Social Integration of Migrants in Schools

Skills for Bullying Prevention and Positive Social Relationships

Joint Focal Meeting InZentIM and COST CA18115 (TRIBES)

The Joint Focal Meeting of InZentIM and COST CA18115 “Transnational Collaboration on Bullying, Migration, and Integration at School Level” aims to map the field regarding the interrelations between bullying, migration, and integration at the school and classroom level. The Meeting takes place on February 18/19, 2021. It is hosted by the Interdisciplinary Center for Integration and Migration Research (InZentIM) at the University of Duisburg-Essen (see Conference Homepage).

The COST Action works “towards ensuring integration, reducing bullying/enhancing the safety/wellbeing of refugee/migrant students, and all students in EU secondary schools, aiding in the social stability of both the individual/society” (Memorandum of Understanding, COST 2018, p. 2.). Against this backdrop InZentIM, with its established expertise in migration and integration research, will provide the Action Members and Working Groups a broader embedding into research on migration and integration in educational contexts. The following two questions lie at the heart of the meeting: How do migration and acculturation processes impact the socio-psychological dynamics within classrooms? And how can schools and communities be supported in fostering a positive, safe, and inclusive culture and climate?

160 attendees from 31 countries contributed to a vivid exchange in the context of keynote lectures and various session formats. Keynotes by Dr. Georg Lorenz and Prof. Elena Makarova offered in-depth insights into processes of social and structural integration (Lorenz) and acculturation (Makarova) in school and their meaning for school social relationships. Against this backdrop, Prof. Dagmar Strohmeier offered a systematic analysis of research and key findings on school bullying related to migration in a multicultural context. Prof. Sameer Hinduja presented the state-of-the-art of cyberbullying research and showed how schools and educational institutions can better serve outsider/marginalized youth.

Practice-related sessions offered insights into programs and initiatives to counteract bullying and discrimination in varying educational settings. Examples are the “Literature Opera Cologne”, a theatre training project for pupils from high-risk schools, or a Gypsy, Roma and Traveller antibullying project delivered by the Anti-Bullying Alliance (UK). The complementary approaches and viewpoints presented provided a sound basis for inter- and transdisciplinary discourses to better understand the challenges culturally diverse settings pose for social learning and social interaction in schools, and to find ways to turn these challenges into resources.