Introduction to a special issue of Education Sciences “Migrant Integration in Schools: Policies and Practices”

Pantić N, Lund A, Tarnanen M. Education Sciences, 2022.

Education Sciences | Special Issue : Migrant Integration in Schools: Policies and Practices (

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This issue aims to understand policies and practices that facilitate or impede migrant integration in schools. Schooling raises several issues for migrant students, including adapting to a new language, curriculum and school system, as well as emotional issues, such as coping with loneliness and confusion over unfamiliar cultural and social norms. Within schools, teachers play an important role in promoting migrant students’ learning, socialisation and belonging in their school communities. However, teachers’ work is embedded in the institutional contexts of their school systems and cultures, which shape their discourses, practices and interactions. Teachers in some contexts have reported not feeling prepared for the challenges of cultural and linguistic diversity that coincide with the changing demographics of schooling. Policymakers have made attempts to facilitate the integration of migrants in schools by providing policy guidance and funding support systems, for example for language acquisition. However, systematic analyses that examine how different policy contexts create conditions for teaching practices that promote migrant integration are scant. For example, how do policies and practices differ in relation to the ways that we can deploy resources, e.g., by providing additional resources through targeted approaches that address the needs of migrant students, or developing inclusive approaches that support migrant students in the mainstream? What is the impact on opportunities for supporting migrant students’ academic success, cross-cultural socialization and a sense of belonging to the school community? Responses at school level are central, as they directly affect students, and mediate other influences.

This Special Issue focuses on policies and practices that facilitate migrant integration at individual, school community and national levels, as well as the interactions between them. In particular, we invite studies that aim to understand how migrant students are supported through professional collaboration between teachers, other professionals and families and how policies at different levels and across international contexts enable or impede such collaborative practices. Teachers can work with school counsellors, social workers, mental health professionals, or parents to facilitate migrant students’ integration, and shape the process through which they develop a sense of belonging in their school and community. We seek to understand how institutional, relational and individual levels of teachers’ work interact to create conditions for migrant integration.

Dr. Nataša Pantić
Prof. Dr. Mirja Tarnanen
Prof. Dr. Anna Lund
Guest Editor