Home and School Crossing Boundaries

Bronfenbrenner (1919), Bourdieu (1977a, 1977b) and Bourdieu & Passeron (1977) assert that since cultural experiences in the home facilitate children’s adjustment in school, children with higher socioeconomic status enter school more familiar with the public school’s requirements. Additionally, Bronfenbrenner (1979) posits that the onset of this transition begins with the child’s relationship with the immediate family, and that differing teaching strategies of schools and parents will lead to conflict between the two environments. He further suggests that “without specialized training teachers and childcare workers are unlikely to be sensitive to culturally linked learning styles…without cultural sensitivity children’s behavior will be subjected to misinterpretation” (Bronfenbrenner (1986) p. 151). Bronfenbrenner (1986) adds that conflict in differing teaching styles could inherently interfere with parents augmenting similar interpretations and understanding of school strategies. Understanding children in their everyday environment is advocated, since many children’s homes and neighborhoods may differ from their school settings.

Conversely, Shirley (1986) and Lareau (1987) agree that prior knowledge, similar attitudes and language similar to the school’s culture can enhance one’s position culturally. They postulate that higher income status does not automatically imply that all middle-class parents will take advantage of opportunities afforded them. However, they are more likely to be familiar with the school’s curriculum than working class parents, and to intervene more readily in the school setting.

Garcia Coll, Meyer, and Brillon (1995) posit that when researchers fail to examine cultural normative behavior patterns within each culture group, the children from those cultures are prevented from actualizing their own full potential as individuals. They further contend that, “When minority groups are evaluated by the majority using majority values, behaviors, and attitudes as standards, they will more than likely be judged as inferior” (p. 191). Successful navigation for children from their own cultural context to the cultural context of schools requires bi-directional understanding of both cultures (Delpit, 1988; Holiday, 1985a; Ladson-Billing, 1994; Ogbu, 1988). Ford (1992c) further contends that youth who are unable to negotiate the two cultures simultaneously will confront more obstacles to academic achievement. In order to display different ways to interconnect home teaching with school teaching, the Foundation will provide information on the following topics in 2016:

  • Interaction between parent/family and child
  • When do home and school connect?
  • What does this connection look like?
  • When do we know that the connection is a healthy one?

The Joseph and Lauretta Freeman Foundation

P.O. Box 3209
Hampton, VA 23663
617-834-5935 (mobile)

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The Directors:

Clancie Wilson, Ph.D.
Executive Director and Founder

Marvin Wilson, MM, CMC
Program Director

Alexander Wilson, Pharm.D.
Medication Management Advisor

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