14 SES 14 A, Immigrant Families in Schools: Social inclusion in a multicultural world
Currents of migration to and from Italy have changed over time. It is no longer families, or members of previous migrants’ families that constitute the principal inward flow, but unaccompanied refugee minors. Data from Minister of Education (Miur, 2017) confirm the fundamental shift to a more multicultural Italian population, in the sense that, today, 62% of children from a migrant background are actually born on Italian soil (Albertini, 2017). But are their families planning a future in Italy out of choice? What might that future actually hold? One marked by a multiplicious kind of belonging, if they are to feel they belong at all, and by a sense of recognition?
In the face of the experiences of today’s migrant families – and more so those of their children – traditional, assimilation-based models now seem inadequate In their analysis of processes affecting 2nd-generation migrants in Europe, Crul, Schneider and Lelie (2012) highlight the impact immediate contexts (school system, job market, national and local citizenship and welfare policies) and the opportunities they provide can have on processes of inclusion, regardless of the resources possessed by the individual’s family or its social status (Crul & Vermeulen 2003; Heckmann, Lederer & Worbs 2001; Caneva & Ambrosini, 2009).
“Integration context theory” reveals how, when the structures of a society are functioning properly, the path to inclusion for teenagers and young people in this category has every chance of success: “these young people can move up on the social ladder and through the educational system (including higher education!) almost without financial support of the parents” (Crul et al, 2012, p. 29). However, in cases where the job market, and the welfare and school systems prove inadequate – i.e. lacking the necessary protocols and resources to support those who begin the “struggle for distinction” from a weakened position – the individual’s family, and the social capital it can draw on, become fundamental. Italian statistics reveal manifest shortcomings in the academic attainment of students from a migrant background, at both a local and national level (Ismu-Miur, 2016).
It is against this backdrop that the action-research project described here was instigated. Conducted by an multidisciplinary team, in collaboration with primary teachers from schools with a high density of students from a migrant background, it takes three approaches to facilitating the formation of identity and inclusion among 2nd-generation children (“2G”: children born in Italy to non-Italian parents, Rumbaut, 1997):
i. Assessing and supporting the processes of identity formation and inclusion of 2G children, focusing on the role played by linguistic competences (L1 and L2);
ii. Supporting processes involved in language acquisition (L2);
iii. Strengthening and/or promoting intercultural competences among primary teachers.
The 2nd, 3rd and 5th years of primary school were identified as key age groups. Teachers and senior management figures from four, suburban istituti comprensivi (combined pre-primary/primary/low secondary schools) in Verona – which has one of the most multicultural school populations in Italy (Miur, 2017) – took part in the study.
For the first phase of the project, questionnaires were issued to teachers and parents. Here, we present analysis of data collected from printed questionnaires issued to the parents of all children in the four participating schools. Completion of the questionnaire was voluntary. Two versions were used: “native” parents received a questionnaire with 11 multiple-choice items; the version for non-Italian parents featured 38 multiple-choice items. This latter version, and the accompanying informed consent form, were available in Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, English and French. The project and instruments were approved by the Ethics Commission of the Department of Human Sciences to which the research team belongs. Each child received a sealed envelope containing the relevant questionnaire, an introductory letter about the study, and the informed consent form, together with a second envelope in which to return the questionnaire. Of the 1,218 questionnaires issued, 786 were recovered (65%), of which 91 were not completed. The parents’ responses (i.e. the data) were collected in May 2017. 695 questionnaires (57%) were subsequently subjected to descriptive analysis. Of these, 494 (71%) had been returned by Italian parents, 201 (29%) by immigrant parents. The “native parent” questionnaire was designed to explore the behaviours and perceptions of these adults in relation to: the multicultural character of Italian society; the existence (or otherwise) of relationships with immigrant parents; their children’s relationships/interactions with fellow pupils; and the role of the school in promoting an inclusive society. The questionnaire issued to immigrant parents comprised two sections: the first was designed to elicit socio-demographic details about the respondents, to investigate their perceptions and use of the Italian language, and reveal details of their “migratory project”. The second section focused on the school-parent relationship: the extent to which the two parties collaborated, and to which the parents were involved in the life of the school; the parents’ knowledge of the school’s educational model and objectives; their expectations of the educational pathway offered to their child(ren); how they perceived and made use of their first language, and the language of instruction. This second section included four questions (nos. 35-38) that also appeared in the questionnaire issued to “native” parents (nos. 8-11). The analysis presented here covers both the socio-demographic data and: 1. all questions from the questionnaire for “native” Italian parents; 2. questions 33-38 of the questionnaire for non-Italian parents. It also features comparative analysis of the questions that featured in both questionnaires.
Entering a new life setting, and acculturating within it, is a slow process, one that requires much more than the efforts of a single generation; sometimes, a single lifetime is not enough (Dusi, 2008; 2017). Albeit parents and children have different developmental roles in the process of reshaping the migratory project and reconstructing familial memory and identity, it is a task that involves the whole family (Vatz Laroussi, 2001). And though these duties are only ever imposed on migrants and their children, the process of acculturation and the construction of an inclusive society depends on all of the actors within a society. The balance of power does not lie in the migrants’ favour and, in this respect, the institutions and policies they encounter in the destination country will prove fundamental (Crul et al., 2013). On the front line sits the school system (Gay, 2010), which provides a forum for the discovery of differentness – both one’s own and that of others – and a space in which encounters and relationships are pieced together: between children, between adults, between “ourselves” and “others”. The data – from school settings characterised by high levels of migration – indicate that a network of relationships exists between “native” and migrant parents, and that these are centred on the children’s well-being. Meanwhile, interaction between the children themselves, which is the principle socialising factor, is manifested in various modes of encountering the other: doing homework together, play, sports, etc. All the same, the “native” parents’ appear to perceive the existing relational practices – both between children and between adults – differently from their non-Italian counterparts. The data suggest that, in most cases, children from a migrant background socialise predominantly with children from families that share a similar history of migration, although variations emerge among different nationalities.
Albertini, G. (2017). Migranti e immigrati nel mondo, a livello internazionale, nazionale e locale. Rapporto uso didattico. Verona: Cestim. Caneva, E., & Ambrosini, M. (2009). Le seconde generazioni: nodi critici e nuove forme di integrazione. Rivista di sociologia e politiche sociali, 1, 25-46. Crul, M., Schneider, J., & Lelie, F. (Eds.) (2012). The European Second Generation Compared. Does the Integration Context Matter? IMISCOE Research. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. Crul, M., Schneider, J., & Lelie, F. (Eds.) (2013). Superdiversity. A new perspective on integration. Amsterdam: VU University Press. Crul, M., & Vermeulen, H. (2003). The second generation in Europe. Introduction to the special issue. International Migration Review, 37, 4, pp. 965-986. Dusi, P. (2017). Essere figli di genitori migranti. La sfida dell’appartenenza tra “micro-aggressioni” e supporto parentale. La Famiglia, 51/261, 143-155. Dusi, P. (2008). Famiglie migranti tra filiazione e affiliazione. La Famiglia, 244, 39-47. Heckmann, F., Lederer , H.W., & Worbs, S. (2001). Effectiveness of national integration strategies towards second generation migration youth in a comparative European perspective. Final report to the European Commission. Bamberg: Emfs. Gay, G. (2010). Culturally responsive teaching: Theory, research, and practice. New York: Teachers College Press. Ismu–Miur (2016). Alunni con cittadinanza non italiana. La scuola multiculturale nei contesti locali. Rapporto nazionale A.s. 2014/2015. Milan: Fondazione Ismu. Messetti, G., Dusi P. (2014), Enfants et familles d’autres cultures: les représentations des enseignants, in A. Karkun, É. Costa-Fernandez (Eds.), Développement social et interculturalité: un regard croisé (pp. 349-358). Paris: L’Harmattan. Moro, M.-R. (1994). Parents en exil. Psychopatologie et Migration. Paris: PUF. Miur – Ufficio Statistica (2017). Gli alunni stranieri nel sistema scolastico italiano a.s. 2015/2016. Rome: Miur. Potvin, M. Magnan, M.-O., & Larochelle-Audet, J. (Eds.) (2016). La diversité ethnoculturelle, religieuse et linguistique en education. Canada: Fides Éducation. Perregaux, C. (2007). Le contextes pluriculturels et plurilingues, lieux de transformation des connaissances et des rapports sociaux dans l’école? Revue Suisse des Sciences de l’Éducation, 29 (3), 417-433. Rumbaut, R., (1997). Assimilation and its discontents: between rhetoric and reality. International Migration Review, 31, 923-960. Sue D.W., Capodilupo C., Torino, G.C., Bucceri J.M., Holder, A.M.B., Nadal, K.L. - Esquilin, M. (2007). Racial Microaggressions in Everyday Life. American Psychologist, VXII, 4, 271-286. Vatz Laroussi, M. (2001). Le familial au coeur de l’immigration: Stratégies de citoyenneté des familles immigrantes au Québec et en France. Paris: L’Harmattan.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
The programme is updated regularly (each day in the morning)
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.