ERIC Number: EJ822395
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Reference Count: 26
What Is Special about Special Needs of Refugee Children?: Guidelines for Teachers
Strekalova, Ekaterina; Hoot, James L.
Multicultural Education, v16 n1 p21-24 Fall 2008
The past decade has seen a rapid growth of increasingly diverse immigrant populations in the United States--the most vulnerable among these are refugee children. Most immigrants enter a host country with a goal of improving their opportunities in life. They arrive after years of preparation, such as locating housing, securing jobs and support from the local ethnic community and/or nuclear or already established extended family. Most importantly, while preparing to move, many immigrants become somewhat familiar with the new language of the host nation. Unlike these typical immigrants, however, refugees are fleeing a history of oppression and have often experienced untold human horrors. Rather than immigrating with a goal of improving their lives, they do so simply to save their lives. Often they arrive in a strange country with their entire belongings reduced to the clothes on their bodies. On their own, they flee fear of persecution in search of refugee camps where they wait to be sent to a safe nation where they can resume their lives. Teachers in the United States are a relatively homogeneous group. The great majority are White and monolingual with very modest if any international travel experience. Moreover, they tend to come from secure, middle-class backgrounds. Their experience with the horrors of war and trauma are generally limited to watching the evening news or occasional documentaries. Given this background, it is unlikely that such teachers are prepared to respond to the specialized needs of refugee children during the most vulnerable period of those children's lives. This article alerts teachers and administrators to this problem so that they might be more likely to respond to the special needs of refugee children who arrive in their schools.
Descriptors: Cultural Background, Cultural Awareness, Refugees, Immigrants, Special Needs Students, Acculturation, Guidelines, Teacher Characteristics, Teacher Background, Administrator Role
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: Teachers; Administrators
Authoring Institution: N/A