PhD: How do schools deal with ethnic diversity and what are the consequences?
Many countries deal with ethnic and scoio-economic inequalities in education: pupils from poor families and/or with pupils from migration backgrounds perform less well at school compared to pupils from white families, even after controlling for individual capacities. Building on previous research from various disciplines, the ECDIS project takes a new approach to understand these inequalities (and, by doing this, formulating advises to decrease these inequalities). The ECDIS-project focuses on how elementary schools deal with ethnic-cultural diversity. It studies which visions they have on diversity and which practices they apply in various domains (like language policies, curriculum, activities etc.). It aims to understand whether the ways schools deal with cultural diversity is related to academic achievements of pupils with a migration background and/or from lowe social classes (aim 1) and how this process works (aim 2). More concretely, we will first study to which extent the three School Diversity Models dominating the literature - mostly assimilation, colour-blindness and pluralism - are present in Flemish elementary schools. We will identify these in various domains (like linguistic and religious diversity) and we will study how they are related to school composition in terms of pupils' socio-economic statuses and ethnicities. Next, we will measure the impact of the School Diversity Models on pupils' identities and on teachers' beliefs. To conclude, we will test whether the link between school-characteristics and School Diversity Models on the one hand, and school achievements on the other, can (partially) be explained by the impact they have on pupils' identities and teachers' beliefs.