Korean American Mothers' Perception: Investigating the Role of Cultural Capital Theory and Parent Involvement
Parham, Carole S.
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The strongest and most consistent predictors of parent involvement at school and at home are the specific school programs and teacher practices that encourage parent involvement at school and guide parents in how to help their children at home (Dauber & Epstein, 1995). Joyce Epstein (2004) developed a framework for defining six different types of parent involvement. This framework assists educators in developing school and family partnership programs. "Schools have a vested interest in becoming true learning communities. They are now accountable for all students' learning," she writes. "To learn at high levels, all students need the guidance and support of their teachers, families, and others in the community." School improvement no longer rests solely on the shoulders of the principal, but rather takes the collaborative effort of the entire school community to increase achievement levels of all students. A major stakeholder of that community is the parents who want what is in the best interest of their children. This mixed-methods study examined the perceptions of Korean American mothers regarding their own parent involvement practices and investigated the role of Bourdieu's Cultural Capital Theory using the conceptual framework of Epstein's Parent Involvement Framework. Data for this study were collected by way of survey responses and interview probes with focus groups of six Korean American mothers. In the quantitative phase of the study, 81 mothers from a single school district in the mid-Atlantic United States were identified. The results from the quantitative phase of the study found that English proficiency had a significant impact on whether Korean American mothers engaged in parent involvement activities. Examination of the focus group responses revealed that the Korean American mothers identified English and time as major factors in determining in what types of parent involvement activities they engaged. Parent involvement is essential for promoting successful school improvement. It plays a pivotal part in school reform. Further research is recommended with larger samples of participants in rural and urban settings. In addition, future research should examine the role of fathers in parent involvement.