Fulfilling Dreams Through Education: An Immigrant Mother’s Sociocultural Narrative
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There are bodies of literature that exist on motherhood; however, the focus of these studies is on mothering in a European context. This sociocultural study focuses on my lived experiences as a mother navigating through Jamaica’s hegemonic educational structures, and managing the challenges faced by my son. Additionally, it recounts the disorienting dilemmas I experienced with my child falling seriously ill at 11 months old, and critical incidents relating to him not being able to fulfill his educational potential in Jamaica. I have looked at my experiences through Mezirow’s (1992) transformative learning theory to connect them to my journey “fulfilling dreams through education” – as an immigrant mother all in an effort to ensure a better future for my son. Also, Tripp’s (1993) critical incident theory and turning point theory is used to narrate stories of my experiences with Jamaica’s K-12 educational system, which provides little or no support for students outside the ‘edges,’ or those who do not fall within the normative standard. Further, in this study, I have incorporated a storytelling approach, a method used in narrative inquiry (Connelly & Clandinin, 1990), by telling my life stories in order to relate my experiences with the Jamaican education system to make meaningful connections. Telling these stories will facilitate a sense of awareness and help me to understand several engagements with the cultural system of education in Jamaica (Fresco, 2008). Connelly and Clandinin (1990) use the word narrative to mean “both the phenomenon (people lead storied lives and tell stories of these lives) and the method (researchers describe these lives, collect and tell stories of them, and write narratives of experience)” (p. 2). I have undertaken to do this by writing about my life experiences from recollection, and it is envisioned that the stories contained herein will serve as a source of inspiration and strength to those who read it.