Navigational Capacities for Unknowable Futures: What Refugee Students Wish Their Teachers Knew

22nd February 2021 : 17:00 - 18:00

Category: Public Seminar

Speaker: Associate Professor Sarah Dryden-Peterson

Location: Online - Zoom

Audience: Public


Refugee children confront an “unknowable” future, unable to confidently predict where their futures will be in the long-term. Rarely does education in exile prepare refugee children to adequately navigate this unknowable future. Refugee education is most often tethered to state-based education systems that are geographically bound and is consequently unable to provide refugee children with transferable skills they will need to lead productive futures anywhere, regardless of geography. Drawing on in-depth interviews with ninth grade Syrian refugee children in public and private schools in Lebanon, we describe the ways young children desire their education to develop the navigational capacities for these unknowable futures. We analyze our data through four lenses in particular: formal and hidden curriculum in classrooms; pedagogy; relationships in and beyond school; and, learning experiences in and outside of school. The findings from this study are immediately relevant to education actors, particularly teachers, as they make decisions in the present about education that can best prepare their students for the future.

About the Speaker

Sarah Dryden-Peterson is Associate Professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Director of Refugee REACH, bringing together educators, researchers, and policymakers in co-creating quality education and welcoming communities in settings of mass displacement. She teaches courses on qualitative research methods, education in armed conflict, and education in uncertainty.