Overcoming the ‘hidden injuries’ of students from refugee backgrounds: the importance of caring teacher-student relationships

Primary education Multicultural education Refugee children Students Child mental health Behavioural economics Culturally responsive teaching South Australia Australia Africa

The schooling experiences of refugee background students prior to being resettled in Australia significantly shape their transitions into Australian schools. This chapter presents a case study of six young people from Sudanese refugee backgrounds. With a focus on discipline and student-teacher relationships, I argue that the previous ‘hidden injuries of schooling’  experienced by the students continued to shape their experiences of school in Australia. I suggest that the students’ experiences of corporal punishment and authoritarian teachers at schools in Africa resulted in ‘hidden injuries of schooling’ that need to be acknowledged and understood to enable the students to adjust to, and succeed at schooling in Australia. The students’ experiences of positive teacher-student relationships in Australia resulted in an improved sense of security, care and belonging which enabled them to overcome these ‘hidden injuries’.

Publication Details
Source title:
Challenging Dominant Views on Student Behaviour at School