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Roma Inclusion in the Greek-Cypriot Educational System – Reflections on Teacher Training Needs. Yiasemina Karagiorgi , Ministry of Education and Culture Eleni Roussounidou, Counselling Psychologist , Ministry of Education and Culture
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Yiasemina Karagiorgi,Ministry of Education and Culture
Eleni Roussounidou,Counselling Psychologist, Ministry of Education and Culture
Chrystalla Kaloyirou, Pedagogical Institute of Cyprus, Cyprus
Loizos Symeou, Department of Education Sciences, European University Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus
Teacher In-Service Training for Roma Inclusion
(Demetriou & Trimikliniotis, 2007)
TEACHER TRAINING NEEDS FOR
Cultural background completely unknown to teachers; Roma culturally ‘invisible’ within the school
Limited learning in school
Assistant (belonging to a community centre) as a mediator
Importance of having a Turkish speaking teacher at school
Interviewed children noticed to have limited understanding of Greek
Bullying by other children because of Roma origin and cultural difference
Administrators and teachers expect Roma children to quickly conform to typical classroom curriculum.
Trying to involve Roma children to practices related to how ‘typical’ school children look and act -eg. through homework- the schools confirm rather than challenge Roma children’s feelings of marginality.
Roma habits, rituals and other expressions of meaning and value to Roma families lay open to ignorance by the schools while parents, unable to communicate in Greek, rely on teachers for help with regards to school work.
Teachers’ accounts reflect inadequate training background and lack of specialized knowledge on Roma education.
Need for a comprehensive teacher in-service training programme, based on this initial needs assessment.
Specialized training not only in multicultural or intercultural education, but particularly focused on Roma culture & training on how to methodologically address Roma education, urgently provided to Greek-Cypriot teachers.
Curriculum development: Need for teachers to tailor the curriculum to Roma children and reform teaching material appropriately.
Effective classroom management: Need for teachers to manage ethically-diverse classrooms and deal with the bullying problems.
Teacher-parent communication: Need for teachers to learn about community-oriented educational approaches with high levels of community involvement.
All of a sudden, they ‘disappear’… Similarly, they ‘appear’ after a year. During the first year, after the first rains they would ‘disappear’ … (just like snails coming out after rain, these people would do the opposite, i.e. disappear after the raining period starts’). (teacher 1)
They come to school regularly but they do not attend all their classes.(teacher 5)
…As time goes by, more and more Roma children are enrolled in our school from early ages whereas Greek Cypriot pupils avoid enrolment in our school because of the Roma presence… They go to other schools… (teacher 2)
They are happy just living as they live. They do not want anything else from school and do not expect anything else from us.(teacher 4)
They [the Roma pupils] are not interested in learning, they come to school to play and socialise, they search for an excuse to go out of the class… these are aspects of their culture. (teacher 3)
Roma pupils lack skills to comply with rules. It is very difficult for them to integrate in the classroom. I do not believe that these pupils benefit from school. (teacher 4)
Roma [pupils] feel like strangers at school. (teacher 2)
The children do not get integrated and they never will. They may acquire a number of desirable attitudes/habits such as the love to learn, the habit to hold a spoon and a fork to eat; however, they will always stand out as different. (teacher 1)
They are close to their family….they only communicate with their family members…. they form a clique against others….they feel to be treated as ‘them’ and ‘others’.(teacher 3)
Roma apparently like music and sports… Also, girls like dancing, but after they are 11 years they start helping in housework and taking care of their younger siblings. (teacher 1)
Once one of the female teachers got into conflict with a student, who threatened to beat her up. I ask the student ‘Don’t I get angry with you as well?’ The student answers ‘Yes, but you are ‘human’ (man)’. This is a social dimension of their culture; that it is OK for a man to get angry but not for a woman. We need social research studies to know more about Roma culture. (teacher 2)
…to know about their history….from where they came…..how they appeared in our country…..why they were not affiliated in the system…. (teacher 3)
What do we (the formal society) want from them? What exactly are the needs of these people… and do we really want to fulfil their needs and how? Can someone give us an answer? (teacher 5)
I do this job without having any training that would enable me to teach this specific group of pupils. Part from what I know for these people comes from my experience and part of it from what I read. I would like to know more from organized seminars that would be designed for our -teachers in this kind of schools- needs. These seminars should be designed and executed by experts.(teacher 2)
I have not acquired any knowledge on Roma culture on an organized basis. I have read by myself several books. For the first time, I learned about the Roma through my school experiences… I would like more organized seminars from specialists. (teacher 5)
They (the teachers) do not know how we live here. They never came to see us. Nobody knows us. Nobody asked us what we need. (parent 4)
I would like my teachers to know more about the way we live. We celebrate different things, we eat different food…(child 1)
The Turkish-Cypriot play football and with the computers at school and the Greek-Cypriots read. (child 1)
There should be a Turkish teacher as well in school ….Some children do not speak Greek so well. If there was a teacher speaking Turkish this would be very helpful for them. (parent 4)
If our teachers could speak to us in Turkish, I think I would have stayed in school. (child 4)
Other children hit my children. My daughter has a broken arm… My son was hit on his ear. (parent 3)
He [his son] was older than his classmates. They were making fun of him […] He went to the school nearby but got in quarrels with other children. He did not have a good time there. They called him “Turk” […]; my girls went to school but did not finish because of the fights. (parent 2)
I like school, but I do not like it when children fight each other. Turkish-Cypriots and Greeks fight each other. There are a lot of fights, but I am not involved.(child 4)
This teacher, he teases us and make us fight between each other... (child 2)