Mothers' experiences in the elementary school education of their children of mixed heritage /
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This study explores the perceptions and experiences of middle-class women, mostly mothers, regarding the elementary school education of their children of mixed heritage. Because it endeavours to provide a forum in which the voices of women are considered a source of valuable information for educators, this study contributes to the fields of feminist and mothering research. Participants assign meanings to their lived experiences (Schon, 1983; van Manen 1997) and contemplate the various ways in which a mixed heritage mayor may not affect a child's schooling. Four main participants were interviewed who are mothers whose children of mixed heritage presently attend public elementary schools in Ontario, Canada. The study had an emergent design, thus allowing the researcher to make decisions as the study progressed. Three additional participants were included in the study to provide a wider perspective on the topic. These 3 additional women were the researcher herself as she explored her self-conceptual baggage (Kirby & McKenna. 1989); the researcher's mother in an attempt to consider the motherline (Lowinsky, 1992); and a volunteer non-mother of mixed ethnicity. The study involved a total of 12 individual interviews of approximately 2 hours in length. The 4 main participants and the researcher were each interviewed twice; the researcher's mother and the volunteer non-mother were each interviewed once. The researcher also attempted a focus group and kept a journal throughout the research process. Much of the analysis centers on women's interpretations of the mixed heritage experience and on their suggestions for elementary school educators. It concludes pondering on the invisibility (Chiong, 1998) of such children within the school system and calling for increased teacher education as a way to bring the mixed heritage experience out of the shadows.