Just Because They Don't Speak English Doesn't Mean They're Thick: the Integration of Asylum Seeker Pupils into White Mainstream UK Education

R. Foster, J. Groves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This article explores how asylum seeker children can benefit both socially and academically from being placed in mainstream education even in a monocultural, white environment. The research presents a case study of one school and investigates the perspectives and experiences of teaching staff, asylum seeker pupils and the school’s other pupils. The main findings are that for almost all the teachers, working with asylum seeker pupils was a new and unfamiliar challenge. Most had most strong, positive efforts to develop their understanding and skills, leading to increased confidence in their capacity to include asylum seeker pupils in lessons and thereby support the social and academic progress of these pupils. Consequently, asylum seeker pupils felt included in the school as they were being helped to develop their communication skills and were progressively able to participate as learners in lessons. The school’s other pupils were generally welcoming and supportive towards the asylum seeker pupils (notwithstanding some instances of hostility and bullying). The experience of helping and supporting asylum seeker pupils and the insights gained from the contact with pupils from different countries and cultures has provided valuable learning in what it is to be a responsible citizen.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-50
JournalCitizenship, Social and Economics Education
Volume6
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2004

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