What is it about?

This study focuses on the parental involvement among Eastern European immigrant parents of elementary school students in Canada. participants interviewed for this project (N=19) were educated in several Eastern European countries and had children attending elementary schools in the province of Ontario after immigration.I found that Eastern European immigrant parents see their role supporting children mainly in the home by emphasizing academic achievement and extracurricular activities. They have high levels of cultural capital, but the amount of social capital available to immigrant parents varies. Parents who managed to recreate rich social networks in the new country communicated with teachers more successfully and were satisfied with school.

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Why is it important?

It is important to see that parental involvement is shaped by parental social, cultural, and economic capitals, which often leads to the reproduction of inequality in a given society. Emphasis on immigrant parents is also crucial, because their educational experiences differ from those of native-born parents, teachers, and students, which creates a potential disjuncture in beliefs, expectations, and practices.

Perspectives

Eastern European immigrant parents interviewed for this study were shaped by educational experiences in post-socialist countries. It was especially interesting to see how their beliefs around the curriculum, pedagogy, roles of parents and teachers shape their involvement after the immigration to Canada. Pierre Bourdieu's thinking tools, in this case, capital, are very useful in the analysis of parental involvement, because this practice is very tied to the family and its social context. Social reproduction in education is very much influenced by who the parents are, what they do, how they are seen and treated by educators.

Max Antony-Newman
University of Toronto

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This page is a summary of: Parental involvement of Eastern European immigrant parents in Canada: whose involvement has capital?, British Journal of Sociology of Education, September 2019, Taylor & Francis, DOI: 10.1080/01425692.2019.1668748.
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