Dialogue Across Cultures: Teachers' Perceptions about Communication with Diverse Families
San Francisco, CA: Caddo Gap Press
Multicultural Education v.13 n.2, 2005, 5 pages
Presents findings on how teachers perceive parental involvement and their knowledge and practical use of culture to enhance learning. Culture is defined as a "dynamic, systematic, and historic construct" which encapsulates ethnicity and race as well as historical context, geographic location, gender, generation, age, religion, group memberships, and education level. Cultural differences challenge the effectiveness of parent/school communication where different belief systems and understanding of proper roles exacerbate basic language barriers and time/financial constraints. Forty primary school teachers in New Jersey were surveyed on two topics: parental involvement and knowledge of culture. Responders believed that communication should occur during conferences or through notes sent to the home. Time constraints resulted in the lack of parental communication. Cultural knowledge was limited to external manifestations such as food, dress, and holiday celebrations. Other issues, such as child rearing techniques, communication patterns, social values, and preferred learning methods, were not part of the teachers' cultural awareness.