Fitting in: voices from ethnic and linguistic minority parents presents a critical exploration of how a multicultural/multilingual public school negotiates culture with ethnic and linguistic minority students’ families. It discusses the diverse perspectives that school administrators, teachers, and parents of students in an English as a Second Language (ESL) program had on the education of English Language Learners (ELLs) and their parents’ engagement in school-organized activities. Building on their understandings of cultural capital, it discusses how an American school builds on immigrant /sojourner families’ knowledge and culture to support their children’s education.

 

A close look into the views and experiences of teachers and parents of ELLs reveals that, in spite of their apparently similar views of English Language Learners’ education and their parents’ involvement, their perspectives and expectations differ, influenced not only by the parents’ education background, but also their cultural and social capital. Communication between the school and the families plays a vital role in the ethnic and linguistic minority parents’ engagement and it can be significantly influenced by cultural bias.

 

This book is a must-read for educators and educational researchers working in contexts serving multicultural and multiethnic communities, who are willing to strive towards equity in education in times where prejudice and cultural stereotypes abound, and to challenge traditional cultural assimilation routes to dealing with cultural diversity in schools. Recommended for cultural and social foundations courses in education.

 

Fitting in: Voices from ethnic and linguistic minority parents

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  • Paula Echeverri-Sucerquia is a Professor at Universidad de Antioquia. She holds a B.A in Foreign language teaching from Universidad de Antioquia (Colombia), a MS. and a Ph.D. in Education from Southern Illinois University (U.S.A). Her research interests include critical pedagogy, culture, identity, and critical language education.

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