The education of students with immigrant background in Iceland: Parents’ and teachers’ voices

Hermína Gunnþórsdóttir*, Stéphanie Barillé, Markus Meckl

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


In recent years Icelandic schools have seen an increase in students with immigrant background. These changes require schools and teachers to respond to the educational needs these students may have. The aim of this article is to examine these changes by looking at the experience of teachers and parents of immigrant students regarding their education. As part of this qualitative research, 38 teachers were interviewed in focus groups with a view to the challenges and experiences of teaching immigrant students. Ten parents were also interviewed individually about their experiences of Icelandic schools and their children’s education. The findings revealed that teachers are unsupported in their quest for understanding and managing multicultural education and that the Icelandic school system challenges foreign parents’ understanding of school as a traditional place for learning. It is suggested that addressing the lack of collaboration and discussion between both parties on students’ needs and parents’ expectations could improve the education of immigrant students.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)605-616
Number of pages12
JournalScandinavian Journal of Educational Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jun 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Icelandic Ministry of Welfare and the Icelandic Regional Development Institute.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, © 2018 Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research.

Other keywords

  • education
  • Icelandic schools
  • immigrant students
  • multiculturalism
  • parents
  • teachers


Dive into the research topics of 'The education of students with immigrant background in Iceland: Parents’ and teachers’ voices'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this