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The American educational system is multi faceted mired with numerous hurdles and opportunities, in order for it to work systematically there must be principles embedded in it to ensure that all the parties taking part in the system are fully accountable. In order for the educational system to achieve its objectives, teachers and parents must gear their efforts towards attaining analogous goals for the children. Parents should be empowered with the vital knowledge so that they are in a position to understand the demands exerted on teacher's time and the energy (Macfarlane, 2002). Moreover, the teachers must be roused to the innumerable concerns that parents have about their children's education and ultimately their life goals. Inherently intertwined within this confront is the dire need for the entire schooling community to operate in accord where parents, children and teachers feel esteemed, supported and heard.
There are torrents of challenges broached by both parents and teachers who have to deal with dissimilar cultures, values and systems. The presence of immigrants in the U.S pre school system can be seen as both a challenge and a learning opportunity for the school administrators and the teachers. Conversely, parents have got their share of strain to contend with as they fall short of the vital knowledge on how to participate in the education system in order to impact their children performance positively. Broached with similar challenges, it's logical for both the teachers and the parents of the immigrant students to forge a working relationship, which will enable them to operate as a unit to brazen out a common challenge.
The uttermost challenge that both the parents and the students of the immigrants have to deal with is cultural incongruity. At the pre school education level, most children are usually raw and uninformed on the social norms and cultural values of the American people this creates a rift between them and the native students as they are perceived as aliens and uncultured. When teachers are not well-versed with the special cultural attributions of the alien student a communication barrier is created creating anxiety in the learning environment. In order for the teachers to participate in their teaching duty effectively, where the immigrant students are concerned, they must deduce first hand information concerning the students from their parents a factor which will help them design their curriculum to accommodate the varied needs of the students encountered in the classroom.
There is multitude of barriers that immigrant parents have to contend with as they get attuned to the environment; their expectations vary in relation to how they expect the teachers to relate with their children in the education system. However, parents can play an active role by ensuring that they approach the teachers personally during the first learning week so that they can furnish them with all the vital details they need to know concerning their children.
This paper will delve into a through examination of the potential sources of divergence, in relation to how immigrant parents enmesh with teachers in the new educational system in order to propel their children towards their life goals. Further, this research will analyze the myriad challenges that both immigrant parents and children broach in the American education system. For the purposes of garnering all the facts and perspectives in relation to this topic various articles and research papers will be utilized.
Listening to the Voices of Immigrant Parents, by Jennifer et al is one such article which will be scrutinized in this research to establish the various concerns raised by the immigrant parents over the American education system and how they think it affects their children performance. Diversity and the new immigrants by miller is another paramount source of information which will help into probing the various diversities brought forth by the immigrants who settle into America and pursue education.
An implicit view on the issue of creating a workable rapport between teachers and the immigrant parents will be inferred from the famously know volume teaching to transgress: Education as the practice of freedom by hooks. In order to spawn forth the best strategy on how the whole American education system can cope with the issue of immigrants in the educational sector this research will borrow concepts extended by. Multicultural Education Training and Advocacy entitled Attention immigrant parents. Generally, this research will illuminate into the fact that pre school teachers can be able to establish a good working rapport with the immigrant parents and children through creation of good communication system and cultural integration which will help to assuage their disparities and misunderstandings.
2.0 Literature Review.
Immigrants who move to US to settle permanently are immediately confronted by the edifying disparity between their culture and the American culture. Culture is a very powerful social instrument which affects the way people behave, make decisions, relate with others and fit in the society. The cultural discrepancy between the aliens and the Americans creates a rift because it eliminates the common platform through which views and opinions are shared. Constant fear of being misconstrued vehemently thrives between the distinct parties throttling any effort of the two to work together. The challenge becomes more severe in the educational system where teachers and parents must work in homogeny to ensure success for the children.
A research conducted by Felgado, (2005) established the fact that the major reasons why pre school students fail in their academic work is poor or lack of participation of their parents in their educational matter (pg.91) the study further found out that 78% of all the parent who participated actively in their children education propelled their children to achieve good grades, hence the issue of parental participation in the pre school education becomes inevitable (pg.102). Full parental support and involvement in children's education is a very crucial ingredient in education it forms a prelude to the unbeaten child's performance. Though the media has been upbeat to elucidate on the conflicts experienced in schools owing to immigrants and the broken communication they cause, it has been reluctant to enumerate on how this colossal problem can be dealt with discreetly. Moreover, a lot of literature spawned in relation to immigrants and education does not allude to the significance of forging a positive working relationship between parents and teachers. A lot of prominence is given to the immigrants as the source of the problem due to the clashing cultures. Nonetheless, some scholars have endeavored to highlight how immigrants' preschool students can benefit from the U.S educating system through a coordinate work of teachers and parents.
Hooks (2004) is convinced that the Educational institutes must play the greatest role in establishing reciprocal communication channels through which all the parents whether native or immigrants can access help and voice out their opinions. The obstruction of communication between the American teachers and the immigrants is created by poor communication, pre mature evaluation, prejudices and poor structures for conveying message. It's therefore very necessary to establish the best channels through which communication is launched so that parents can easily access the teachers to address any concern they may have or report any grievances to the school administration. Immigrant parents and children must fully blend to the educational system and the first step toward achieving this goal can be mandated by educational institutes through creation of accommodative environment which tolerates diversity and different cultures.
According to Desiree Qin,(2004) "Both the parents and the students must feel accepted as part of the whole system."(pg.6) The registration process should include orienting parents to the norms and the expectations of the school, such things as school policies, procedures, grading structure, and programs should be offered in the native language of the particular immigrant. This goes a long way in ascertaining the multiplicity of the education offered in that particular school. Through direct face to face communication, parents who have not been exposed to the U.S educational system must be informed on the structure and the format of the course schedules and the particular activities packed in each academic calendar.
Forging a workable relationship between the pre school teachers and the parents is the absolute test, it involves a lot of patience and understanding where both the parties are supposed to play an active role to ensure that they create a common platform through which they can communicate and work in unison. The teachers, who are quite equipped with the vital knowledge on how to deal with cultural diversity, must take the lead in creating a foundation for this relationship to flourish. Immigrant parents have innumerable assumptions about school basing their views on their prior experiences during their schooling days which often times are fundamentally different from those of their children (Miller, 1995) As Miller, assert "A parent who attended a very formal school may find it difficult to understand the educational value of play in the early years. (pg.23)" So when you tell such a parent that child need to play as part of learning experience conflict is likely to erupt. Sometimes the jargon that is used in the schools in relation to the curriculum and attainments does not in filter into the minds and this makes them feel isolated as though their role in their children's education is not significant.
Teachers should create a bridge through which parents can access them with their various concerns, a culture of openness should be inculcated in the system to ensure that parents are able to voice their concerns and that the teachers tackle the named issues diligently. Even if most immigrants are gnawed by other social matters like racial discrimination, prejudices, poverty and alienation teachers should create a rapport with them and enable them voice out their hurdles. Teachers need not be answerable for their problems but listening in creates an understanding which is vital in order for a good teacher-student relation to thrive. Teachers have the ethical obligation to enter into dialogue with immigrant parents concerning their children in order to be well equipped with all the background information necessary for augmenting their understanding in order to forge a good working relationship with the students.
Parents on their own behalf have got the mandate to blend with the education system through active participation in their children's education. Parents should make every effort to have a close talk with their children teachers in order to build a relationship of trust. The best time for parents to meet with the teachers is during the first week in order for the two parties to meet when there is no complain. The initial meeting opens a channel through which the teachers and the parent can be united with a common goal, a goal of establishing success in the life of the student.
When there is no practicable working relationship between the parents and the teachers, children suffer most. This is because the teachers are not in apposition to understand them and tackle them in relation to their cultural inclinations. As Massachusetts State Department of Education noted.(1990) the lack of sensitivity to the behavioral inclinations of an immigrant student may lead the teacher to maltreat or misapprehend the child's conduct and this may garner tension in the classroom scenario affecting the performance of the child (pg.41). An issue of significant importance is having direct participation of the immigrant parent in to the educational system; this would create latitude through which the teacher and students are able to operate in accord.
Milagros, Campbell (2006)highlighted the fact that teachers have to play an active role in ensuring that they remit vital information to parents concerning the progress of their children in numerous areas. Teachers have to structure the information carefully so that it reflects how they value the children not as academic achiever's but as human. If a teacher handles, his report on the progress of children gauchely the parents may be dismayed and totally discouraged probing them to think that their children are already being judged harshly and misjudged such a message has a massive potential to damage both the immigrant parents and the students. While discussing and evaluating the progress of the child teachers must be keen to ensure that the parents understand the make sure parents understand the background and the significance of the information conveyed concerning their children. Teachers must always remember that the greatest concern that a parent has on his child is their well being and their progress.
3.0 Articles Analysis.
According to a study carried out by Jennifer Adair and Joseph Tobin dubbed "Listening to the Voices of Immigrant Parents." It was deduced that many immigrant parents opt for an educational curriculum that gave a lot of emphasis on the academic instruction. Most of the immigrants scorn against a system which teaches their children of their native language and blend their native system with the American system. The findings further established that parents preferred teachers who were more directives in the cases where disoutes were concerned as this would help to enhance discipline and good conduct on their children.
Jennifer et al do not quite agree with the results deduced from their study as they think it would be important for the students to have bilingual education which would aid in assimilating constructivism in their education (pg.4) There is a remarkable achievement garnered through childhood education for it helps in enhancing communication skills and interpersonal relation skills. When bilingual education is embraced the students are more empowered to understand their own world and their culture and this helps them to blend it with the foreign culture which forms their foundational education. In cases where it is not embraced the educational practitioners employ hierarchical communication with the students and the parents instead of reciprocal and as a result the students are not at ease to express their concepts or views in the classroom.
The study they carried asserts the significance of holding dialogue between the immigrant parents and the teachers. The dialogue should be tagged with understanding with no contention or adversary. This kind of rapport helps both the teachers and the parents to talk through their doubts and ambivalence concerning the best plans necessary to steer the child towards attainment of his life goals. Many forms of communications should be enhanced between the teachers and the immigrant parents helping to develop consensus and mutual trust.
Teachers in all their endeavors should support the goals that the parents have established for their children education. The childhood education and care programs should balance sensitivity to the immigrant's culture and language with the need to help the immigrant child learn the host country's language soonest possible. (Jennifer et al, 1997) There must be a systematic way of blending the immigrants' culture with the American culture in order to help the students adjust to the education milieu first. Their native culture should not be sacrificed but should be integrated with the American culture so that the students will lose nothing.
Desiree Baolian Qin in his study of the early childhood education "Our Child Doesn't Talk to Us Anymore: Alienation in Immigrant Chinese Families" in relation to the Chinese immigrants asserted the need for the students to be taken through bilingual curriculum. This is because when students are taken through the new country's education system ignoring their native culture and language this alienates them from their family routes and they become disoriented without a moral and value basis in their conduct. Qin expresses the concern that the students which go through the American education system without having to study their background culture shift their attention from their cultural value and embrace the foreign culture a factor which creates a rift between them and their parents.
The system creates an emotional detachment so that the students are no longer interested in their parents during adolescence. The characteristics commonly found amongst the youths who under go the American culture and training without giving any consideration to the Chinese system include lack of emotional affinity, decreasing communication, and decreasing parental involvement in children's academic and psychosocial lives(Qin,2004). This fact can cause emotional anguish to the Chine parents who value a good emotional relationship with their children. Children are no longer bothered to check on their parents, and the family relationships disintegrate through the alienation so that there is no longer understanding between parents and children.
When dual frame education which encompasses both the Chinese back ground and the American culture is pursued, it is still eclipsed by the increasing demands that are exerted on the parents who have to work extra hard to cater for the daily needs of the family other factors like structural and linguistic barriers still interfere causing it to be ineffective (pg.3). In order for the parents to minimize the level of alienation in their children later in life it's important that they get involved intensely in the earliest childhood education. Notably, some immigrant Chinese students who have solid foundation in their cultural education still manage to perform well in their upper education irrespective of the alienation and the souring relationships their share with their parents. Immigrant children may continue to do well academically.
The research carried by Angela et al "The Education of Children in Immigrant Families." gives a keen emphasis on the importance of enmeshing the varied immigrants culture into the American culture in order to facilitate a uniform platform through which students access education. Diversity should never be treated as an hindrance but rather as an opportunity for further exposure and more knowledge so immigrants should enhance their culture and at the same time embrace the American culture in order to thrive amidst the integration. For instance when a student understands how families organize their lives within specific contexts of reception can afford us ways of understanding the wide range of experiences children live (Angela et al, 2009). It is by understanding the other cultures that acceptance is built and where there is acceptance knowledge cannot be hindered.
By embracing their culture together with the new norms and values observed in America, children spawn their developmental path ways making them fit in their society and the metropolitan American culture.
Milagros Morillo-Campbell in "promoting ell parental involvement: challenges in contested times." feel that the key o successful amalgamation of the diversified cultures of the immigrants into the American education system is by involving the parents in the education. The non English speaking parents should join the English Language Learners(ELL) and be taught on how to communicate with the teachers in order to establish a good working relationship. The traditional involvement of parents in the educational sector should be embraced because this move is culturally relevant and linguistically appropriate (Morillo, 2006)
Many immigrants are not able to participate in the schooling process of their children because they don't know English and cannot thus converse with the teachers, however by learning English they become better placed and can play the role of mediator between their children and their teachers. In order to enhance the involvement of the parents into the education system the program should be funded so that both the parents and teachers can commune reciprocally and help the children to reach their potential. .
In order for this strategy to be fully implemented in the educational sector the American education system should support the traditionally community based education targeting the enlightenment of the parents in order to enhance their participation in helping the children with their educational obligations.
Researchers, educators, teachers and parents should work in accord to enhance the betterment of the education offered to the immigrant students. Owing to the growing number of the immigrants residing in America it is important to note that their success affects the destiny of the U.S. hence their educational success should be pursued diligently. The professionals who have the mandate of dealing with the immigrants should create a leeway through which the parents of the immigrant students will become involved with their education directly.
Establishment of good communication measures and channels is the hall mark through which the barriers to offering excellent education to immigrants is buffered. By facilitating a good child and parent relationship and communication goes a long way in minimizing the generational gaps which create alienation. Schools should both educate and support the parents on how to support the children and enlighten them on their culture and back ground for proper cultural integration. The most important facet in ensuring that immigrants obtain excellent education is empowering them through knowledge, accepting them and involving their parents in their educational progress.