• Khadija Veronique Kabungulu Mbilizi
4. term, Public Administration and Social Science (Master Programme)
Currently in Denmark, discussions about the integration of foreigners in the Danish society dominates public debates, as there is an increasing shift towards the idea that foreigners must also be able to contribute to society. In such debates, emphasis is typically put on the idea that successful integration of foreigners in the Danish society is achieved through education and employment. The same argument applies to foreigner pupils, who can be divided into two main groups, notably those whose parents came to Denmark to work, and those who came to the country as refugees. Thus, the present master’s thesis examines the role of teachers in determining the social and scholarly development of foreigner pupils in the Danish primary school, with special emphasis on gender. In this regard, a number of studies suggest that there is in fact a difference concerning the way in which male and female foreigner pupils perform in school. Some of the studies show that male foreigner pupils lag behind the female ones in their performance at the ninth grade final exam. The same tendency, however, applies to ethnically Danish pupils, but the gender gap is bigger when it comes to foreigner pupils. Male foreigner pupils feel generally like they are the ones always getting criticized, which makes them feel unaccepted for who they are by teachers. In this regard, the thesis focuses on the organization of teaching, the systematic structure of the Danish primary school system, and teachers’ interaction with foreigner pupils, which may cause the said gender gap.

However, on the other hand, one must recognize that, aside from the gender gap as previously described, there are other factors that play a role in the social and scholarly development of bilingual pupils, and thereby their overall integration in the Danish society. Teaching that is pre-determined based on teachers’ formal or informal constructions of the ’ideal pupil’ is generally characterized by the teachers’ perception of gender, social class and ethnicity, putting foreigner pupils into a specific category, which will then constitute an obstacle when it comes to teaching the pupils. As a result, such stereotypical conceptions may have negative implications for the pupils’ overall integration in society through the primary school system. From the pupils’ perspective, such experiences can for instance make them lose the motivation to complete their primary school education with good grades. Additionally, teachers’ stereotypes about foreigner pupils can lead to pupils having negative expectations from themselves and even developing unfavourable conceptions of their own behaviours.

There are several studies in the field, many of which focus on pupils’ perspective. Hence, the present thesis only looks at how Danish primary schools, including teachers, handle male and female foreigner pupils. This delimitation is made on the grounds that it is important to uncover whether teachers are aware of the effect that their stereotypes have on male and female foreigner pupils. To come up with a comprehensive understanding of the issue, the thesis focuses on Aalborg Municipality as case study.
Publication date1 Jun 2019
Number of pages75


ID: 304895079