Narrative interviews and participatory methods for researching immigrant children´s educational experiences
Centre for Educational Sociology University of Edinburgh Scotland, UK,
The proposed paper discusses and exemplifies how "ethnographic research methods" can shed light on educational processes framed by the post-enlargement European society. It is based on the research within Marie Curie Project on the recently arrived Polish population in Scotland. The situation with Polish immigrants in Scotland may well be new-not only in that they are entering a space with very few minority population members, but also in that they may not be looking to 'settle' but to create an existence in which they are partly settled (through work and schooling) but remain culturally attached to the 'homeland'. This 'in-between' identity creates new challenges to policy-makers in Scotland, and especially to schooling, which is, in any case, not well equipped to respond to the specific needs of children of Polish origin. The exploration of migrant experiences through narrative interviews with migrants children - using participatory methods (and their parents), participant observation and informal discussions in home, school and community life context, along with investigation of teacher and education policy-makers attitudes and experiences (in depth interviews) can help us understand if educational institutions are responsive to that or continuing to assume that the dominant (Scottish) culture can be produced and reproduced in schooling for these populations. The research seek to define the forms of interaction between schools and families; the extent to which language is an issue and strategies for meeting language needs-in general, the extent to which schooling practices are or are not being adapted to meet the needs of migrant children and to establish the extent to which those children/young people are successfully negotiating the interface between family and school.