Peer mentoring promoting the educational inclusion of newly arrived migrant students

Monday 3 January 2022

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Migrant children experience a series of obstacles when it comes to their integration in the education systems and schools of the host countries. Problems faced include inappropriate grade placement, language provision that is not adapted to their mother tongue, insufficient learning support and teachers’ difficulty in handling diversity.

To address these difficulties the project  FEINAMC – Disseminating and scaling up good practices to Foster Educational Inclusion of Newly Arrived Migrant Children – aims to ensure the assistance to teachers, as well as a number of measures such as mentoring, support for the acquisition of language and recognition of prior learning, encouraging the utilization of existing resources, including good practices and peer-learning activities.

In December 2021, CESIE organised three training workshops at Einaudi Pareto High School, in order to launch the mentoring programme promoted within the FEINAMC project.

The mentoring programme is an intercultural programme aimed at promoting the educational inclusion of newly arrived migrant students through the implementation of a peer to peer methodology, in which young students with migrant origin (first, second or third generation) support newly arrived migrant students in their process of inclusion in the educational systems. In other words, in each participating school, we will develop a structure of couples (mentors and mentees) which will support each other during the whole school year.

During the December’s workshops, almost 20 students from three different schools in Palermo (IT Volta, IS Einaudi Pareto, ENDOFAP), both mentors and mentees, were trained on what peer mentoring is, how to properly engage in it, how to strengthen their intercultural competences.Through several non formal activities, they were invited to reflect on their own experience as a mentor and mentee and on what they felt were the skills and qualities they should possess in order to successfully take part of the programme, and on their needs & expectations.

They also had the opportunity to express their needs and expectations, and tobrainstorm about the principles of the relationship between a mentor and a mentee, in order to define ground rules for an effective working process.

Finally, trainees and trainers discussed about stereotypes on different nationalities and interculturality, and expressed themselves giving the space to deconstruct them and to challenge everyone’s ways of thinking, opening a door for a better understanding of interculturality and for a more efficient intercultural mentoring programme.

During the next months, helped by the referent teachers of each school and supported by CESIE, the students involved will be further trained and will continue to help each other through different support activities which they will organise autonomously, inside and outside their school settings.