Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version



Published in International Journal of Intercultural Relations 77 (2020), pp 46–57

DOI: 10.1016/j.ijintrel.2020.04.003


Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Ltd. Used by permission.


African immigrant populations are among the fastest growing immigrant populations in the United States, yet they are understudied and are invisible immigrant group in the educational literature, particularly, in the context of educational discourses in the United States urban schools. Drawing on Phelan et al.’s multiple worlds model, we analyzed individual and focus group interviews of forty students, thirty-six parents, and twelve teachers from two schools. Findings showed that Ghanaian-born immigrant students undergo several complex transitional paradigms combining two worlds (school and home) of Ghanaian culture, past educational experiences, family values, and adapting to new school environments to achieve success in American educational systems. In addition, they faced racial and ethnic discrimination and stereotypes from peers, which negatively impacted their academic progress and social adjustments in school. The authors recommend that teachers should establish new ways of understanding the multiple worlds of African-born adolescent immigrant girls by accounting for their culturally diverse ways of navigating their worlds of school, peers, and families to achieve academic success in US schools.