed their evolving understandings of national borders and the legal contours of their transborder asylum process, while protecting themselves and their families from danger and discrimination. We argue that transit is not simply time that young people are forced to endure; rather, the experience of forced transit is constitutive of young people’s learning about state power and their evolving understanding of borders, rights, and belonging. Full article
15 pages, 257 KiB  
Article
Transformational Leadership Qualities of Effective Grassroots Refugee-Led Organizations
by Eugene Judson, Meseret F. Hailu and Nalini Chhetri
Soc. Sci. 2024, 13(2), 103; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci13020103 - 8 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1279
Abstract
This qualitative study investigates the behaviors and strategies of effective leadership teams within ethnic community-based organizations (ECBOs) operating in the United States that consist of leaders who are themselves former refugees. Through analysis of four focus group interviews, each with three to five [...] Read more.
This qualitative study investigates the behaviors and strategies of effective leadership teams within ethnic community-based organizations (ECBOs) operating in the United States that consist of leaders who are themselves former refugees. Through analysis of four focus group interviews, each with three to five leaders from local Bhutanese, Burundian, Congolese, and Syrian communities, we identified ways in which these leaders exhibit transformational leadership behaviors proposed by established frameworks. Results reveal that effective ECBO leaders exhibit strong transformational leadership qualities, such as empowering community members, modeling behavior, and projecting a community vision. The study emphasizes the unique context of ECBOs and their leaders, showcasing their thoughtfulness, competency, and profound awareness of community members’ backgrounds. The implications include recognizing and valuing the skills of ECBO leaders and considering formal support mechanisms. This study contributes insights into the leadership exhibited within local community organizations serving refugee populations—enhancing our understanding of quality leadership among grassroots refugee organizations. Full article
16 pages, 565 KiB  
Article
Refugee and Immigrant Youth Leaders: Strengths, Futurity, and Commitment to Community
by Jane Pak, Jyoti Gurung and Amy Argenal
Soc. Sci. 2023, 12(11), 640; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci12110640 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1425
Abstract
This study explored the Youth Leadership/Peer Tutoring program at Refugee and Immigrant Transitions (RIT), a community-based non-profit organization in Northern California. It includes 12 semi-structured interviews with refugee and immigrant youth leaders. Bringing together works on Community Cultural Wealth (with the addition of [...] Read more.
This study explored the Youth Leadership/Peer Tutoring program at Refugee and Immigrant Transitions (RIT), a community-based non-profit organization in Northern California. It includes 12 semi-structured interviews with refugee and immigrant youth leaders. Bringing together works on Community Cultural Wealth (with the addition of Migration Capital) and Critical Refugee Studies collectively as a conceptual framework, this study highlights three themes: (a) commitment to community, family, and giving back; (b) encouraging communication and cultivating a pan-newcomer community; and (c) leadership as commitment to community and positive, collective futurities. Data support a strengths-based framework when working with refugee and immigrant youth as they transition and adjust to their new school environments and communities. All 12 participants were refugee and immigrant newcomer youth who participated as youth leaders/peer tutors in RIT’s Youth Leaders/Peer Tutoring program. Countries of origin included Burma (Karen), Bhutan, Nepal, China, and El Salvador. As scholars and practitioners in the field, we are seeing an increased need and demand for more scholarship in this area through a strengths-based lens, as evidenced by calls from educators and school/district administrators requesting support and resources. We submit this article at a time of growing numbers of immigrant and refugee youth in schools in the United States, including non-diverse school environments that are unprepared (and sometimes unwilling) to receive newcomer youth. Our hope is for this study to reveal possibilities for extending welcome and mutual support through a strengths-based lens within diverse newcomer peer learning environments. Full article
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