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RESEARCH ON PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT ON THE SPIRIT LAKE RESERVATION
Longie (1995) conducted research on absenteeism on the Spirit Lake Nation Reservation, in which he collected the attendance records of all students in eighth grade through their senior year of high school. He compared attendance to academic achievement test scores and high school graduation rates. The study also included interviews with parents and school personnel.
Important findings from this study were:
A LITTLE MORE DETAIL ON THIS STUDY........
Let's address this last point; it is very important (that
is why it is listed under important findings (-:
Two, non-exclusive hypotheses were offered by the author.
Again, the author offered two possible explanations.
One of the possibilities is the same as was just mentioned above regarding Native American students feeling that their culture had been rejected by the schools, and thus a feeling of alienation.
It was also clear from the parent interviews that students needed to be taught to take responsibility for their own learning, but that, too often, this teaching did not occur in the home. This failure to teach responsible habits of attendance, consistent completion of schoolwork, etc. was of particular concern because, in many cases, the school personnel did not appear prepared to teach these behaviors.
Two common attitudes were identified among many (although certainly not all) teachers in predominantly Native American schools. There were the ‘rescuers’ who were trying to help the poor Indian, and provided minimal structure and discipline. They would pass students with poor attendance and/or performance out of unwillingness to damage the student’s self-esteem or add school failure to a student’s existing socioeconomic burden. At the other extreme were the ‘standard bearers’, who were determined that all students must meet the same standards and if Native American students were behind academically, they failed, period. Neither of these types of classrooms provide the support students need to improve their academic skills or learn responsible habits. In the absence of appropriate structure in the classrooms, parental support is more important than ever.
In Longie’s (1995) study of absenteeism, all of the (non-indian) school personnel who were interviewed believed that whether a teacher was Indian or not was irrelevant, that students who were chronically absent would be regardless of who taught them. In contrast, the parents interviewed unanimously agreed that having a non-American Indian teacher had a tremendous impact on their children’s learning. Parents believed that teachers’ failure to understand their children’s community, value system and learned social behavior resulted in miscommunication and insensitivity on the part of the teacher and distrust on the part of the student. One question which was NOT asked in the interviews (but, in retrospect, would have been good information to have) was whether parents had tried to educate teachers regarding their children, community and culture, and, if so, what the response had been on the part of the schools.
Future research and application of these findings recommended by the author were in the areas of :
Clark, J. E. (1983). Values and academic achievement
among American Indian high school students in North Dakota. Unpublished
doctoral dissertation, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks.
GENERAL RESEARCH ON PARENT INVOLVEMENT IN MIDDLE CHILDHOOD
RESEARCH FINDINGS TO DATE
Years of practice wisdom, theory, and related areas of
research (i.e., the importance of the home literacy environment, parental
provision of a stimulating literacy and material environment (Snow et al., 1991),
*high expectations and moderate levels of parental support and supervision (Kurdek, Fine, & Sinclair, 1995),
*appropriate monitoring of television viewing and homework completion (Clark, 1993),
*participation in joint learning activities at home (Tizard et al., 1982),
*an emphasis on effort over ability (Stevenson, 1983), and
*autonomy promoting parenting practices (Lamborn, Mounts, Steinberg, & Dornbusch, 1991).
There is mounting evidence that each of these parent involvement
variables facilitates children's academic achievement. There are
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