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Goal setting during early childhood parent-teacher conferences: A comparison of three groups of parents

Parent-teacher communication and partnerships are important in children's early years. This study compared goal setting, conducted in English, during Head Start parent-teacher conferences with native Spanish speaking, Latino bilingual, and native English speaking parents and their children's teachers. To understand conference goal-setting partnerships, a mixed-methods research design was implemented, which incorporated (1) qualitative analysis of interviews, (2) quantitative analysis of conference utterances and goal-setting talk, and (3) qualitative analysis of goal-setting talk. Results indicated that teachers' conference expectations were at times different from native Spanish speaking parents and those of native English speaking parents. Teachers spoke the most with and asked least often for parent goals during conferences with native Spanish speaking parents. When asked for goals, teachers provided native Spanish speaking parents with the fewest opportunities to respond compared to the other two groups of parents. Teachers' goal-setting talk resulted in control of children's goals, particularly with native Spanish speaking parents. Results illustrate early educators' and families' challenges to goal-setting partnerships. This study has implications for early education programs as they develop partnerships with families from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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