Integrating Syrian refugee teachers into Swedish educational labour market

Authors Catarina Economou, Maaike Hajer
Published in Education Inquiry
Publication date 11 March 2019
Research groups Multilingualism and Education
Type Article


In autumn 2016, Malmö University started two “fast track” trajectories for teachers with refugee backgrounds. The participants were offered an education of 26 weeks as an introduction to the Swedish school system, consisting of content courses, professional Swedish and workplace learning. The aim of this small explorative study was to get an impression of the participants’ views and understanding of the role of becoming a teacher in Swedish schools, realising the characteristics of pedagogy aimed for in the curriculum, specifically the interaction patterns and student participation in learning processes. Main research questions addressed participants’ expectations of differences and challenges in the Swedish school context as compared to their experiences in Syrian contexts. A combination was chosen of focus groups interviews with a small number of teachers and students on their views and experiences with pupils’ involvement in classroom communication as well as quantitative data gathering. The quantitative survey measured teachers’ acquisition and participation-oriented views on learning. Open-ended reflection on learning questions was also given to the students. Results showed significant development towards more participation-oriented beliefs on learning. Interview data and written statements reveal varied differences between the Swedish context and the participants’ experiences from schools in Syria.

Language English
Published in Education Inquiry
Key words Syrian refugee teachers, Swedish educational labour market, integration, participation-oriented learning, multilingualism
Digital Object Identifier 10.1080/20004508.2019.1579625