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Free cultural diversity Essays and Papers - 123HelpMe

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These roles are framed by parental possession of and even more importantly, activation of cultural capital. From Bourdieu, Lareau views cultural capital as "high status cultural resources which influence social selection" (1989, p. 176) For Lareau, parents had varying resources available to support their children's education. These resources, which include educational competence, relative class position, income and material resources, and social networks, provide upper middle class families with leverage they use to advance their children's school careers in ways that were not available to working class families. Highlighting both the cultural and individual aspects of these relations, Lareau notes that within social class, individuals vary in the degree to which they activate cultural capital. Within upper middle class families there were differences in the degree to which parents intervened in the educational system.

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This work is a great step forward in our understandings of interactions between parents and schools. But it still locates answerability within families in a way that does not lead to transformation. School people are directed to recognize the tacit meanings that common or ritualized forms of parent involvement might have and offer alternatives that provide more openings to involvement--more forms of communication, diverse generation of social networks. But these are framed primarily in terms of how to get working class families more involved. In working to increase the capital and connections of working class families, Lareau's work does not realize two aspects that are outside the cultural capital framework. It does not deal with the power that resistance has in interactions between families and schools, particularly for working class families. Lack of involvement or connection with schools can in some cases be interpreted as resistance to institutional practices that disadvantage groups of children. For some parents, responsibility lies in resisting unfair activities. Because this separation is set up as a "less than" it is a deficit model, in which the problems of parent involvement are mediated by helping those with less developed strategies.

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Brantlinger et al. go beyond Epstein's descriptions of ways to connect with schools by examining how the ideas about action and the values they imply make the meanings of these actions quite different. And they move beyond Lareau's depiction of the dark side of parent involvement by looking at the act of parenting in schools relationally. Actions have consequences not only for those within a family but they have ripples because there are others in the context. For the mothers in this study, education is an entity of equity in its most general sense--it should be able to bridge the needs of multiple groups. But when used within their own family, it was a tool of status production, used to maintain the position they had earned for their child through their own hard work. They are answerable to their children first and to society second and it is in their ability to narrate the differences between these two that they are able to promote the interests of those closest to them.

Lareau's work provides an contrast to one-size-fits-all views of home-school relations. By attending to both micro and macro forces on these relations, Lareau moves discussions of responsibility beyond individuals and their commitments to education. She frames the nature of differences within social, institutional and cultural matches and resources, providing a more relational analysis than is typically conducted in this area. The activities of parents are framed in terms of both the material resources available but also the meanings that give activities shape and trajectory. Parental actions related to education are nested within conceptions of appropriate roles for relations between home and school, particularly in terms of issues related to advancing a child's interests. The have-have not nature of a cultural capital analysis shifts attention from blame to accounting for the use of resources that are inequitably distributed in society. More individually focused notions of parent involvement address the degree to which individual family units support learning (and the school's institutional practices that facilitate that support), framing answerability in terms of personal enanctment of responsibilities to one's children (at the individual or social level). In contrast, Home Advantage portrays the complexity of interactions of participants in education by linking the actions of parents and schoolpeople to cultural meanings that are connected to social class. One of Lareau's key contributions is her identification of the dark side of parent involvement. Her analysis provided a window on the stressful aspects of high intervention parenting styles, problematizing the absolute benefits of parental actions to enhance educational experiences at all costs. She points to the classic "too-much-of-a good thing" created as parents pushed to help their children excel which had ripples within their families and into the school. Families were disrupted by the close connections between home and school when children were not succeeding and school people were sometimes put in the way of a steamroller-like entity.

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Research on marginalized groups has shown that teachers' limited experience and understanding of their children's cultural backgrounds may lead to negative educational and psychological outcomes in children (Kunjufu, 2002). The Longitudinal Immigrants Families and Teachers Study [LIFTS] revealed the cultural mismatch in the school context can affect teachers' perceptions and judgments regarding immigrant children (Rogers-Sirin, Ryce, & Sirin 2014). Other studies reported that "these differences may lead to the situations in which teachers misread students' aptitudes, intents, or abilities as a result of the differences in styles of language use and instructional patterns" (Delpit, 2006, p. 167), as well as their perceptions of student's academic achievement (Hauser-Cram & Sirin, 2003), and behavioral well-being (Sirin et al., 2009). Furthermore, Muslim parents' belief about education and their interactions with schools and teachers may be misunderstood or conflicted with school rules and subsequently be viewed negatively by teachers and administrators. For example, teachers expect parents to be involved in their children's education but, this is not generally a practice in Muslim families. Thus, teachers may perceive value differences as harmful to the well-being of students in school.

A healthy relationship with family members involves identifying the needs of each family’s cultural stand; this is because a culture may play a major role in defining a family’s responsiveness to a school’s involvement....

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There are culture-specific beliefs regarding watching television, listening to music, and pursuing secular activities that do not in some way enhance spirituality (Athar, 2011). Teachers should be aware that some Muslims may have reservations regarding music. Some types of music might not be acceptable to Muslim parents. Although most Muslims have no problems with soft, relaxing music, Islamic teachings prohibit loud, violent, or depressing music (Athar, 2011). More orthodox Muslims, for example, might request that musical activities be conducted with unaccompanied voices. In addition to music, art projects involving human forms might be a concern for some Muslims (Ismail et al., 2009) whose belief in one God has led them to question the use of photos or pictures of human beings, animals or even statues that might be considered idols. Although Muslims do allow such depictions when made by children or when created as toys for children (Ismail et al., 2009), some parents may be offended by school requests to have children bring stuffed animals for show and tell activity (Borhan, 2004). Muslim parents consider stuffed animals in the same way as they do art projects, which involve human forms. Nevertheless, teachers should be sensitive to this potential concern and be prepared if some parents request that their children be excused when class photos are taken or if they request that their children not be photographed in the classroom. In addition, Muslims are not allowed to keep dogs and puppies as pets or to touch these animals (Borhan, 2004). Parents may feel offended by books, stories or movies that glorify these animals.

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Trying to understand the relations between social class and home school relations, Annette Lareau applied Bourdieu's notion of cultural capital in an examination of the interactions between parents and schoolpeople in working class and middle class, white communities. She found that family-school relationships are shaped by social class, with quite different forms of interaction. Working class parents tend to have a relationship of separateness with the school, assuming that teachers are professionals who make appropriate decisions. In contrast, middle class parents are connected to the school in ways that allow them to assert their agendas on the schools. They advocate for their children, shaping the opportunities their children had by using personal and institutional resources.

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The well-being of children is influenced not only by the legal status of parents, but also by family income and structure, parental work patterns, educational attainment, and language proficiency. If immigrants fail to assimilate in the new culture and become less proficient in the language of their new country, they are generally excluded from mainstream society. Moreover for Muslims, "the process of assimilation and acculturation is conflicting with the values, norms, and expectations of their religious and ethnic communities and those of the dominant society" (Abu El-haj & Bonet, 2011, p. 35). For example, in school, Muslim children are often kept apart from their peers as they avoid eating pork items in school lunches, fast during school physical activities, avoid direct skin and physical touch contact between post-pubescent males and females who are not direct blood relatives, and engage in other religious practices such as prayer during the day.

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