Becoming the teacher of a refugee child: Teachers’ evolving experiences in Turkey

Elif Karsli-Calamak, Sultan Kilinc

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Anti-immigrant discourses are sweeping across the globe while forced displacement brings educational, political, economic, and social challenges in many countries. Turkey’s latest initiative is the inclusion of almost one million school-aged Syrian children into the public education system. In this research, we aim to understand the evolving experiences of teachers of Syrian refugee students in relation to inclusive education in Turkey. We conducted our fieldwork in a public school located in a disadvantaged neighbourhood of the capital city of Turkey which had a dense population of Syrian refugee students. Using a phenomenological approach, we interviewed three early childhood teachers and two Turkish as a second language teachers over a semester. Informed by a constant-comparative method, our analysis revealed that teachers’ notions around particular themes exemplify Fraser’s three-dimensional social justice framework dimensions–redistribution, recognition, and representation–and their practices are accordingly moving on a continuum of inclusivity-oriented to exclusion-oriented actions. The study contributes to creating a dialogue about inclusive education in terms of imagining new ways to support refugee children and their teachers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)259-282
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Inclusive Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2021


  • Early childhood education
  • Inclusive education
  • Syrian refugee students
  • child refugees
  • social justice
  • teacher education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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