Beyond parking lots and playgrounds: Engaging newcomer parents on the other side of the school doors. EDUC 5002G: Research Methods in Education Research Proposal Presentation Monday, April 20th, 2010 Maria Macri
Plan for tonight ... Background and introduction Rationale for the proposed research study Methodology Anticipated results Summary & Conclusion
Toronto as a hub for immigrants
Children of newcomer parents are left negotiating home customs/beliefs alongside western ideologies – newcomer parents are not as immersed in the values and norms of western culture as their children
Further perpetuated by the access to media and digital technologies that children have – these parents are relatively computer illiterate compared to 2nd, 3rd generation parents.
Rationale Add to the literature that examines the factors impeding parent engagement in schools but specific to the newcomer experience School staff perspective Parent/Guardian perspective Provide a framework for successful parent engagement tied to digital literacy The focus of my interrogation is centered on the constructions of social class and parental engagement through the academic journey; it will draw upon themes of immigration and belonging, diversity and language and social capital in an effort to explain the level and quality of parental engagement.
Focus on Parents of Students in Junior Grades
Preliminary data suggests that this is a time when parent involvement in school declines
Sensitive pre-adolescent period marked by distancing from parental unit
Parents are newcomers with their first language a language other than English (Spanish, Portuguese, Tigrinia, Arabic etc)
focused mostly on settling and adjusting to a new country, a new language, a new climate and a new way of doing things = conflict between child’s western experience and their own traditional beliefs further perpetuating the wedge between parents and children
n = 150
Focus on the unengaged parents
Teachers often assume that these parents are passive in their child’s learning and are then less likely to engage parents in discussions about their child’s learning (Dornbusch & Glasgow 1997).
Methodology – Early Stages Will involve the collaboration between school staff, community partners and families. Data will be derived from both parents (through interviews/focus groups) and school staff (online survey tool).
TDSB (3 Model Schools)
Community Agency (NYCH)
Community Group (Lawrence Heights Education Working Group)
Families in this neighbourhood of planned revitalization has been extensively surveyed, have had their needs assessed in door to door outreach activities, focus groups etc. Data from these sources will be coded
Translators will be used to translate recruitment flyers and be on hand in the schools’ priority languages during the study period
Methodology – The Action Plan Using the school as the study environment, an intergenerational technology literacy workshop will be designed Study recruitment flyers will be translated, posted at the schools, sent home with the children and selective outreach by the community engagement worker at each school The study will require the participation of both the child and the parent/guardian and they will be consented into the study on a voluntary basis
Methodology – The Specifics
The first phase will have the students create a one hour workshop for their parent to include both academic and leisure uses of the computer
Students will work with study staff to create and finalize the workshop
Students can engage their parents in conversation to determine their interests
Topics can include:
Microsoft Word – the basics
Popular Websites – Youtube, Wikipedia
How to download and edit photos
Setting up an email account
In the second phase students will then work one-on-one with their parents to facilitate the workshop with them at school
Workshops will be supervised by study staff
Workshops will be scheduled and made available at various times – lunch, after-school, during school time
Methodology – Data Collection
To unpack the experience of teaching their parents, students will be asked to reflect on the implementation of the workshop
This will be done in a focus group setting facilitated by study staff
Data will be audio recorded
Parents will complete a survey (translated copies will be made available) obtaining their feedback and opinion on the overall experience to include questions about the school environment during this process
Any case situations that may arise will be highlighted
increased sense of belonging in the school environment
a sense of empowerment having gained knowledge on the technology their children use on a regular basis.
they will list very traditional school-initiated activities as modes of engaging parents
will be likely to lay blame on lack of parent engagement on the parents themselves demonstrating a lack of awareness of the issues and circumstances burdening their students.
Develop a framework on how to engage parents of various cultural backgrounds to consider language, culture, customs and beliefs.
Future research direction would see this happen on a larger scale and incorporate students’ academic achievement, as well as non-academic outcomes (behaviour, attitude, bullying etc) into the study results.
Parents are key players in their child’s learning whether they are perceived as engaged or not
Demonstrates that engagement does not necessarily have to be tied to academics all the time; teachers can interact with parents on different levels in different settings beyond the Parent Teacher interview or the phone call home
Community partnerships can play a key role in assisting already over-burdened teachers with creating opportunities within the school for parents to become involved in
Newcomer communities have special considerations that need to be taken into account that may impact a students academic journey
Consider language, culture, customs and beliefs
Compounded by the socioeconomic realities of the neighbourhoods they live in