- An ethnography on understanding parental involvement in U.S. schools from the perspectives of Latino parents: theoretical and methodological considerations
- II International Conference on Ethnography and Education, Barcelona, Spain
- Book/source title
- II International Conference on Ethnography and Education: Migrations and Citizenships: Proceedings
- Barcelona: Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
- Document type
- Conference contribution
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
The ethnographic study presented herein is an attempt in identifying ways in which Latino parents in different communities (a community based organization, an after church group, a community organizing group, and a school group) who have undergone training by a university researcher learn how to use ethnographic research techniques and methods that help them understand schools, how to use data, and how they can become empowered by conducting their own research. Using focus groups with parents, audiotapes of each meeting, and informal interviews with parents, the training and research was undertaken during 1999 to 2002 and was reinitiated during 2005 in communities with high concentrations of Latinos in the greater metropolitan area of Boston, Massachusetts.
While the study shows that each parent group responded differently to the training of ethnographic methods, and some demanded a greater focus on issues that were critical for them, much was learned about this intervention and about the perspectives of Latino parents that yields theoretical and methodological considerations. While the intervention proved to be useful, it is clear that it needs to be accompanied by literacy support, and university linked programs to communities.
Among the methodological considerations gained from this study are several: 1) ethnographic research needs to be demystified for consumption by community groups, 2) the academic language of ethnography needs to be concretized, using Paulo Freire’s notion into metaphors and examples derived from every day life, 3) ethnographic research needs to be goal and action oriented, whereby participants can relate the immediacy of their needs to useful outcomes, and 4) ethnographic research linking university researchers to community members, through organizations and agencies, initiates needed dialogue, research opportunities, and political strategy-building. The theoretical considerations derived from this study show that parental involvement particularly for Latino parents, needs to be contextually reframed at different stages of incorporation, and adaptation to U. S. society. Latino parents become differentially involved in schools based on their levels of education, access and use of first and second languages, social and cultural capital knowledge, generational and country of origin and host family patterns and political consciousness. Ethnographic research can actually gain from the participatory roles and sense of empowerment that these Latino parents’ perspectives shed.
If you believe that digital publication of certain material infringes any of your rights or (privacy) interests, please let the Library know, stating your reasons. In case of a legitimate complaint, the Library will make the material inaccessible and/or remove it from the website. Please Ask the Library, or send a letter to: Library of the University of Amsterdam, Secretariat, Singel 425, 1012 WP Amsterdam, The Netherlands. You will be contacted as soon as possible.