African Refugee Parents' Involvement in Their Children's Schools: Barriers and Recommendations for Improvement

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The purpose of this study was to examine involvement of African refugee parents in the education of their elementary school children. The setting of the study was Northern and Southern Texas. African refugee parents and their children's teachers completed written surveys and also participated in interviews. In the study's mixed-method design, quantitative measures provided data about parent involvement at home, parent involvement at school, frequency of parent-teacher contact, quality of parent-teacher relationship, parent endorsement of children's schools, and barriers to parent involvement. Qualitative data from the open-ended questions provided data on barriers and strategies to improve involvement. Sixty-one African refugee ... continued below

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Githembe, Purity Kanini December 2009.

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  • Githembe, Purity Kanini

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The purpose of this study was to examine involvement of African refugee parents in the education of their elementary school children. The setting of the study was Northern and Southern Texas. African refugee parents and their children's teachers completed written surveys and also participated in interviews. In the study's mixed-method design, quantitative measures provided data about parent involvement at home, parent involvement at school, frequency of parent-teacher contact, quality of parent-teacher relationship, parent endorsement of children's schools, and barriers to parent involvement. Qualitative data from the open-ended questions provided data on barriers and strategies to improve involvement. Sixty-one African refugee parents responded to the survey and also participated in an in-depth face-to-face or telephone interview. Twenty teacher participants responded to an online survey. Quantitative data gathered from the parent and teacher surveys were analyzed using frequency distributions and analyses of variance. Qualitative data were analyzed by summarizing and sorting information into different categories using Weft QDA, an open-source qualitative analysis software. From these data, I identified barriers to African refugee parent involvement in their children's schools, as well as challenges that teachers face as they try to involve African refugee parents. Results of analyses of variance revealed statistically significant differences in parent involvement between African refugee parents with limited English proficiency and those with high English proficiency. A key finding of the research was that, whereas the overall level of parent involvement for African refugee parents was low, a major barrier to involvement was language. Teachers and parents cited enrolment in English as a second language programs as the best strategy to enhance parent involvement of African refugees. Additionally, parents who reported higher education levels were more involved in their children's education both at home and at school. All groups of African refugee parents reported high endorsement of their children's school. Strategies suggested to improve involvement include the use of interpreters and parent education on importance of involvement.

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  • December 2009

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  • March 17, 2010, 11:40 a.m.

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  • June 13, 2017, 12:50 p.m.

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Githembe, Purity Kanini. African Refugee Parents' Involvement in Their Children's Schools: Barriers and Recommendations for Improvement, dissertation, December 2009; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc12128/: accessed July 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .