An intercultural school climate is defined as the outcome of the interactions and practices instituted within a school between individuals of diverse ethnocultural backgrounds, their families and school and non-school stakeholders as they engage with the setting’s physical and organizational characteristics. This climate comprises five major dimensions: 1) commitment to a culture of equity and openness to diversity in interactions with students, their families and the community; 2) the status and legitimacy of cultures and languages of origin within the school and its classroom practices; 3) staff attitudes toward diversity, students and their families; 4) intercultural relations involving students and staff of different origins; and 5) support for identity building in students from immigrant backgrounds.
These findings make the case for the creation of spaces for reflection and dialogue.
While the study highlights a number of gains in the institutions that were surveyed, including the existence of positive relationships between students themselves and between students and staff of different origins, the outlook of some school stakeholders and their discourse on students from immigrant backgrounds and their families can be conflicting. A number of practices with an exclusionary effect with respect to minority groups, the lack of visibility of diversity markers in institutional frameworks, issues and concerns regarding the use of languages other than French in schools and classrooms were also noted.
Finally, in some institutions, concerns regarding immigrant staff and teachers were also were expressed: limited place for diversity, strategies to support identity building in students from immigrant backgrounds and school-family-community collaboration.
These findings make the case for the creation of spaces for reflection and dialogue to enable schools to assess and question some of their practices and receive support to implement new ones in order to better meet the needs of students from immigrant backgrounds and the education community as a whole.
Main researcher: Isabelle Archambault, Université de Montréal
Original title: L’impact du climat interculturel des établissements sur la réussite éducative des élèves issus de l’immigration