Involving the Parents of English Language Learners in a Rural Area: Focus on the Dynamics of Teacher-Parent Interactions

Jenna M. Shim

Abstract


In this study, the author suggests that the current ELL parental involvement model often overlooks the structural aspects and power asymmetry of parent-teacher relationships that can hinder productive collaboration. In doing so, the author uses postcolonial theory as a conceptual lens to investigate the dynamics of ELL parent-teacher interactions from rural ELL parent perspectives by looking at those interactions as intercultural relations. The study uses a general qualitative methodology to explore the dynamics of ELL parent-teacher interactions. Three broad themes that emerged as obstacles that inhibit productive ELL parent-teacher interactions were (1) teachers’
judgments toward ELL students and their parents, (2) ELL parents’ frustration about their inability to influence a teacher’s decision making, and (3) ELL parents’ fear of repercussions for speaking up. The paper concludes with important implications for teachers working with ELL students in rural areas.

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