Transformation of teachers' understandings of refugee families' engagement: multilingual family mathematics spaces

Karsli-Calamak E., Tuna M. E., Allexsaht-Snider M.

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF EARLY YEARS EDUCATION, vol.28, no.2, pp.189-205, 2020 (ESCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 28 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/09669760.2020.1765093
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, EBSCO Education Source, Education Abstracts, Educational research abstracts (ERA), ERIC (Education Resources Information Center), Linguistics & Language Behavior Abstracts, Psycinfo
  • Page Numbers: pp.189-205
  • Keywords: Teacher education, refugee families, early mathematics, school guidance, early childhood education, EDUCATION
  • TED University Affiliated: Yes


Today in many countries, teachers working with children with refugee status are seeking ways to practice inclusive family engagement. In our two-year-long project, we worked with early childhood teachers serving refugee students in public schools in Turkey, which hosts the world's highest number of child refugees. Our project focused on creating equitable mathematics teaching and learning opportunities and developing a support mechanism for children, families, and teachers in four different cities. Drawing on a blend of the ecologies of parental engagement and the community cultural wealth frameworks, we explored the question of how teachers' understandings of refugee families' engagement in their children's education evolved as teachers actively participated in professional learning over two years. Our analysis of a series of interviews revealed that teachers' interactions with refugee families and children in the context of multilingual spaces we co-created made it possible for them to explore families' different forms of capital (i.e. aspirational, familial, linguistic, navigational, resistant and social). The initial notions of teachers were transformed into knowledge about families' past and current life stories with immigration histories, as well as knowledge of families' personal strengths and challenges with their various types of engagement in children's education.