Embracing Culture and Connection: Asset-Based Approaches and Multilingual Learner Parent-Teacher Relationships

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Although strong parent-teacher relationships are pertinent to students’ achievement and well-being, there are many common barriers to effective parent-teacher relationships, such as miscommunication and misalignment of beliefs or expectations. This study investigates one possible way to overcome these challenges: increasing teachers’ understanding of families’ cultural wealth and the application of that knowledge utilizing asset-based approaches. Through a secondary analysis of survey data collected from 23 classroom teachers and 44 parents, this study examined how teachers’ incorporation of families’ cultural wealth into the classroom and their interactions with families impacts parent perspectives on the parent-teacher relationship (as measured by communication, cultural wealth, parental engagement). The results of multi-level modeling showed no significant effects of teachers’ inclusion of cultural wealth (specifically familial or linguistic capital) into the classroom or relationships on parent sentiments regarding communication, cultural wealth, or parental engagement. The findings showed meaningful medium-sized effects of teachers speaking a little bit of Spanish on all three measured aspects of the parent-teacher relationship. These findings suggest measuring specific components of cultural wealth requires complex and nuanced measures with multiple sources of information (e.g., qualitative interviews, observational data) to capture the relationships between multilingual families and teachers.





Zimmerman, Sarah (2023). Embracing Culture and Connection: Asset-Based Approaches and Multilingual Learner Parent-Teacher Relationships. Honors thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/27137.

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