Invitation to a LECI expert group research seminar (October 11th 2019)

Assistant Professor, Dr. Mervi Kaukko from Faculty of Education and culture, University of Tampere, Finland will give a presentation in the monthly research seminar organized by the Learning, Culture and Interventions (LECI) expert group.

Warm welcome to the monthly research seminar of our Learning, Culture and Interventions (LECI) expert group on Friday 11th of October at 9-11 AM. The seminar will be held at Siltavuorenpenger 5.A, room K108 (Minerva building). 

Assistant Professor Mervi Kaukko from Faculty of Education and Culture, University of Tampere, Finland will give a presentation.

Title: What enables refugee background students’ educational success? 'Zooming in' on the practice architectures of cross-cultural learning environments in Australia and Finland.

The discussant will be Yenny Hinostroza Paredes, Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki.

Abstract: Despite a fragmented educational history and exile-related stressors, many children from refugee backgrounds settle quickly and start to succeed educationally in their new home countries. However, these success stories are overridden by well-meaning but counterproductive deficit-discourses that position the child as a victim of barriers due to trauma, limited literacy and other gaps in education-related skills; and schools as remedial places. The aim of my research is to understand what happens when things go well for recently arrived refugee background students in their schools. Thus, while not overlooking trauma and other major issues arising from the refugee experience, my aim is to illuminate the ordinary, positive school stories that exist in multicultural learning environments in Finland and Australia, but which are seldom recounted.

In this presentation, I discuss the first phase of the study in which recently arrived, young (5-8 years of age) children from refugee background in an Australian public primary school used microcameras (GoPro) to document the ebb and flow of their everyday school lives, and to identify moments when they feel successful, considering ‘success’ open-endedly as consisting of academic and social achievements as well as other more invisible factors that make them feel positive in school. These moments will be analysed through a practice lens: What are people saying and doing? How are they relating to one another? And how do the site-specific arrangements that hold their practices in place?  ‘Zooming in’ to the selected moments will illuminate what constitutes ‘educational success’ for children from refugee backgrounds, and how the child’s experiences, occurring practices and broader practice architectures of schools are nested with one another. ‘Zooming out’ from these moments will facilitate a needed shift in theoretical and pedagogical research away from fixed categories based on marginality to an appreciation of refugee children’s individual strengths, their ways of navigating the system and the shaping of their dispositions to act in specific ways.

Bio: Mervi Kaukko is a postdoctoral researcher at Tampere Institute for Advanced Social Research and an assistant professor at Faculty of Education and Culture, Tampere. Mervi’s research interests include multicultural education, refugee background students’ education and relational wellbeing, and practice theories.

Everyone interested is very welcome to join the seminar!