Graduation Date

5-2014

Document Type

Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Education

First Reader

Madalienne F. Peters, Ed.D.

Abstract

California has a large population of Latino/a students, and for most of them Spanish is their native language. The problem is the miscommunication between Latino/a families and educators in the school setting. Teachers often do not understand Spanish and are unable to communicate with parents or students. Latino/a families are not aware of the ways to support their children, given this lack of ability to communicate. A review of the literature reveals the cultural and language barriers that teachers face. Teachers also lack support within their school in providing appropriate instruction for Latino/a students and in communicating with Latino/a families. This study follows qualitative design using classroom observations in a field placement and school setting as well as interviews with teachers who have a majority of students in their classrooms who are Latino/a. Purposively elected teachers with experience in working with English language learners were recruited for interviews. Parents of Latino/a students were interviewed about the quality of the communication between school and home that is provided by the school. They were interviewed for an hour responding to a series of open-ended questions. Interviewees were purposefully selected because they are part of the Latina/o community who try to create home-school communication. Results indicated that having home-school communication with Latino/a students increased their academic performance. Students felt they had support from their parents. Parents were also more inclined to be a part of their child’s education if they could communicate with the teacher. Implications from the results include the need for teachers to make home-school communication a priority for Latino/a students and their families.

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