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The (Mis) Education of Immigrant Children in Today’s America

Authors
  • Gui, Gabriela E.
Type
Published Article
Journal
European Journal of Language and Literature Studies
Publisher
Sciendo
Publication Date
Oct 01, 2023
Volume
9
Issue
2
Pages
100–122
Identifiers
DOI: 10.2478/ejls-2023-0019
Source
De Gruyter
Keywords
License
Green

Abstract

In today’s America, not every child starts on a level playing field, and very few children move ahead based solely on hard work or talent. Generational poverty and a lack of cultural capital hold many students back, robbing them of the opportunity to move up professionally and socially. Children of immigrants are especially at-risk because, in addition to facing poverty, race, geographical location or economic disadvantages, they are also confronted with failure due to their limited or non-existent English proficiency. This study focuses on the degree to which teachers in a mid-sized urban school district take into consideration the individual needs of immigrant children in the process of their education. The study also examines the preparation teachers have had to equip them with knowledge of best practices in teaching immigrant children, and the relationship between teachers’ practices, beliefs, and their demographic and personal characteristics (age, gender, years of experience, level of education, etc.). Quantitative data was collected via a survey. Interviews with teachers and one central office administrator provided data for the qualitative section of the study. The findings revealed that teachers, in general, appeared to lack knowledge of specific policies for mainstreaming immigrant students into general education classrooms; their use of effective teaching practices for working with immigrant children were limited; and most of the teachers had not participated actively in professional development that focused on teaching immigrant children.

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