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Speaking the same language - The effect of foreign origin teachers on students’ language skills

Lisa Höckel
Authors registered in the RePEc Author Service: Lisa Sofie Hoeckel

VfS Annual Conference 2019 (Leipzig): 30 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall - Democracy and Market Economy from Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association

Abstract: Population diversity arising from international migration does not only affect the labor market, but also its training ground - the classroom. While the economics literature studies the large and persistent achievement gap between native and foreign origin students, surprisingly little is known about the effect of having a foreign origin teacher on students' academic achievements. In this study, I investigate whether having a foreign origin teacher causally affects the language skills of students in German secondary school, holding constant both observed and unobserved factors related to academic outcomes. Exploring within-student variation in assignment to teachers, due to student mobility and teacher turnover, I am the first to show that foreign origin teachers significantly increase the reading comprehension of students. Most notable is the positive effect of foreign origin teachers who report a mother tongue other than German. They increase reading comprehension scores universally. Ruling out alternative explanations, I argue that bilingual teachers are particularly well-equipped in teaching languages to both native and foreign origin students.

Keywords: Academic achievement; language skills; matching; migration; teacher bias (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J13 J15 I24 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-lab
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https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/203638/1/VfS-2019-pid-28198.pdf (application/pdf)

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Working Paper: Speaking the same language: The effect of foreign origin teachers on students' language skills (2020) Downloads
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