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Liv Thorstensson Dávila's research shows school policies, biased teachers hamper immigrant children's learning

by Sharita Forrest / Mar 11, 2013

Liv Thorstensson Dávila, clinical assistant professor of Curriculum and Instruction, recently spoke with Sharita Forrest of the UI News Bureau about high schools’ placement policies and teachers’ biases about immigrant students’ abilities, which can be detrimental to students’ academic success, according to Dávila's research.

MARCH 7, 2013, UI NEWS BUREAU, CHAMPAIGN, Ill., Sharita Forrest — U.S. high school “sink or swim” placement policies that propel immigrant students into courses that they’re linguistically and academically unprepared for – or conversely, that funnel all newcomers into remedial courses or service-oriented vocational programs – may undermine these students’ academic success and their motivation to learn, new research suggests.

A lack of academic support in mainstream classrooms and limited interaction with peers who are native English speakers can be detrimental to immigrant students’ language learning, self-esteem and motivation to succeed, according to researcher Liv Thorstensson Dávila, a professor of curriculum and instruction in the College of Education at the University of Illinois.

Dávila’s research with immigrant students attending high school in the U.S. – and with immigrant young people in Sweden – may provide insight into why a significant portion of this population is less likely to graduate from high school or college and more likely to end up living in poverty than many of their native-born classmates.

Read entire News Bureau article…