Clearinghouse Resource


Mental Health of Refugee Children: A Guide for the ESL Teacher


Birman, Dina


Denver, CO: Spring Institute for Intercultural Learning

Source Information (Journal Title, Date, Length)

2002, 38 pages

Description of Resource

Provides guidance to English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers about the challenges facing newly resettled refugee children in the United States. While the guide is not designed to turn ESL teachers into mental health specialists, it does recognize that they often are among the first resources available to help refugees cope with a new cultural environment. However, the guide does give ESL teachers the information they need to know how, when, and where to refer students within the service provider network. The guide reviews developmental and mental health issues for children in general; highlights the experiences of trauma and acculturation as key factors in the lives of refugee children that affect both development and mental health; and explains treatment options. Specific suggestions for the role of the ESL teacher include: (1) making the ESL classroom a safe place in the refugee child's life; (2) setting expectations for behavior, rewarding appropriate behavior, and using the techniques of behavior management to both create a more predictable classroom environment and reinforce English language skills; (3) providing active listening as well as peer mentoring opportunities; and (4) offering orientation to aspects of U.S. culture and the lives of U.S. students.




This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.