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The Role of African American Parent Involvement in Their Daughters’ Mathematics and Science Learning D. Lewis Dr. C. West-Olatunji Dr. R. Pringle Dr. T.

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Presentation on theme: "The Role of African American Parent Involvement in Their Daughters’ Mathematics and Science Learning D. Lewis Dr. C. West-Olatunji Dr. R. Pringle Dr. T."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Role of African American Parent Involvement in Their Daughters’ Mathematics and Science Learning D. Lewis Dr. C. West-Olatunji Dr. R. Pringle Dr. T. Adams L. Reid University of Florida Dr. B. Cholewa Kean University K. Byrd University of Florida 1FERA 2009-Orlando, FL

2 Purpose of the presentation To share the results of Year 1 of a funded longitudinal study that examined African American parents perceptions of their daughters’ mathematics and science learning. 2FERA 2009-Orlando, FL

3 Background The number of girls engaging in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) is growing, but based on statistics gathered by the National Girls Collaborative Project, they are not choosing STEM careers at a consistent rate. Women constitute 45% of the workforce in the US, but hold just 12% of science and engineering jobs in business and industry. (National Council for Research on Women, 2001) Despite recent assertions in the literature that the achievement gap between males and females is being closed there is no disaggregation by ethnicity. 3FERA 2009-Orlando, FL

4 Role of Gender Gender disparity in education ◦ 80% of teachers are women ◦ 40 % are principals (NCES 2001) ◦ Majority of teachers in humanities are female while 50% of teachers in mathematics and science are female (Weiss, Banilower, McMahon & Smith, 2001) 4FERA 2009-Orlando, FL

5 Parents and Academic Achievement Parents’ involvement in school activities and interaction with the teachers and their children contribute positively to educational outcomes (Belgrave & Allison, 2006). Parent expectations, at-home learning activities, and exposure to broader cultural and social contexts can also play an influential role in academic achievement (Epstein & Dauber, 1991; (Hanson, 2007). However, a number of school-related factors can affect parent involvement (Feuerstein, 2001; Hoover-Dempsey & Sandler, 1995). 5FERA 2009-Orlando, FL

6 African American Parents and Academic Achievement Factors that can encourage or discourage the amount and type of participation of African American parents: ◦ Expectations of administrators and teachers ◦ The cultural gap between African-American parents and the education system ◦ School receptivity ◦ Socioeconomic status ( Work schedule ◦ Community support ◦ Parents’ aspirations for their children, ◦ Parents’ own educational aspirations, ◦ Parents’ expectations of their children’ academic achievement (Halle, Kurtz-Costas & Mahoney, 1997; Mandara, 2006; McKay, Atkins, Hawkins, Brown & Lynn, 2003; Overstreet, Devine, Bevans & Efreom, 2005; Trotman, 2001). 6FERA 2009-Orlando, FL

7 Positionality Theory (Cooks, 2003; Harley, Jolivette, McCormic & Tice, 2002). The term positionality is rooted in feminist scholarship. Individuals are defined by their position in relation to their networks of relationships and this position determines the amount of power a person has 7FERA 2009-Orlando, FL

8 Research Question: How do parents position themselves in relation to low-income African-American schoolgirls’ mathematics and science learning? 8FERA 2009-Orlando, FL

9 Methods Framework for study - Critical Ethnography Participants ◦ The parents of 14 of 30 AA 5 th grade girls from three low resourced schools with a majority African American student population. ◦ A purposeful sampling of participants allowed the researchers to choose girls with the relevant characteristics. 9FERA 2009-Orlando, FL

10 Methods (cont.) The software program N-VIVO was used to analyze the qualitative data collected for common themes. Credibility ◦ Peer debriefing ◦ Member checking ◦ Referring to the literature 10FERA 2009-Orlando, FL

11 Results Analysis of the data revealed four major themes: ◦ Positionality ◦ Awareness ◦ Knowledge ◦ Involvement 11FERA 2009-Orlando, FL

12 Positionality Parents see themselves as the center of their children’s learning ◦ Belgrave & Alison (2006) state that parents are integral to their student’s academic achievement ◦ Our findings support current scholarships that suggest parents are key to student involvement 12FERA 2009-Orlando, FL

13 Positionality One parent stated there’s certain things I can help her with. I can help her with math, Now when it come to math, I, I take over when it come to math. So I’m pretty good at math, so I take over in math but when it come to English and science, I let someone else do that. Her uncle DJ, her uncle Gee*, you know, somebody like that in the family that good in that. 13FERA 2009-Orlando, FL

14 Awareness Parents understand their daughter’s strength and struggles in mathematics and science Funds of Knowledge (Moll, Gonzales & Amanti, 2005)-grouping of life experiences While Moll, Gonzales and Amanti have presented the idea of Funds of Knowledge of parents, this investigation provides insight into parent’s unique perspectives on their children’s attitudes and behaviors toward learning 14FERA 2009-Orlando, FL

15 Awareness One parent stated ◦ Math, yes. Science, yes. She doing good in both ‘cause like she made A’s and B’s. But and she don’t give herself enough credit either ‘cause she don’t think she’s as smart as she really is. Like when she get her test scores she act like she’s surprised. 15FERA 2009-Orlando, FL

16 Awareness Another parent stated ◦ Yeah, like I said I think she could get an A, but you know if, as long as I know she’s trying and she’s putting forth you know all her effort in doing well, you know if she gets a B and that’s what she gets, you know that’s the best she can do, then you know that’s all I can hope for. But I truly think she can get an A. 16FERA 2009-Orlando, FL

17 Knowledge/ False Knowledge Parents are cognizant of their children’s schooling process but sometimes they hold misconceptions about learning. It has been commonly believed that parents of low income minority students are not knowledgeable of the schooling process (Frasier Trotman, 2001) Our research challenges this view and puts forward that parents are knowledgeable of the curriculum, school policy, standardized testing as well as instructional practices within schools. 17FERA 2009-Orlando, FL

18 Knowledge/ False Knowledge False Knowledge One parent stated ◦ at W* there was a lot of rewards in place, they were really smart about that to me - ahmm, it made the kids perform you got to use what you got, for a while. So there were lots of rewards. And another parent stated ◦ they just learn so much at school they don’t really have to study. 18FERA 2009-Orlando, FL

19 Knowledge/ False Knowledge Knowledge One parent stated ◦ Science, you know this is their first year being taught science. Well, you know, when my other kids graduated, they really didn’t push science like they’re pushing science now. Another parent stated ◦ Science should be done…they know they teach the FCAT. I mean there’s FCAT, there’s science FCAT, they know that’s one of the things they need to pass, they need to start in 1st grade, you know? Not 5th grade. That’s where they mess up at. I mean they only had a years worth of science, that’s not enough time, but you know they managed to make it but you know they crammed a lot in in one year. In less than one year. 19FERA 2009-Orlando, FL

20 Knowledge/ False Knowledge Knowledge Another parent stated ◦ Maybe if they find a different technique you know of how they’re doing it. Maybe if they some-sometimes with kids you have to relate to whatever you know level they’re on and grab their attention so if you make it more than just textbook you know just reading a book and answering some questions, and maybe put some more into it so they can feel more excited about it or make it a little fun. Sometimes you gotta make things fun for them to be able to want to get into it. Cause if it’s boring it’s just the same thing every time you know. 20FERA 2009-Orlando, FL

21 Involvement Parent see their role in their children’s education as important and multifaceted. In the literature, parent involvement has been narrowly defined and at times equated with school contact (Trotman, 2001) The conceptualization of parent involvement needs to be broadened to encompass parent behaviors, such as homework assistance, monitoring, encouragement, and finding resources. 21FERA 2009-Orlando, FL

22 Involvement One parent stated ◦ So I’m saying how are we supposed to do this and how am I supposed to help you, I’m a graphic designer (laugh) you know I kind of need to refresh my brain so we have to either run to the internet, you know, type it in study helper or whatever or we dig out some of my old books. so I use a lot of like flash cards. And with math I just like make up problems - for whatever they are working on or we try to find like sheets on the internet or whatever. if she needs anything or… we work together. 22FERA 2009-Orlando, FL

23 Involvement Another parent stated ◦ Yeah. And I try to share my experiences you know with my kids. You know I try to tell my daughter, you know I say, don’t…don’t give up on it, just you know keep going with it, you’ll finally get the knack of it. 23FERA 2009-Orlando, FL

24 Invovlement Another parent stated ◦ True. You know, I tell them, you know, even say that if she’s slow or something, I get on their case because I told them, “Any kind of problem she have, let me know, I’ll get her the tutoring. Somehow, I’ll scrape the money up to get her the best I can.” 24FERA 2009-Orlando, FL

25 Implications Re-conceptualize parent involvement May know a lot more about pedagogy, school wide practices and teaching practices than we thought Parents need to be invited into the conversation about student achievement Counters hegemony FERA 2009-Orlando, FL25

26 Recommendations Educating teachers on the different ways parents are involved Utilizing collaborative framework for partnering with parents. Parent s becoming more adept at communicating / navigating the school system to avail themselves as a resource FERA 2009-Orlando, FL26

27 Future Research Explore synergistic discourse among African American parents. Replication study with other cultural groups. FERA 2009-Orlando, FL27

28 Selected References Belgrave, F.Z. & Allison, K.W. (2006). African American psychology: From Africa to America. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Frasier Trotman, M. (2001). Involving the African American Parent:: Recommendations to increase the level of parent involvement with African American Families. The Journal of Negro Education. 70, Halle, T., Kurtz-Costas, B., & Mahoney, J. (1997). Family influences on school achievement in low-income, African American children, Journal of Educational Psychology 89, 527–537. Harley, D.A., Jolivette, K., McCormick, K., & Tice, K. (2002). Race, class, and gender: A constellation of positionalities with implications for counseling. Multicultural Counseling and Development, 30, Hoover-Dempsey, K. & Sandler, H. (l995). Parents’ reported involvement in student homework: Strategies and practices. Elementary School Journal, 95, Ladson-Billings, G. J. (2005). Is the team all right? Diversity and teacher education. Journal of Teacher Education, 56, National Center of Educational Statistics. (2001). Condition of education. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Education and Improvement. National Council for Research on Women. (2001). Balancing The Equation: Where are Women & Girls in Science, Engineering & Technology? Trotman, M. F. (2001). Involving the African American parent: Recommendations to increase the level of involvement within African American families. The Journal of Negro Education, 70, Weiss I., Banilower, E., McMahon, K., & Smith, P. (2001). Report of the 2000 national survey of science and mathematics education. Chapel Hill, NC: Horizon Research, Inc. West-Olatunji, C. A., Baker, J. C., & Brooks, M., (2006). African American adolescent males: Giving voice to their educational experiences. Multicultural Perspectives, 8, FERA 2009-Orlando, FL

29 Contact Information Cirecie West-Olatunji, Ph. D. Associate Professor Counselor Education University of Florida 1204 Norman Hall PO Box Gainesville, FL Dadria Lewis Doctoral Student Counselor Education University of Florida 1215 Norman Hall PO Box Gainesville, FL Thomasenia Adams, Ph.D. Professor School of Teaching and Learning College of Education University of Florida 2204 Norman Hall PO Box Gainesville, FL Rose Pringle, Ph. D. Associate Professor School of Teaching and Learning College of Education University of Florida 2412 Norman Hall PO Box Gainesville, FL Blaire Cholewa, Ph. D. Assistant Professor Department of Counselor Education Kean University Union, NJ Laura Reid Masters/Specialist Student Counselor Education University of Florida 1215 Norman Hall PO Box Gainesville, FL FERA 2009-Orlando, FL


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