THE ROLE OF VIETNAMESE AMERICAN FATHERS’ INVOLVEMENT IN CHILDREN’S EDUCATION
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Research in the field of parental involvement is important to identify ways to help support children’s academic achievement outside of school. This study extended the literature by examining father involvement within a sample of Vietnamese American fathers using mixed methodologies. Qualitative data were gathered through semi-structured interviews with 18 fathers; and quantitative data were collected through questionnaires completed by the fathers, mothers, and one school-aged child in the family. The interview data were analyzed using grounded theory approach (Strauss & Corbin, 1990) and underwent peer review throughout analysis to ensure codes were reliable and valid. The questionnaire data were analyzed using correlations and descriptive statistics. Results from the interviews found two roles that fathers take on in their home involvement, the role of the principal and the role of teacher. Findings also revealed five dimensions to be considered in examining the roles and responsibilities of parents: distribution of roles, flexibility and specificity in the responsibilities of the principal role, and directness and frequency in the responsibilities of the teacher role. Further, results from the qualitative data showed that culture and ethnic identity have influence an on fathers’ beliefs, expectations, and practices. For example, fathers indicated that they prioritize their children’s activities around belief in the Confucius teaching that education is key to upward mobility. The collectivistic views within Asian culture helped fathers to set high expectations and enforce rules for children’s academic achievement as this reflect the achievement of the family and community too. Findings from the quantitative data showed that fathers’ ethnic identity, involvement, beliefs, and expectations, and children’s motivation and achievement were related to each other in various ways. Consistent across both types of data results showed that fathers were more involved at home, specialized and focused on math achievement, and that ethnic identity and culture played a role in the fathers’ beliefs and strategies to parenting. This study provides rich information on the breadth and depth of fathers’ involvement and the process involved in helping their children succeed in school. Future research should continue to examine fathers’ involvement to fully understanding the mechanisms of parental involvement.