Award Date

12-1-2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Teaching and Learning

First Committee Member

Christine Clark

Second Committee Member

Jane McCarthy

Third Committee Member

Norma Marrun

Fourth Committee Member

Howard Gordon

Fifth Committee Member

LeAnn Putney

Number of Pages

289

Abstract

The United States of America is a complex, diverse nation, and the number of immigrant families grows daily. Since parents and family play central roles in their children’s future and academic achievements, the purpose of this study is to examine how immigrant parents navigate their children’s education in the United States. The goal of this research is to amplify the voices of immigrant families while informing policymakers and individuals about the racial issues and barriers that immigrant families face in society and school, and about how this affects their parenting and their children’s academic performance. This research aims to reduce teachers’ negative views about immigrant families and improve cultural practices that teachers implement in classrooms. Furthermore, this study recommend that policymakers, teachers, and school staff pay attention to the value of parental involvement of diverse groups in order to understand the cultural and lingual tenets and expectations of all students, including immigrants.

This research focused on eight Iranian immigrant parents who arrived in the U.S. with at least one child between 6-12 years old at the time of arrival in the U.S. (1.5-generation child). Consistent with the multiple case study methodology, this study comprised two phases. In the first phase, which included pre-interview sessions, participants answered demographic identity questions to determine their backgrounds, and their socioeconomic and academic status before and after moving to the U.S. Then, in the second phase, participants answered interview questions regarding their identity development and their relationships with their children, as well as the strategies they used in parenting after moving to the United States.

In order to fully understand how these immigrant parents develop their identities and navigate their children’s education in the U.S., this study aims to answer one primary and three ancillary research questions: how do immigrant parents develop their identities to navigate their 1.5-generation children’s education in the United States; how do society and school contexts impact immigrant parents’ identity development and their interactions with their 1.5-generation children; what strategies do immigrant parents and their 1.5-generation children develop and use to counter the negative effects of sociocultural pressures in the United States; how do immigrant parents and their 1.5-generation children develop positive or negative perspectives regarding the educational settings in the United States?

Analyzing participants’ pre-interviews in phase one revealed three stages of their lives as immigrants including pre-immigration, the decision and process of immigration, and post-immigration. Four major themes were constructed from analyzing transcribed data including illusion confusion, and diffusion; close-knit relationships; resilience and endurance; and innovated identity and negotiation. In order to discuss the findings of this study, Critical Race Theory (CRT) and six components of cultural wealth (Yosso, 2005) were re-examined and restructured into the study’s findings and themes. This study found that racism and neoliberalism in society and school influence Iranian immigrant parents’ identity development and the ways they navigate their 1.5-genration children’s education in the U.S. The findings of this study show that Iranian immigrant parents and their 1.5-generation children use different strategies, such as close-knit relationships and resilience to accomplish their social and academic goals in the U.S.

Keywords

1.5-Generation children's and identity development; Immigrants’ barriers; immigrants' education in the U.S.; immigrants’ identity development; immigrants’ parental involvement; parents of 1.5-generation children

Disciplines

Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Education

Language

English


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