Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
RN35_01b_P: A Global Discussion about Migration, Integration, Identity and Education I
Wednesday, 30/Aug/2017:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Cinzia Pica-Smith, Assumption College
Session Chair: Rina Manuela Contini, University of Chieti-Pescara
Session Chair: Gabriele Di Francesco, "G. d'Annunzio" University - Chieti-Pescara
Location: PC.3.20
PANTEION University of Social & Political Sciences 136 Syggrou Avenue 17671 Athens, Greece Building: C, Level: 3.

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Breaking Down the Walls of Sheltered English Immersion Through Translanguaging

Elizabeth A. Robinson1, Tian Zhongfeng2, Aybahar Qarqeen1

1Suffolk University, United States of America; 2Boston College, United States of America

This exploration of translanguaging takes place in unprecedented times in the United States. The new president has signed executive orders discriminating against immigrants and refugees, most notably Muslims, by harshly restricting their travel to the United States. It has never been more important than now to bring the stories, experiences and languages of all the people who make up this country into our classrooms. As academics, teachers, and students, our study aims to explore the pedagogical and theoretical implications of implementing translanguaging in an undergraduate course originally designed as an Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) course. Translanguaging differs from SEI in important ways. Instead of focusing on English-only instruction, translanguaging centers on the natural communicative practices of bilinguals. It acknowledges their language resources and creates a safe space for them to strategically draw upon any linguistic features from their linguistic repertoires to acquire, understand, and demonstrate their knowledge. Through multilingual/multimodal resources, positioning teacher as co-learner, and scaffolding, translanguaging facilitates students’ understanding of new language and content. These practices support the development of bi/multi-lingualism and bi/multi-literacy, but also have the transformative power to challenge the hegemony of English. The questions we ask are: How does teaching translanguaging in a TESOL Certificate course impact learning and teaching?

1. How does purposefully shifting comfort levels through translanguaging impact teachers and students’ perspectives of language and culture?

2. How does translanguaging transform pedagogy based in SEI and traditional monolingual approaches to language learning?

3. How do students implement translanguaging as pedagogy to work with international students?

Implications from this study will be used to inform new socially just practices desperately needed in the current social and political context.

Migrations, intergroup friendships, cultural and social integration

Gabriele Di Francesco1, Cinzia Pica Smith2, Rina Manuela Contini1

1quot;G. d'Annunzio" University - Chieti-Pescara, Italy; 2Assumption College - Worcester, MA, U.S.A

Globalization and transnational migration are creating an increasingly multicultural social context all over the globe and in Italy. Communities and, therefore, schools are increasingly multilingual, multiracial, multiethnic and religiously diverse spaces. Therefore, helping youth create and maintain intergroup friendships is more important than ever as they have been proven to decrease prejudice and increase social/cultural competence/skills: skills young people will need to succeed in this diverse social/economic context. Hence, the proposal introduces intergroup friendship literature in the Italian context. First we ask what does the Italian school already offer to support this goal of this area of social emotional development? The proposal addresses the mission and goals of intercultural education, and how these are supported by institutional policies and practice. Further, the proposal discusses the tradition of creating connected spaces for young children in the primary grades, and connects this tradition to intergroup contact theory and research or intergroup friensdhips. The proposal builds an argument for creating initiatives that promote intercultural connections and relationships in schools and beyond the school context. Lastly, the paper discusses findings related to a reserch study conducted in Italy on cultural and social integration.

Enacting Scripts Before Solidarity: Asylum System in a Transit Country

Dunja Poleti Cosic, Tamara Petrovic Trifunovic

Faculty of Philosophy – University of Belgrade, Serbia

In this paper, we examine the asylum system in Serbia, being a transit country on the so-called Balkan route, since its initiation in 2008 until today. The construction of an independent asylum system in Serbia was initiated within the process of Serbia’s ascension to the EU; therefore it has largely been harmonized with the EU legislative. Our primary goal is to identify the causes of unsatisfactory performance of the system by exploring the relations between three levels of research: 1) strategic and legal framework, 2) institutional level and 3) real migration practices of the asylum seekers. Findings of the qualitative research “Enhancing Access to Education and Preventing Gender-based Violence of Asylum Children in Serbia” and other reports indicate that strategic level, while overly vague, is more adjusted to the perspective of the host countries within EU than to that of the transit countries. This is reflected on the institutional level too, while none of the two has been taking into account the real needs of refugees, particularly during the „refugee crisis“ when the system became unresponsive, if not completely inapplicable. In accordance with the new institutionalist analyses of the policy imitation and diffusion in a world society which produces decoupling between intentions and results (Meyer et al. 1997), we show how copying world models to establish legitimacy among peer states without considering contextual factors can lead to inefficient system inside which institutional actors enact unadjusted scripts instead of providing substantial support, protection and integration to asylum seekers.

Keywords: Serbia, asylum system, transit countries, world society theory

Challenging stereotypes: How participation in education can promote valued ethnic identities

Berenice Scandone

University of Bath, United Kingdom

Ethnic identity is known to be crucial to the definition of one’s self-concept and well-being. Holding a positive image of one’s ethnic ‘group’ acts for young people as a buffer against discrimination and other stressors, and facilitates academic ‘achievement’. Yet, minority ethnics often suffer from the imposition of stereotypes, which are likely to be internalised and have a strong impact on both well-being and the capacity to achieve educationally and in employment. This presentation draws on interviews conducted with 21 British-born young women of Bangladeshi ethnicity attending university, to show how participation in education can contribute to the shaping of ethnic identification. Acquisition of social and cultural capital through higher education, in particular, appears to encourage a ‘re‐claiming’ of ethnic and religious identities, both by raising awareness of structural inequalities, and by favouring exposure to new, and valued, interpretative frameworks of ‘what it means to be Bengali / Muslim’. This suggests the potential value of initiatives and discourses directed at exposing the structural factors underlying individual’s and group’s differential socio‐economic positionings, and at getting those within as well as outside the ethnic ‘group’ to engage with ‘positive’ interpretative repertoires of minority ethnicities. I additionally consider the importance of exposing students to examples of involvement of traditionally underrepresented categories in different areas and levels of employment, in order to expand their capacity to see themselves as potentially pursuing certain education and employment routes by challenging perceptions of what people of a given ethnicity ‘do’ or ‘do not do’.

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