A tug of war of emotions: experiences of principals with refugee students

Ayyıldız P., ARASTAMAN G., Aslı Baran M.

Intercultural Education, vol.34, no.5, pp.464-478, 2023 (ESCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 34 Issue: 5
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/14675986.2023.2213658
  • Journal Name: Intercultural Education
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, ASSIA, IBZ Online, EBSCO Education Source, Education Abstracts, Educational research abstracts (ERA), ERIC (Education Resources Information Center), Linguistics & Language Behavior Abstracts, MLA - Modern Language Association Database, Public Affairs Index
  • Page Numbers: pp.464-478
  • Keywords: emotional challenge, emotions, Equity, refugee students, school principal
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


This study explores the experiences of 16 principals in schools in Ankara, Türkiye, who had Syrian refugee students, as well as the emotional challenges they faced while coping with the demands of their daily activities. The study uses a phenomenological research design as a qualitative design and is based on the Transcendental Phenomenology (TPh) of Husserl. Participants working in socio-economically disadvantaged schools were given semi-structured interview questions. The findings indicate that the experiences of the participants were perceived and shared through three main themes: emotions which are unique, schools as a micro-cosmos of larger society, and using strategies and balancing emotions that are found to be crucial. The findings have several implications, including the need for principals to manage their emotions and balance their thoughts and feelings. Besides, it seems as if schools have the potential to reflect and represent the present global situation. This is worth exploring further by practitioners, policymakers, and researchers.