A recent study by New York University (NYU) concluded that the communication problem between teachers and parents in American schools is rooted in a cultural disconnect, which is based on racial stereotypes.
A college professor and sociologist named Hua-Yu Cherng is the author of this new NYU study. The findings of the study revealed empirical evidence, which suggests that a student’s race, ethnicity, or immigrant status have a lot to do with how good or how bad white teachers interact with the parents of those students. Mr. Cherng wrote the following in the introduction of his study:
“Parental involvement is a key ingredient in the educational success of students and an integral component of involvement is teacher-parent communication. One body of research finds that minority immigrant parents face barriers in interacting with schools, and communicate less with schools than native-born White parents. However, we know little of how schools reach out to parents.” (Cherng, NYU, 2016)
Mr. Cherng also conducted a recent interview with Education Week Magazine where he discussed the findings of the study he performed on behalf of NYU. He suggested that the solution to solving the cultural disconnect between white teachers and minority parents must start with the proper training.
Cultural competency and multiculturalism are the general, predominant aspects of America’s teacher preparation initiatives. However, Mr. Cherng argues that a more unequivocal approach is needed to activate a more effective conversation about race and ethnicity between teachers and parents.
“Race not only influences how teachers interact with minority students, but also with their parents,” Cherng told Education Week. Though the increased level of training prescribed for teachers to deal with this communication problem may seem cumbersome, it is vital.
“You want to know more about your students’ lives. My mission is to train teachers so they are doing better in the classroom not only for their students, but for themselves. Particularly around issues of race where people can shut down immediately, it’s such an important conversation and should happen in a way that gives teachers skills,” Cherng added.
To find out more information about Professor Cherng’s NYU study and the work that is being done to improve cultural relations and communication between teachers and parents, click here.