Dilemmas of ‘doing good’: How teachers respond to the care needs of newly arrived refugee and immigrant adolescents in Denmark

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


There is growing interest in the role of schools in supporting children facing adversity, including children with refugee and immigrant backgrounds. Based on six months of ethnographic fieldwork (December 2018 to June 2019) and interviews with teachers in two classes for adolescent newcomer refugee and immigrant learners in Denmark, this paper explores teacher responses to everyday dilemmas in supporting and caring for refugee and immigrant learners at school with a focus on three key areas: 1) in relation to teaching while safeguarding the adolescents’ self-image, 2) in caring for the adolescents emotionally, socially and physically, and 3) in building trust and being the adolescents’ confidants. Based on the findings, we argue that caring for newcomer adolescents cannot be reduced to questions of formal training and technical skills. Rather, it is intimately linked to attentiveness, experimentation and sensitivity to learners’ needs. Furthermore, we discuss how scholarly analysis of teacher responses to care-related dilemmas can help generate contextualised insights into the broader support needs of teachers engaging in care work in specific social contexts.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPastoral Care in Education
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)81-99
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Number of downloads are based on statistics from Google Scholar and www.ku.dk

No data available

ID: 346783933