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D. Lewis Dr. C. West-Olatunji Dr. R. Pringle Dr. T. Adams Dr. B. Cholewa L. Reid University of Florida 1 2009 AMCD/ACES Conference Gabarone, Gabarone.

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Presentation on theme: "D. Lewis Dr. C. West-Olatunji Dr. R. Pringle Dr. T. Adams Dr. B. Cholewa L. Reid University of Florida 1 2009 AMCD/ACES Conference Gabarone, Gabarone."— Presentation transcript:

1 D. Lewis Dr. C. West-Olatunji Dr. R. Pringle Dr. T. Adams Dr. B. Cholewa L. Reid University of Florida AMCD/ACES Conference Gabarone, Gabarone

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.

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.

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)

5 The Role of Culture and Ethnicity African American students Underrepresented in gifted programs (Ford, 1998, 1996; Ford & Harris, 1999; Patton, 1992) Overrepresented in mentally retarded, learning disabled and emotionally disturbed categories (The Civil Rights Project, 2003; U.S. Department of Education [USDOE], Office of Special Education Programs [OSEP], 2002). This is primarily due to classroom and societal factors such as teachers’ attitudes and high stakes assessments (West-Olatunji, Baker & Brooks, 2006).

6 The Role of Culture and Ethnicity Another challenge for African American students is the ethnocentric monoculturalism in schooling environment. (Ladson-Billings, 2005) Some consequences of cultural marginalization low-end tracking (Oakes, 2005) low teacher expectations (Tyler, Boykin & Walton, 2006), and an increase in punitive actions (Brooks, West-Olatunji & Baker, 2005). The correlation between ethnicity and poverty in schools further aggravates the situation for children of diverse populations.

7 Poverty and Schooling Nearly half of the students in schools attended by the average African American or Latino American student are poor or near poor. ( Frankenberg, Lee & Orfield, 2003) There is a high correlation between socioeconomic status of the child and mathematics achievement (National Science Foundation, 2003).

8 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).

9 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).

10 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

11 Research Question: How do parents position themselves in relation to low- income African-American schoolgirls’ mathematics and science learning?

12 Methods Framework for study - Critical Ethnography Participants The parents of 30 AA 5 th grade girls from three low resourced schools with a majority African American student population. A purposeful sampling of participants will allow the researchers to choose girls with the relevant characteristics.

13 Methods (cont.) Data Sources Individual semi formal interviews were conducted with the parents. Each interview was approximately 35 mins. Data Analysis Data collection and analysis took place concurrently. Each interview was transcribed and the researchers looked for recurrent themes, assigned codes and identified patterns. This cycle continued until a point of saturation was reached.

14 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

15 Results Analysis of the data revealed four major themes: Awareness Knowledge Involvement Positionality

16 Awareness Parent’s awareness of their daughters strengths, interests and attitudes: She seems to-to like them, um…like I said I’ve never seen her uh like really say, “I just you know just prefer science,” or “I just prefer math.” I haven’t seen that yet. She kind of has a-a balance right now Um, she knows it has to be done. So I don’t think she’s very enthusiastic or like you know, something that holds her interest for a very very long time or something like that. Um, but she gets it done Yeah, like I said I think she could get an A, but you know ifas 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.

17 Knowledge Outlines parents’ knowledge of: (a) the various aspects of learning and (b) their daughters’ abilities, interests, and strengths: Yeah, yeah, yeah, because I’m quite sure they were very aware because just like I said this is the first year that the kids, well I can say my daughter has really been introduced to science. It’s just, this year, her 5th grade year. Yeah. 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. Probably more hands on. More hands on instead of the reading and the answering the questions and stuff. I mean she likes to read but she likes more the experimental part. The you start it, work it, and see the finished result, she like that. She like that part, and see that’s what I like about math.

18 Knowledge (cont.) ….they’re missing a lot of science, but they were able to pass the test. You know but still, you know there’s all that time in between. So they only concentrate on what they need to, like 3rd grade there was reading, there was math, and then 5th grade there’s science, 4th grade was writing. So you know they concentrate on one specific subject or two you know certain subjects in that particular grade…enough to pass the test that they need to pass. That’s what they’re doing. And then once the test is over, then they go back to the beginning of the book because in math, they started out, they started out at the end of the book and worked their way back up, instead of at the beginning of the book. So once testing is over, then they cover the beginning, what they missed.

19 Knowledge (cont.) I guess if you have a teacher that’s doing more than just coming to work and teaching a class, you know, where they just really love what they’re doing. And then I think that’ll pull something out of the kids cause they see it and now they’re not feeling like I’m just doing work cause I got to do my work. They doing they work because they like to do they work. Cause their teacher like teaching them and doing, not just she doing a job. 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.

20 Involvement The variety of ways are parents participate in their daughter’s education: And since she’s an A-B student, she’s not-she’s not used to making C’s and D’s, so you know that kind of like, knocked her, I would say it kind of like dis-encouraged her a little bit with science, so I kind of kept encouraging her, saying, “You can understand, bring the book home, we’ll do it together,” 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.”

21 Positionality Parents’ experiences in mathematics and science appear to shape their perceptions of their daughters learning in these areas: You know how it is, I’m a girl math is hard that kind of stuff so I - I don’t want her to think like that way and math and science weren’t my favorite but I still always kind of stick it to ‘em. I think by the time she is in eight grade or, you know, even middle school she’ll see the clear difference cause I did, I saw the difference. Boys were excited, you know, I was only excited when we were doing experiments. I was never excited when we were doing the actual science or even a science test, oh my God So, and I didn’t like social studies or science either so it’s probably just bores her.

22 Implications Low income AA parents: May know a lot more about pedagogy, school wide practices and teaching practices than we thought Could be a resource that counters hegemony that causes traumatic stress.

23 Recommendations Given that parents may be an untapped resource, counselors need to open a dialogue with parents to facilitate giving voice about their children strengths and learning processes. Specific interventions might include: newsletters the development of newsletters that are parent operated chat” time Before- and after-school “chat” time” with educators at the school to informally discuss parent concerns workshop Parent workshops that reflect parent interests

24 Future Research Further understanding of the reflexivity between parents’ experiences in mathematics and science and their daughters’ positionality is warranted. A replication study that explores parent perceptions and mathematics and science learning among other cultural groups would be of interest.

25 Selected References Belgrave, F.Z. & Allison, K.W. (2006). African American psychology: From Africa to America. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. 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, 3-9.

26 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Support for this research is provided by The National Science Foundation Project # : "An Investigation of African American Girls‘ Positionality in Science and Mathematics”

27 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


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