Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Developing an understanding of cultural aspects and beliefs of Latino/a families experiencing the American educational system
by Sweeden, Renee Leelnorearl Presley, Ph.D., University of Missouri - Kansas City, 2011, 314; 3454581
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this qualitative study was three fold: (a) to understand the cultural context from where our Latino/a learners come from, (b) to explore how Latino/a families’ perspectives of the American educational system influence their children’s learning, and (c) to explore progressive, educational strategies and pedagogies which will empower educators to transform the education of our Latino/a students. This study was formulated by insights and questions developed from my personal and professional experience as a White educator and learner and as a mother of three bilingual/bicultural children of Latino/a descent. A heavy emphasis was placed on critical pedagogy and the sociocultural realities that impact the Latino/a learner and their education within the American educational system.

How do educators begin to develop an understanding of cultural aspects and beliefs of Latino/a families experiencing the American educational system? I explored this question by interviewing and observing Latino/a families in North Central California. My sampling group consisted of a small group of Latino/a parents whose children attended an American elementary public school, whose first language was Spanish, and who where of Latino/a descent. I used four methods to collect data: (a) five observations of a parent group, (b) two small group parent interviews, (c) one small group children interview, and (d) my own personal experience as an educator and my experience with my own Latino/a children.

The final analysis consisted of comparing the families’ sociocultural experiences, educational experiences, cultural patterns, and the hopes and dreams they have for their children. Through this analysis the findings showed that Latino/a families are highly concerned about their children’s education and have faced many challenges to provide their children with an American education. Through the voices of the families in this study you will hear that they want their children to have a good education, to have good jobs, and to be successful in life.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Barger, Rita
Commitee: Davis, Donna, Friend, Jennifer, Gonzalez, Juan, Russell, Donna
School: University of Missouri - Kansas City
Department: Curriculum and Instruction
School Location: United States -- Missouri
Source: DAI-A 72/08, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Multicultural Education, Education Policy, Curriculum development, Hispanic American studies
Keywords: Critical race theory, Cultural beliefs, Deficit perspectives, English language learner teaching practices, English language learners, Families, Latina/o, Latino critical race theory, Sociocultural theory
Publication Number: 3454581
ISBN: 978-1-124-64345-8
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