Latinx Immigrant Parents and Their Child's Teacher: Family Engagement Experiences



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Family engagement plays a significant role in students’ academic success (Araujo, 2009; Clarke et al., 2017; Durand, 2011; Herrera et al., 2020; Jasis, 2021; Lin, 2003; Vesely et al., 2017; Weiss et al., 2006) and produces positive long-term effects in school for children (Ishimaru et al., 2016; Yull et al., 2018). However, with the increasingly diverse population in p-12 schools, there has been “a growing cultural divide between teachers and students” (Vesely et al., 2017, p. 242). A way to close the cultural divide is by understanding the perspectives of family engagement and building strengths-based parent-teacher partnerships that value and accept the knowledge and experiences of culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) families. To establish top-quality parent-teacher relationships, there needs to be an equal partnership between the two (Ogg et al., 2021). Furthermore, it is imperative to understand how CLD students and their families are impacted and further marginalized due to the limited understanding of teachers and schools on how their diversities intersect, making it challenging to build home-school connections (Vesely et al., 2017). Using the family engagement definition from Halgunseth et al. (2009) – “family engagement occurs when there is an ongoing, reciprocal, strengths-based partnership between families and their children’s early childhood education programs” (p. 3) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Education (2016) definition – family engagement is a “systematic inclusion of families in activities and programs that promote children’s development, learning, and wellness, including the planning, development, and evaluation of such activities, programs, and systems” (p. 1). The purpose of this study was to examine teachers’ and Latinx immigrant families’ perspectives of family engagement. In addition, this study sought to inform the different ways these families engage in their children’s education and provide information on how to build strengths-based parent-teacher relationships, specifically with Latinx immigrant families. This multi-case/single site case study included a Latinx immigrant family and their child’s teacher in a pre-K program. The findings described the teachers’ perspective of Latinx immigrant families’ engagement in their children’s education as positive if they were given the resources and guidance to do so. The Latinx immigrant family’s perspective on family engagement in their children’s education was more than just about academics. It was also about being present in the child’s life and providing opportunities to gain experiences. Latinx immigrant families engage in their children’s education in various ways, including at-home learning support, maintaining communication with the teacher, and motivating their children to learn. Lastly, building positive strengths-based parent-teacher partnerships is instrumental for family engagement. To create these partnerships, having two-way communication, incorporating funds of knowledge into the curriculum, and diversifying the teacher workforce are essential.



Family engagement, Funds of knowledge, Latinx parents, Students socio-emotional well-being, Teacher experiences with Latinx parents, Teacher workforce