Ethnic Minority Parents' Involvement in Education: Exploring and Understanding Their Experiences
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Lopez, Scribner and Mahitivanichcha (2001) discuss the limited volume of literature that directly addresses ethnic minority parents' involvement in their children's education and they call upon researchers to fill this gap in the literature. This study is one such positive step with its focus on exploring how ethnic minority parents of secondary school students in southern Ontario understand their involvement in their children's education. Participants in the study included three ethnic minority parents recruited from a local adult education centre, and my parents who, as ethnics minority parents, also faced challenges trying to support their children as we progressed through the Ontario educational system. Primary data were collected through in-depth, open-ended interviews approximately one hour in length. Each of the five participants was interviewed twice. Secondary data included Ontario Ministry of Education documents that addressed programs, policies, and supports for ethnic minority students in Ontario secondary schools. Fieldnotes and a research journal also provided secondary data. The findings highlight, among other things, the challenges the participants faced as ethnic minority parents with a deep desire to support their children's education, but often lacking the cultural capital valued in the Ontario school system to meet that goal. As well, I benefited greatly from this research learning about the various ways in which, in my future work as a teacher of ethnic minority students, I can integrate the knowledge, skills, and experiences of ethnic minorities into my practice to ensure that parents of the non-dominant culture have an opportunity to become highly involved in the education of their children.