Book review by Petra van Haren: ‘Exploring the Narratives and Agency of Children with Migrant Backgrounds within Schools’.
The book has relevance for policymakers, educational leaders, researchers, academics, scholars, and faculties in the fields of sociology of education, child development, migration and multicultural studies.
This edited volume emerged from the results of the European research project ‘CHILD-UP’ which stand for: Children Hybrid Integration: Learning Dialogue as a way of Upgrading Policies of Participation. The CHILD-UP project, where ESHA was partner in, focused on mapping and overcoming integration challenges for migrant children. The project researched different levels of integration of migrant children in Europe with the primary aim of proposing an innovative approach to improve their social condition and to disseminate the project outcomes by involving relevant national and international stakeholders.
The CHILD-UP project high-lights the educational agency of children, with a particular focus on relations that migrant children have with peers and teachers. www.child-up.eu
Drawing from qualitative data and theoretical foundations, the book is about the perspectives and experiences of both the children and the professionals working with them. It explores the complex position migrant children occupy in host societies, their exercise of agency, challenges and inspirational local practices that support hybrid integration and innovative educational planning.
It also analyses the facilitation of conversations concerning children’s personal experiences and social relations, second language learning and language mediation. It shows the relevance of professional awareness and capability to respond to challenges around engagement with and integration in a host country’s school system, and the impact this integration has on peers, teachers and parents.
The book shows insights and challenges on the school’s monopoly of epistemic authority, the tension between hybrid and monolingual integration and the facilitation of children’s agency. It gives direction on how to support integration with new realities without losing cultural identity and use the natural hybridity we all possess in a multicultural society.
The book lays focus on children with migration background and their families and provides recommendations for improved professional practice in and around the eco-system where children go to school and where they grow up. It is important how the focus is on the children’s own perspectives, and which pedagogical approach and which interaction in the classroom can support the development of children’s voice and expression.
The book is part of a series that places a particular emphasis on the voices of those often marginalized in debates and policy analysis: migrant and refugee children, their families and educators across the education system.
The book was edited by Claudio Baraldi, Professor of Sociology of Cultural and Communicative, Department of Studies on Language and Culture, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy.
‘Exploring the Narratives and Agency of Children with Migrant Backgrounds within Schools’ can be read online or downloaded free of charge.