The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to explore the lived experiences of Hispanic mothers of primary grade students with regard to the home and school relationship. The Hispanic population accounted for over half of the growth of the total U.S. population between 2000 and 2010 (Ennis, Rios-Vargas, & Albert, 2011), and Hispanic enrollment in schools increased from 15% to 20% of total enrollment in the U.S. (U.S. Census Bureau, 2013). With an increasing number of Hispanic students in U.S. public schools, it is important to understand how mothers of Hispanic students view education, schools, and teachers.
This study included three focus groups and seven in-depth individual interviews. Participants described their individual experiences with and perceptions of their interactions with school administrators, staff, and teachers; their relationships with their child's school, staff, and teachers; and how they work with and help their child with school related issues. Three primary themes emerged: (a) Affective Responses, (b) Relationships, and (c) Mothers' Engagement and Advocacy with the Teaching and Learning Process. Each mother's story gave a voice to the disconnect felt between their Hispanic homes and the American school. The mothers shared feelings of trust, fear, communication gaps, confusion, and frustration as they described their lived experiences.
The overall aim of this study was to contribute to the field of education by providing useful suggestions to enhance the home and school relationship. Some of the suggestions included: holding a monthly or bi-monthly forum for mothers to voice concerns, coordinating Hispanic bilingual mothers to serve as volunteers for the school year, providing homework examples and instructions in Spanish, and offering tutoring classes to specifically teach Hispanic mothers how to help their children with school at home. Literature supports a dissonance between the dominant school culture and the Hispanic home culture with neither side understanding the values and norms of the other (Wortham, Murillo, & Hamann, 2002). This research may be used to provide strategies for schools to communicate effectively with Hispanic mothers and increase their engagement in both the school and their child's education.
|Commitee:||Shirley, Michael, Williams, Mitchell|
|Department:||School of Education|
|School Location:||United States -- Georgia|
|Source:||DAI-A 76/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Multicultural Education, Education, Elementary education|
|Keywords:||Academic achievement, Communication gap, Hispanic culture, Hispanic mothers, Lived experience, School culture|
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