The Refugee Child in the B.C. Classroom
Presentation: Negar Khodarahmi, Laurie Ford
Session C | 10:05 – 10:45 | Location: Room 308
In response to the current Syrian refugee crisis, Canada has resettled 40,081 refugees since November 2015, nearly 17,000 of which have been resettled in British Columbia (B.C.). Of significance, 60% of these refugees were under 18 years of age (Citizenship and Immigration Canada, 2016). As these children enroll into B.C. schools they pose a variety of different levels of challenges to schools and teachers including severe emotional, cognitive, and psychological behavior challenges, and in some cases, Post-‐traumatic Stress Disorder (Price et al., 2012). Although research in has established the positive effects of teacher-‐led interventions (Berger, Gelkopf, & Heineberg, 2012; Wolmer, Hamiel, & Barchas, 2011) many teachers do not feel competent in their abilities and training in providing optimal support for successful integration
(Alisic, 2012; Alisic, Bus, Dulack, Pennings, & Splinter, 2012; Szente, Hoot, & Taylor, 2006). To date, few studies have addressed ECE teachers’ role in providing trauma support and. More research is needed to help give teachers the tools to provide effective and successful support to their refugee students. To address this population’s unique needs, the implementation of trauma-‐informed interventions and strength-‐based approaches in school classrooms is crucial (Dorado, Martinez, McArthur, & Leibovitz, 2016; Paccione-‐Dyszlewski, 2016; Phifer & Hull, 2016). The goal of this group session is to introduce participants, through a formal presentation, to the trauma-‐informed classroom and strength-‐based approaches to learning. This will be followed by a discussion guided by the following questions: What do B.C. ECE Teachers’ perceive as gaps in their education that is crucial in helping them better acquire the skills needed to work within a trauma-‐informed framework for refugee students? What resources, if any, have been provided to them in terms of preparing them for this influx of refugee students? For those with experience working with trauma-‐exposed children, what approaches have been most useful in providing optimal support? What supports do teachers feel are necessary for them to be able to balance their work with refugee and non-‐refugee students as well as prevent any emotional or physical burnout?
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