Sunday, April 7, 2013

Low-Income Parents' Beliefs about Their Role in Children's Academic Learning


APA:
Drummond, K. V., & Stipek, D. (2004). Low-Income Parents' Beliefs about Their Role in Children's Academic Learning. Elementary School Journal, 104(3), 197-213.

Quotes:
“Snow, Barnes, Chandler, Goodman, and Hemphill (1991) found that teacher-initiated contact with parents was associated with more parent-initiated communication with school, as well as with improved student schoolwork and gains on reading achievement tests.”

“Six of the 11 parents who claimed that they should not help their child in math said they feel restricted by their own inadequate knowledge; no parent said this about reading could also be that these parents have difficulty turning their beliefs into specific behaviors; in response to the questions about what they should be doing, many parents' responses were vague despite interviewers' probes.”

Comments:
The findings from this research piece seem valid. The testing group was relatively large with a span of many schools and three different areas, I wonder if there was too much disparity and if the research would have been more beneficial if it looked more closely at one school so that there would be fewer variables in the results. The goal of the research was to learn about parents’ beliefs, not so much about the effectiveness of what they did or did not do to support their children's learning.

The main idea that I got from this was that parents do want to help their children with schoolwork. Sometimes there are barriers to doing that though, whether its a lack of time or knowledge, or feeling like they are helping their children gain independence and responsibility by not being overly involved, or that parents simply don't know how to help their children with schoolwork. The piece I found most interesting was the discourse on how teacher communication can change parent involvement. It prompted several ideas for actions I might take in my research. The one that I am most excited to look into and do is to provide parents with opportunities to learn how to effectively help their children. Also, to build suggestions into class newsletters, conferences, back to school night, etc.

My struggle with this article was that it was definitely written for people familiar with reading research, which I am not – yet. There was a lot about the process of collecting the information, less about the results. The results had a lot of numbers associated with them, that I didn’t fully understand either (standard deviations, variables, etc.). While I found some information informative, I doubt that very much of it will go into my action research.

Further Reading:
Ames, C. (1993). How school-to-home communications influence parent beliefs and perceptions. Equityand Choice, 9, 44-49.
Grolnick, W., Ryan, R., & Deci, E. (1991). Inner resources for school achievement: Motivational mediators of children's perceptions of their parents. Journal of Educational Psychology, 83, 508-517.
Epstein, J. (1986). Parents' reactions to teacher practices of parent involvement. Elementary SchoolJournal,86, 277-294.
Helfand, D. (2000, May 28). Parent teachers. Los Angeles Times,pp. B1, B5.

1 comment:

Stacey said...

Laura~
I love this:
"The piece I found most interesting was the discourse on how teacher communication can change parent involvement. It prompted several ideas for actions I might take in my research. The one that I am most excited to look into and do is to provide parents with opportunities to learn how to effectively help their children. Also, to build suggestions into class newsletters, conferences, back to school night, etc."

If you are interested in parent-school connections, and especially how they are influenced by race and class, I highly recommend Annette Lareau's book Unequal Childhoods. It's fantastic, and easy to read since it is written as a series of case studies (it's also a great model for how to write cases, which many people do for their thesis).

I'm curious, since the article talked so much about the process of collecting/analyzing data (and perhaps not as much as you would like about what they actually found), was there anything they did that you could see yourself doing in your own data collection? Any ideas for your own methods, or how you might want to approach your research?

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