Issues in Educational Research
Volume 21, Issue 3, 2011, Pages 310-329

Supporting successful learning for refugee students: The Classroom Connect project (Article)

Weekes T.* , Phelan L. , Macfarlane S. , Pinson J. , Francis V.
  • a University of New England, United States
  • b Mercy Works, United States
  • c Mercy Works, United States
  • d Mercy Works, United States
  • e Catholic Education Office, Sydney, Australia


Young people from refugee backgrounds face significant academic and social challenges in mainstream secondary education in Australia. Research suggests that mentoring initiatives and tutoring can help students remain engaged in education and achieve positive educational, social and emotional outcomes. The Classroom Connect Project is a joint venture between Mercy Works, the Catholic Education Office Sydney and the Sydney and South Western Sydney Regions of the NSW Department of Education and Training. Classroom Connect provides adult volunteer tutors for students from refugee backgrounds in secondary schools in Sydney's west and innerwest. This paper discusses the findings of research from 2008-2010 which evaluated benefits of Classroom Connect for stakeholders - students, teaching staff in schools and volunteer tutors. Findings indicate that Classroom Connect supports students in understanding difficult subjects and completing assessment tasks and homework. Students have also experienced growth in confidence and self-esteem through mentoring relationships that have developed with their tutors. From the views expressed by the participants in the research evaluations, Classroom Connect may be a viable model for supporting successful learning for refugee students as they transition from Intensive English Centres and make their way through the grades in mainstream secondary schools.

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ISSN: 03137155
Cited by: 7
Original Language: English