Immigrant Students: The Attitudes and Perceptions of Teaching Staff

Tommasa Agnese Chiofalo, María del Mar Fernández-Martínez, Carmen María Hernández Garre, José Juan Carrión Martínez


Objective. In this article we discuss the attitudes of teachers towards immigrant students in the classroom and investigate the students' experiences and that of their family; the other important factor in their education. Method. The methodology used was qualitative interviews, carried out in a comprehensive school catering for the different stages of compulsory education in Sicily (Italy). In-depth interviews were performed on 15 teachers who tutored immigrant students, with the aim of revealing their thoughts, emotions, perceptions and attitudes with regard to this social and educational experience. Results. Although there were disparate elements within the context of the school, the results were consistent with other studies that address this global, contemporary problem. We found a pronounced receptivity on the half of the staff, good responses between equals, but also a degree of impotence and institutional neglect in the face of the problem. It was consistently perceived that families of immigrant students were rarely involved in school life. The influence of socio-economic, ethnic and religious factors that often affect relations between the immigrant student's family and the school, also emerged. Conclusions. The phenomenon of immigrant children's school integration is plagued with difficulties, which are repeated and maintained in different areas and periods of time. Within the school, the teachers take on the main task of offering these children a favourable environment for integration. However, the other major aspect of our study, the family relationship, was less encouraging. The teachers felt a lack of cooperation from the families of immigrant children.

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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