Date of Award

8-25-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Curriculum & Instruction

Abstract

The initial purpose of this study was to identify Latino parents’ expectations and perceptions of a dual language program in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. All of the Latino parents of children in one dual language program were invited to participate in the study. The parents who agreed to participate in the study were all mothers. Consequently, only the perceptions and expectations of Latina mothers were explored. The chosen method of this study was qualitative research to explore the expectations and perceptions of the dual language program of twenty Latina mothers of Mexican descent. There were eleven English dominant Latina mothers and nine Spanish dominant Latina mothers of kindergarteners and first graders who participated in the study. The mothers were asked to fill out a questionnaire, participate in an individual interview and participate in one of two focus groups to facilitate the data collection. The data was analyzed using Creswell’s (2007) method of reading and rereading the transcript. The data from this study produced five predominant themes that the twenty Latina mothers spoke about when asked about the dual language program. The first research question explored Latina mothers’ expectations of the dual language program. Two major themes emerged from research question one: their own professional goals for their children’s future and the goals of the dual language program that would help them realize those goals. The second research question explored Latina mothers’ perceptions of the dual language program. Three major themes arose from research question two: an to opportunity to validate the home language and maintain their culture including mothers v benefiting from the dual language program along with their children, and the mothers’ role in their in their children’s education to ensure their success in the program. The implications of this study propose building a knowledge base for parents about the dual language program so that their expectations and perceptions are grounded in the theory and principles of a dual language education. Efforts must be made to inform the parents of the goals of the dual language program. School administrators and teachers should offer trainings to help the parents understand the implementation of the dual language model and how it unfolds throughout the year. Furthermore, school administrators and teachers need to validate families’ cultures and encourage parents to become involved in whatever capacity they feel most comfortable. Furthermore this study recommends further research on how parents make educational decisions for their children, including what they expect from a dual language program and what they perceive the program entails. Since one school in the school district was the focus of the study it would be interesting to compare parental expectations and perceptions of a dual language program to other schools in the same district that are now implementing the dual language program. One relevant follow-up study could be to investigate how parental attitudes towards a dual language education change as students’ progress to higher-grade levels and how parents support their children in higher-grade levels.

Granting Institution

University of Texas Brownsville

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