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Student Parents

jkang's picture

I really enjoyed Joanna Cattanach's article "Student Parents to Improve Student Learning."  I feel like we often talk about the roles of students and teachers in classrooms, but we often leave out the roles that parents play in the learning and education of their students.  Many educators often cite that parents must get involved in their childrens' education, but often those discourese do not take into account the accessiblity of the American education system, especially if parents are unable to speak English or are not aware to the extent that teachers and other educators wish for them to be involved. 

I thought the article highlighted positive examples of how both schools and parents worked together to engage students and improve student learning.  I enjoyed how the article highlighted cultural differences that may make it seem like Hispanic parents are not engaged: "Knowing your child has homework and goes to school and is passing and not in trouble often constitutes engagement in many Hispanic homes.  Seeing that the homework is finished, offering to help, findiing out from teahers how well their student is doing compared to others, assessing where their children can improve, andhow they should be preapred or the futures are not steps many Hispanic parents see asnecessary for their child's educational success." (23)

This reminds me of Lareau and her concepts of "concerted cultivation" and "natural growth."  For parents in upper or middle class (many times white) families, going that extra step and talking to teachers and making sure their children finish their homework is finished is considered a part of being a good parent.  For lower class parents (often minorities), just making sure that the child goes to school may be what good parenting constitutes.  I think there are shortcomings to Lareau's argument, as it oversimplifies and erases whole populations of people (for example, she does not talk about Hispanic parents in Unequal Childhoods), but I think it is a good way to start thinking about how the culture of learning in the household as set by parents may not align or correspond exactly with the culture of learning the schools expect parents to construct.