First generation migrant learners are students who were born outside the country where they attend school, whose parents were also born outside that country. Second generation immigrant learners are born in the destination country, with parents coming from outside that country.
Students with an immigration background encounter specific challenges, while at the same time they also have specific contributions to offer. Language barriers and socioeconomic disadvantage are the most common challenge explaining the performance gap between migrant learners and students without an immigrant background.
When it comes to socioeconomic disadvantages in general, and to the specific disadvantages that migrant students face, inclusive education and school desegregation is of key importance, as the concentration of disadvantages has a negative impact on learning. Inclusive learning environments on the other hand have significant positive impact on the learning outcomes and wellbeing of migrant students.
The response of the educational system, and the implementation of adequate support strategies has an enormous role in helping migrant students to overcome the obstacles they face, and has a huge impact on the learning and emotional wellbeing of these learners.
Migrant students often have to learn the language of the hosting country, thus, offering adequate language training is crucial to foster integration and inclusion. Research shows that helping teachers to identify learners who need additional language support, and offering language training as an addition and not instead of regular course work is a more effective strategy leading to better learning outcomes.