In turn, Dryden-Peterson says: “In this research, we find out that through these relationships, educators can support students to overcome the exclusions they face while living as refugees, and to make what they learn relevant to their own experiences.”
The study calls for providing more training for educators on learning systems based on pedagogies of predictability and explanation. It also stresses the need to support refugees’ access to vocational programs.
Recognizing Refugees’ Needs
For her part, Mahasin Mdallaleh, a psychologist at a Lebanese school, says refugee students need to be treated with kindness, given what they went through in the conflict. They also need teachers who can understand them and can deal with their requirements.
“It is necessary to appoint Syrian teachers who can communicate with students and build good relations with them,” she added.
Mdallaleh talks about the challenges faced by Syrian students. “There is a lack of teachers, given the low wages teachers receive in the evening shift, which amounts to about $90 per month, if they ever get it,” she said. She called for more financial incentives for teachers, along with the necessary training and resources.
Those suggestions are consistent with the study’s recommendations, including the need to increase teaching hours, offer remedial education during or after regular school hours, provide language support, and make sure all students have equal access to resources and support.
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The study urges teachers to do more to get to know students as individuals by listening to their thoughts and fears, making them feel welcome, and addressing their needs. This may include translating materials to ease language barriers, simplifying some educational content, and recognizing that refugees enjoy the same rights to education as other students.
The challenge facing researchers, policy makers and educators, says Dryden-Peterson, is to create the conditions that enable all teachers to have the resources, time, and opportunities to learn how to create these kinds of relationships and to provide education to refugee students.