The Burden of Difference? School Welfare Personnel's and Parents' Views on Wellbeing of Migrant Children in Finland

Minna Säävälä
2012 Finnish Yearbook of Population Research  
The school welfare system faces a challenge in the linguistically and culturally diversifying school. This article examines how school welfare personnel, native language teachers, and migrant parents conceptualize the wellbeing of migrant children in Finland. The data analyzed by thematic content analysis consists of group and individual interviews of a total of 47 persons: nurses, psychologists, social workers, a headmaster, special education teachers, native language teachers, and migrant
more » ... nts in the Helsinki metropolitan area. The school welfare professionals and migrant parents views stressed different factors as risks and resources of migrant childrens wellbeing. In school welfare personnels view, school wellbeing is secured by downplaying difference between children of diverse cultural backgrounds; moreover, they do not see negative attitudes, discrimination, or bullying of migrant children as a particular problem. Migrant parents and native language teachers in turn consider or at least fear their childrens wellbeing to be jeopardized by social exclusion, prejudice or discrimination. The school personnel find it difficult to recognize the power imbalance between minorities and the national majority that lies behind these different conceptualizations. This reduces trust and impedes the cooperation of migrant homes and school, particularly in situations when an intervention is imperative for securing child wellbeing.
doi:10.23979/fypr.45073 fatcat:at6r5gkwhbf35bii4roirfyazy