IMMIGRANT AND REFUGEE STUDENTS’ CHALLENGES AND TEACHERS’ PEDAGOGICAL STRATEGIES
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As Canada’s newcomer student population continues to rise and 42% of total new immigrants settle in Ontario (Canwest News Service, 2009), it becomes increasingly important to ensure that these students are adapting well and to their full potential within their host schools. The purpose of this project was two-fold: first, to review the existing literature on immigrant and refugee students’ challenges in the classroom and school community and second, to develop a teacher`s manual based on the documented challenges specific to newcomer students in the classroom, so that these teachers can be aware of these possible challenges, as well as use suggested pedagogical strategies to address these challenges. For the purposes of my project, I first investigated the challenges specific to immigrant students, followed by the challenges experienced by refugee students in the classroom and community. I then surveyed the literature to identify what the research classifies as pedagogical strategies directed towards classroom teachers who are working with these students. Findings from my review of the literature indicated that trauma, grief, and loss; learning the English language; and the intercultural experience are the three main areas of challenge for both immigrant and refugee students. Overarching educational policies, school wide practices, classroom strategeis, school-community relations, and professional development among teachers are the main themes revealed in the development of strategies for helping immigrant and refugee students overcome their educational challenges.