Examining teachers' knowledge and attitudes towards immigration and undocumented immigrants
It is projected that by the year 2040, one in three children entering the classroom in the United States will be a second-generation immigrant. Among children of Latino immigrants, four in ten second-generation immigrant children have at least one undocumented immigrant parent and therefore live in mixed-status families. These demographic changes have significant implications for the schools and teachers who must be prepared to educate and meet the needs of these children; however, many teachers are not equipped to address the needs of these students. The present study examined whether participation in an immigration workshop would improve teachers' knowledge and attitudes towards immigration and undocumented immigrants. The theoretical framework used as a guide to conduct this research was the Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM), a theory of attitude change which posits that attitude change may occur from a person's careful and thoughtful consideration of the true merits of the information presented in support of an advocacy (central route) or change may occur via peripheral cues that trigger an individual's affective state (e.g., attractive expert source; peripheral route). Therefore, the immigration workshop incorporated both factual information from credible sources providing statistics and trends on immigration and undocumented immigrants as well as personal student testimonies which appeal more to the emotions of the individual. Teachers (n = 197) were recruited from one school corporation in a rural county in the state of Indiana which has a Latino student population of approximately 35%. Teachers completed pre- and post-surveys to assess their knowledge and attitudes regarding immigration and undocumented immigrants. Results indicated that after participating in the workshop, teachers' general knowledge about immigration and undocumented immigrants increased, as did their knowledge of immigration policy. Additionally, teachers' attitudes toward immigration improved following the workshop. Teachers' knowledge of immigration was not related to their attitudes regarding immigration. Possible explanation and implications of these findings for future research are discussed.
Dotterer, Purdue University.
English as a Second Language|Multicultural Education|Teacher education
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