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Friday, February 10 • 13:45 - 14:45
Reconceptualizing education for refugee learners in Alberta classrooms

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Educational institutions in Alberta are comprised of diverse students. Students in classrooms are from various cultural, social, religious and economic backgrounds. In addition, students arrive in Alberta through different means. Alberta’s learning institutions have traditionally welcomed refugee learners, placing them among all other students. However, due to global geo-politics, the number of refugees globally has risen sharply and in turn Alberta has been settling larger number of refugee populations and learners. In 2016, one quarter of students in Alberta’s schools were classified as English language learners. While the underlying commonality among these students is the goal to acquire English language skills, it is important to be mindful that each of these students has different educational, historical, cultural and economic backgrounds. According to Household National Survey, immigrant youth have better education outcomes. However, this statistic grossly misrepresents the educational outcome of refugee and early English language learners within Alberta’s school. According to scholars (Kanu, 2007; Lund, 2008; Roessingh & Field, 2000), the drop out rate among beginning ELL learners in Alberta’s high schools is 60-95%. Further, due to an inability to develop a sense of belonging and experience success in their new home country, they become marginalized and can fall prey to the gang and criminal organizations (Rossiter & Rossiter, 2009). Research indicates that one reason for refugee youth becoming dis-engaged in the school system is because their presence as a distinct group was not recognized within the school system. Further, the most common discourse around refugee learners in learning institutions has been the psychological and trauma discourse. While, it is essential to recognize the trauma that refugee learners have experienced and continue to experience, defining the rich and holistic experiences of these students solely on the basis of their psychology only leads to further labelling these learners. Labelling based on deficit models isolates refugee youth from their mainstream counterparts, learning experiences and opportunities in educational settings. This workshop discusses meaningful strategies adopted by various learning institutions as well as recommendations by researchers and practitioners to enhance the integration of newcomers in a meaningful way into their new home country.


Neda Asadi

Global Education Team Coordinator, Centre for Global Citizenship Education & Research
Neda Asadi a PhD Candidate in the Department of Educational Policy Studies, Faculty of Education, University of Alberta. She is interested in the topics of education, international politics, and health as they relate to marginalized populations and in particular those marginalized... Read More →
avatar for Michelle Hawks

Michelle Hawks

Global Education Team Coordinator, Centre for Global Citizenship Education & Research
Michelle Hawks is a doctoral student in Educational Policy Studies at the University of Alberta, and the Global Education Team (GET) Coordinator for the Centre for Global Citizenship Education and Research (CGCER). She trained as a math teacher in the US, has experience working with... Read More →
avatar for Michelle Hawks

Michelle Hawks

Global Education Team Coordinator, University of Alberta
Global citizenship education scholarship critically deals with all aspects of social, educational, cultural, political and economic development of societies. With a vision to create a comprehensive understanding of the research and dissemination of global citizenship education project... Read More →

Friday February 10, 2017 13:45 - 14:45
Shaw CC: Salon 15/16 9797 Jasper Ave
  • Room Details Workshop Max Capacity - 48
  • Grade Focus General
  • Tags English

Attendees (26)