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Title:Parent and teacher perspectives on Congolese students in the American education system
Author(s):Kolumban, Kathleen H
Department / Program:Linguistics
Discipline:Teaching of English Sec Lang
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
English as a Second Language (ESL)
Abstract:Parents of ESL students face a unique set of challenges as they begin to navigate the American education system after immigrating to the United States. They often utilize different home literacy practices from American parents (Heath, 1982) and have different practices for socializing their children into their language and culture (Ochs and Schieffelin, 1984). They must work to develop their understanding of the new school system and educational culture (Gaitan, 2012) and often find that obstacles such as a language barrier affect their involvement in their children’s education (Vera et al., 2010). The following study investigates Congolese parent perceptions of the education of their children in the United States. Congolese parents and ESL teachers were interviewed about their experiences in the education of the local Congolese students. Parents were asked to explain their own educational backgrounds and experiences, what kinds of home educational practices they engage in with their children, how they were involved in the education of their children, and what difficulties they had in understanding or participating in the American education system. Teachers were asked to explain their experiences in teaching Congolese ESL students, how the Congolese students differed from other groups of ESL students, and what their interactions were like with Congolese parents. The parent interviews indicated several areas where parents’ home educational practices and expectations differed from mainstream American educational practices. While the information provided by the teachers differed significantly in several areas, there were still areas of similarity in the teacher interviews, including comments about discipline and their interactions with the Congolese parents. The final analysis of the parent and teacher interviews suggests implications for school district staff interactions with Congolese students and their parents.
Issue Date:2015-04-28
Rights Information:Copyright 2015 Kathleen Kolumban
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-07-22
Date Deposited:May 2015

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