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‘It felt like i was a black dot on white paper’: examining young former refugees’ experience of entering Australian high schools

Abstract

Schools are often the first point of contact for young refugees resettling in Australia and play a significant role in establishing meaningful connections to Australian society and a sense of belonging in Australia (Olliff in Settling in: How do refugee young people fair within Australia’s settlement system? Centre for Multicultural Youth Issues, Melbourne. http//:www.cmyi.net.au/ResearchandPolicy. Accessed 21 June 2010, 2007; Gifford et al. in: Good Starts for recently arrived youth with refugee backgrounds: Promoting wellbeing in the first three years of settlement in Melbourne, Australia. Melbourne: La Trobe Refugee Research Centre. http://www.latrobe.edu.au/larrc/documents-larrc/reports/report-good-starts.pdf. Accessed 4 June 2011, 2009; Sidhu and Taylor in: Educational provision for refugee youth in Australia: Left to chance? Journal of Sociology, 43(3), 283–300, 2007). However, too little is known of how refugee youth encounter school in their new country. This article draws upon individual narratives of young former refugee’s experiences of high schools. It explores the stories told by the young people of being identified as different and of negotiating ways of belonging in schools both academically and socially. It argues that it is how the school positions the newly arrived refugee students within mainstream school culture that opens up or restricts opportunities for inclusion in all aspects of school (in culture and pedagogy).

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Correspondence to Jonnell Uptin.

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Uptin, J., Wright, J. & Harwood, V. ‘It felt like i was a black dot on white paper’: examining young former refugees’ experience of entering Australian high schools. Aust. Educ. Res. 40, 125–137 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13384-012-0082-8

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13384-012-0082-8

Keywords

  • Former refugee
  • Australia
  • Belong
  • High schools
  • Difference