The role of special programmes
Practices in the classroom, as in other contexts in which refugee children are positioned, are appropriately viewed as not detached, but as a microcosm of wider social and political currents. While discourses on assimilation and integration impinge on the teaching of refugee children, a range of discourses that are more specifically linked to refugee children powerfully influence teaching. These act as a framework or a lens through which refugee children are viewed as having particular needs for services to respond to. They are routinely embedded in policy directives that provide the context for working directly with refugee children and, at a micro level, represented by teachers within the school setting. As Popkewitz and Brennan argue in a significant contribution to educational theory,
speech is ordered through principles of classification that are socially formed through a myriad of historical practices. When teachers talk about school as management, teaching as the production of learning, or children as being ‘atrisk’, these terms are not merely the personal words of the teacher, but are produced in the context of historically constructed ‘ways of reasoning’.