Seminar Series: Social Identity and School Performance Among Adolescent Immigrants in Germany

Weber Silvana event

Presented by Silvana Weber, Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Social Research in Health from the University of Koblenz-Landau, Germany

Silvana will discuss the interplay of social identity and negative performance stereotypes among immigrant students in Germany.

"The economic development of countries largely depends on a high educational level of its inhabitants. In many countries around the world, students with immigrant parents often underachieve in educational settings and drop out of school earlier than non-immigrants. Based on previous research, immigrant students might have an enormous amount of untapped intellectual potential, hidden by psychological threats in society (e.g., Stereotype or Social Identity Threat). Here, integration and acculturation processes play an essential role. Empirical evidence (from experimental field-studies conducted in Austrian schools with young people aged 12-16) on the interplay of social identity and negative performance stereotypes will be reviewed, focusing on the role of cultural identity strength. Additionally, interventions to strengthen immigrant students’ social identity via brief exercises in the school context to improve their test performance and increase their sense of belonging will be presented. Theoretical and practical implications to eventually close the educational achievement gap are discussed."

Silvana Weber (University of Koblenz-Landau, Germany) is a visiting fellow at the Centre for Social Research in Health within the IRSES Research Project on Health Narratives. Her interests lie in the application of psychological theories in educational and health contexts, focussing on acculturation processes, social identity, and stereotype research, working interdisciplinary and internationally. She was awarded the Dissertation Prize for Migration Research by the Austrian Academy of Sciences for her PhD project.

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