14 SES 08 A, International Perspectives on Immigrant Students, Families and Communities
School safety is an important factor in schools and is strongly related to academic success. It is even more relevant for immigrant students although studies show that they feel less safe in schools (Hastedt 2014). Obviously teachers, parents and principals are sensitive to school safety and school climate. Therefore one important aim of schooling should be to build a positive school climate and reduce violence and through this even have a positive effect on academic success.
Over the past years immigration between countries has increased significantly. The UNHCR reported 43,3 million refugees in 2010 due to conflicts within and between countries (United Nations 2015). A huge group of students are among these refugees, some of whom with traumatic experiences. The students sometimes do not speak the language of the host country, have a different cultural background and special needs due to experienced trauma. Some might not even be enrolled in schools – which especially affects immigrant girls (Chavatzia et al. 2016).
Students feeling safe in school, school climate and good home-school relations are related aspects that are important for students’ well-being and subsequently for students’ achievement and academic success (Ben-Arieh 2009, Kilian & Katschnig 2015). There are several studies whose aim is to find recommendations for policies that promote better education for students with an immigrant background (Hasted 2014). TIMSS data show that in many countries students with an immigrant background feel less safe at school. The achievement difference for students who say they feel safe at school compared to students who say they do not feel safe at school represents in most countries a clear statistically significant difference (higher for students with an immigrant background). Students with an immigrant status perform less well in a great number of countries (Hastedt, 2014). Safety and security in education are often associated with physical harm and violence, but there should be a broader view including well-being as a safety and security issue and pedagogical safety, as de Waal and Grösser, two scientists from South Africa suggest (de Waal & Grösser 2009).
School violence and aggressive behaviour – also with a focus on immigrant students – have formed the subject of several studies (Boers et al. 2010, Wittenberg et al. 2010, Uslucan 2008). Wallner and Stemmler concluded that a permanent burden like a deficit in language, circumstances of the migration process and experiences of exclusion by immigrant students lead to worse achievements and poverty. Having in mind the educational level and the type of school the students attend, results show that immigrant students are greatly burdened by violence, peer delinquence and peer violence (Wallner & Stemmler 2014: 86).
School violence, however, is a problem that is often overlooked. Mostly teachers and principals assessed the violence problem as being less serious than their students´assessment (Benbenishty et al. 2006). Ben-Arieh studied the relationship between safety, home-school relations and well-being, and considered that there were a great deal of significant differences regarding the three perspectives, namely those of students, parents and teachers. Since safety is one of the basic components of students’ well-being, violence has direct effects on students’ well-being and therefore school safety is not just an important indicator for achievement but can be seen as a prerequisite for well-being during the life course (Ben Arieh 2001, Ben Arieh et al. 2009).
The focus of this study is to try to explain the correlation between school safety and achievement of immigrant students in 51 countries worldwide.
Ben-Arieh, A. et al. (2001). Monitoring and measuring children‘s well being. Dordrechet: Kluwer Academic Publishers. Ben-Arieh, A., Mc Donnel, J. & Attar-Schwarz, S. (2009). Safety and Home-School Relations as Indicators of Children Well- Being: Whose Perspective Counts. Soc Indic Res 90, 229-349. Benbenishty, R. & Astor, R.A. (2005). School violence in context: Culture, neighbourhood, family, school and gender. New York: Oxford University Press. Benbenishty, R. et al. (2006). A national study of school violence in Israel 2005. Jerusalem, Israel: The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Boers, Klaus et al. (2010). Jugendkriminalität – Altersverlauf und Erklärungszusammenhänge. Ergebnisse der Duisburger Verlaufsstudie Kriminalität in der modernen Stadt. NK 2/2010, 58-66 Chavatzia, T., Engel, L., & Hastedt, D. (2016, November). Where are the immigrant girls? (Policy Brief No. 12). Amsterdam, The Netherlands: IEA. de Waal, E. & Grösser, M.M. (2009). Safety and security at school: A pedagogical perspective. Teaching and Teacher Education 25, 697-706. Gay, M. (2014). School Safety. Lessons after Loss. Creating safe learning Envoronments. Techniques. www.acteonline.org; www.safeandsound-schools.org (download 1.10.2016). Geppert, C., Katschnig, T., Knapp, M., Kilian, M. & Hopmann, S. (2015). Mal was Positives von der NMS. NMS: Zentrale Ergebnisse der NOESIS-Längsschnittevaluation aus vier Jahren. Erziehung und Unterricht 2015, H. 3+4/2015, 374-383 Hastedt, D. (2014). Mathematics Achievement of Immigrant Students. Dissertation at the University of Vienna, Austria. Kilian, M. & Katschnig, T. (2015). Wohlbefinden als Komponente schulischen Lernens – Veränderungen in der Wahrnehmung von ausgewählten Aspekten zum Wohlbefinden von niederösterreichischen MittelschülerInnen im Verlauf der Sekundarstufe I unter Berücksichtigung des Schulstandortes. In Projektteam NOESIS (Hrsg.), Gute Schule bleibt verändert. Zur Evaluation der Niederösterreichischen Mittelschule. Graz: Leykam, 121-148. Uslucan, H.H. (2008). Gewaltbelastungen von Jugendlichen mit Migrationshintergrund. In: Scheiterhauer, T. Hayer & Niebank, K. (Hrsg.). Problemverhalten und Gewalt im Jugendalter. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 289-301 Vadeboncouer, J., Kady-Rachid, H. & Moghtader, B. (2014). Learning in and Across Contexts: Reimagination Education. National Society for the Study of Education, Vol. 113, Is. 2, 339-358. Wallner, S. & Stemmler, M. (2014). Jugendliche Gewaltdelinquenz, psychosoziale Merkmale und Migrationsstatus. Forens Psychiatr Psychol Kriminol 8:84-95 Yildiz, E. (2011). Migration und Bildung. Von der schulischen Segregation zu einer diversitätsbewussten Bildung. In: Kansteiner-Schäfer, K. (Hrsg.). Schule im gesellschaftlichen Spannungsfeld. Band 5 Professionswissen für Lehrerinnen und Lehrer. Hohengehren: Schneider Verlag, 139-156. United Nations. (2015). Trends in International Migrant Stock: The 2015 revision. New York, NY, USA: United Nations. Retrieved from http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/migration/data/estimates2/estimates15.shtml
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