The Ties That Bind: The Role of Teacher Relationships in the Adaptation of Minority and Immigrant Adolescents

Hua-Yu Sebastian Cherng, University of Pennsylvania

Teachers fulfill a special role in the lives of immigrant youth: they have the responsibility of helping immigrant youth become familiar with norms and social expectations in the United States. Despite this importance, little research has focused on teacher-student personal relationships, which likely facilitate teachers helping immigrant youth navigate their social worlds. I use the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002, a nationally representative sample of US high school sophomores. Using three measures of personal relationship that English and Mathematics teachers form with students, I find that English teachers report weaker relationships with their Asian students and Mathematics teachers with their Latino students. Moreover, teacher-student relationships in early high school are associated with later notions of citizenship and belonging. Results suggest that, on a large scale, certain immigrant groups may not be receiving crucial help navigating their social worlds.

  See paper

Presented in Session 3: Education and Assimilation