Academic journal article Education

Hispanic Parents' Perceptions of Children's Education

Academic journal article Education

Hispanic Parents' Perceptions of Children's Education

Article excerpt

The purpose of the study is to examine 32 Hispanic parents' perceptions of education. Specially, this research explored (a) parent's motivation for their children's career choice, (b) their perceptions of education, and (c) informal means of education at home.

This research is important for a number of reasons. First, research shows that Hispanic/Latinos will emerge as the largest U.S. minority by the year 2050 (Baruth & Manning, 1999). San Bernardino, California is a clear example of a community experiencing this rapid increase in Hispanic population. Therefore, researching Hispanic parents' perceptions and motivation regarding education is necessary for future adjustment, especially of multicultural programs that adequately reflect the needs of the community that is becoming ethnically diversified.

Second, the parental focus of the research is of value to educators because parent involvement has been shown to influence students' positive self-confidence, self-esteem, and academic success (Astone & McLanahan, 1991; DelgadoGaitan, 1990; Delgado-Gaitan, & Trueba, 1991; Goldenberg, 1987; Taylor & Machida, 1994). Consistent with the previous studies of non-Hispanic parent involvement, Klimes-Dougan, Lopez, Nelson, and Adelman (1992) found a strong positive relationship between Hispanic parent involvement and their children's successful school adjustment.

Finally, the present study extends the literature on motivational theories by exploring Hispanic parents' perceptions and motivation for their children's education. Most studies to date have examined the relationship between motivation and academic achievement primarily with regard to intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation orientations (Deci & Ryan, 1985; Gottfried, Fleming, & Gottfried, 2001). Generally, intrinsic orientation refers to motivation associated with internal and personal factors such as interests and enjoyment, whereas extrinsic orientation refers to motivation created by external factors such as rewards, punishment, and peer pressure (Deci & Ryan, 1985; Reeve, 1996). A collection of past findings has shown that students who are intrinsically motivated persist longer, conquer more challenges, and demonstrate more accomplishments in their academic endeavors than those who are extrinsically motivated (Deci & Ryan, 1985; Pintrich & De Groot, 1990).

However, recent theories have challenged the dichotomy of educational motivation and attempted to understand the complexities of an individual's motivation (Dowson & McInerney, 1997,2001; Husman & Lens, 1999; McInerney & McInerney, 1996; Van Etten, 1997; Van Etten, Pressley, Freebern, & Eschevarria, 1998). Learning activities are intricate tasks that may be influenced by a complex array of multi motivational modes. Research has suggested that intrinsic and extrinsic motivation orientations are not mutually exclusive but may coexist with various motivational determinants. For example, several ethnographic studies (Farrell, 1994; Hwang, Echols, & Vrongistinos, 2002; O'Connor, 1997; Rowley, 2000) found that students who combined extrinsic factors with positive future goals were more actively engaged in school activities and received better grades. Highly intrinsically-motivated students can simultaneously be extrinsically-motivated by future goal orientations (Husman & Lens, 1999). Extrinsic motivational factors integrated with positive future goals can actually facilitate a person's present value and intrinsic motivation (Van Calster, Lens, & Nuttin, 1987).

Compared to the numerous studies on motivation and learning, there has been little research on Hispanic parents' perception and motivation from multidimensional aspects. To truly understand what it means to become a motivated learner, our understanding must traverse a wider range of Hispanic parents' thoughts and perceptions. As a first step, this study examined 32 Hispanic parents' perceptions and motivational modes affecting their children's career decision, their perceptions of education, and informal means of education at home. …

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