Author: O'Neal, Colleen
Full Citation: O’Neal, C. R., Atapattu, R., Jegathesan, A., Ong, E., Clement, J., & Ganesan, A. (2016). Classroom management and socioemotional functioning of Burmese refugee students in Malaysia. Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10474412.2016.1193740
Overview: Access to Malaysian government schools is prohibited for refugee children, and hidden refugee schools only reach a minority of Burmese students in Malaysia. This study used a participatory culture-specific consultation (PCSC) approach to examine the perspectives of Burmese refugee teachers on Burmese refugee student socioemotional issues and classroom management using interviews, observations, a preliminary refugee teacher focus group (N = 10:4 men, 6 women; M age = 26 years), and a primary focus group with refugee teachers who were Burmese refugees (N = 9:6 men, 3 women; M age = 30 years). First, themes suggested that societal pressures have an effect on the classroom environment. Second, refugee student behavior and emotions ranged from externalizing to internalizing. Third, refugee teachers relied on traditional Burmese methods for managing serious misbehavior. Fourth, with mild misbehaviors, teachers employed more “modern,” student-centered methods. Results inform culture-specific consultation designed to meet refugee education needs.