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The pathways to inclusivity through schools, teachers, and students in conflict-affected settings: cases of Kenya and Lebanon

Thu, April 18, 10:00 to 11:30am, Hyatt Regency, Floor: Pacific Concourse (Level -1), Pacific L

Group Submission Type: Formal Panel Session


How do schools, teachers and students interact with and influence one another to create safe, inclusive education in conflict-affected settings?

There are 75 million school-aged children living in countries affected by conflict (Nicolai, 2016). More than 10 million children are refugees residing outside of their country of origin, most often in neighboring countries that balance fragile stability and struggle to meet the educational needs of their own citizens (Mendenhall, Russell and Buckner, 2017; Dryden-Peterson, 2016). Beyond educational disruption, conflict and natural disasters harm the psychosocial well-being and emotional development of affected children (Riggs & Davison, 2016; Betancourt & Khan, 2008; Nicolai & Triplehorn, 2003). Girls and boys face increased physical threats as conflict increases their vulnerability to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and militia recruitment (Martone, 2007). In the face of these heightened insecurities, attending school can restore a sense of normalcy and provide physical, cognitive and emotional protection for refugee youth (UNHCR, 2016; Nicolai and Triplehorn, 2003). To effectively serve as a protective tool, education must be both accessible and of high quality (Bush and Saltarelli, 2000). High quality, inclusive education is the result of complex interactions between multiple levels. At the global level, frameworks have been developed that highlight the importance of school environments, curricula, teachers, and meeting the unique needs of refugee students (INEE, 2010; Baxter & Bethke, 2009). At the national level, there have been concerted efforts to adapt, document, and implement related inclusive education frameworks (INEE, 2018). However, less is known about how these concepts and educational considerations can be implemented at the school level. This panel explores the various components of school, curricula and educational experiences - teachers, sense of belonging to school and peace education - and the ways in which these components contribute to creating safe, inclusive classrooms. The presentations draw on quantitative and qualitative studies conducted in formal and non-formal education settings in Kenya and Lebanon.

The first paper examines the role of teachers, more specifically their disciplinary practices, in creating inclusive classrooms in Kakuma refugee camp (Kenya). Through in-depth qualitative research (114 interviews), the authors explore teachers’ descriptions and justifications for their disciplinary practices as well as their motivations for changing their disciplinary approach. The article highlights the role that continuous professional development plays in making positive changes to teachers’ beliefs and practices. The findings reinforce the need to provide relevant, sustained teacher professional development opportunities, particularly in crisis contexts, to ensure students receive safe, inclusive education (Burns and Lawrie 2015). The second paper explores different factors—demographic, family and school-related factors—that influence academic motivation of refugee students in Kakuma refugee camp. In particular, this paper examines the role of students’ perceived sense of belonging in promoting or inhibiting their school motivation. A survey was conducted with 664 Grade 8 students across nine schools in Kakuma Refugee Camp on their perceptions on the factors that influence their academic motivation. OLS regression analyses revealed that overall, sense of belonging to school was the strongest predictor of students’ academic motivation. Gender and nationality were also significant predictors in both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. The third paper explores the interaction between peace education program, teacher-student relationships, and the academic outcomes of learners. It explores this through a quantitative analysis of administrative and survey data collected during 2017 and 2018 at a non-formal education program for Syrian refugees in Shatila, Lebanon. The sample includes 301 students ages 6 to 8 and 22 teachers. This panel aims to contribute to ongoing dialogue around global education goals, and the need to focus not only on access, success, and failures, but also the schooling experiences o

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