Schooling and settlement: Refugee education in Australia
Matthews, J M
Schools are a stabilising feature in the unsettled lives of refugee students. They provide safe spaces for new encounters, interactions and learning opportunities. They also deliver literacy, the key to educational success, post-school options, life choices, social participation and settlement. Currently Australian schools are poorly funded and ill-equipped to provide effective English as a Second Language teaching and support. A new cohort of refugee students mainly from Africa and the Middle East are struggling. This article discusses the importance of educational interventions that keep in mind both the immediacy of ‘what is happening now’ and broader post-colonial conditions. It identifies the limits of piecemeal partnership interventions and the domination of psychological approaches that individualise the issues and overemphasise pre-displacement conditions of trauma. Such approaches disregard the socio-political conditions of post-displacement and issues of racialisation, acculturation and resilience. The article argues for good practice approaches to schooling and settlement that involve whole-school accounting for organisational processes and structures, policy, procedure, pedagogy and curricula.
International Studies in Sociology of Education / Vol. 18, No. 1, pp.31-45