The effect of school transitions on engagement among immigrant students in disadvantaged neighbourhoods



School engagement is now recognized as one of the main determinants of student success and retention.

However, several questions remain as to the best educational practices to support students, especially during preschool-elementary and elementary-secondary transitions.

This study argues in favour of creating greater awareness among teachers of the realities of students in disadvantaged and multi-ethnic neighbourhoods.

This study suggests that in disadvantaged and multi-ethnic neighbourhoods, consistency and communication between teachers at different levels, the development of a warm connection between teachers and students, teachers' openness to the reality and life context of their students, their ease with working in disadvantaged and multi-ethnic neighbourhoods, and teacher support for student autonomy are associated with student engagement during school transitions. However, these effects differ for girls and boys from immigrant and non-immigrant families.

These general conclusions argue in favour of creating greater awareness among teachers of the realities of students in disadvantaged and multi-ethnic neighbourhoods, by creating a dialogue and by ensuring better collaboration between the school, parents and students. This increased awareness would promote better mutual understanding and the development of warm, positive connections and reduce the perception gap. It is also important to introduce continuing education aimed at helping teachers better support the autonomy of their students and making them feel better equipped to work in disadvantaged and multi-ethnic neighbourhoods.

Finally, schools need to plan immersion activities for new students throughout the year. In addition, during transitions, they must ensure consistency in the management of student behaviour in the classroom across grade levels and provide systematic monitoring and follow-up of students in difficulty.

Main researcher

Isabelle Archambault, Université de Montréal

Summary

Research report

Call for proposals

Deposit of the research report: April 2017