Migrant Mothers Becoming Active Agents In A United States Midwestern Context: Building Strengths By Breaking Down The Outside-Inside Barrier
Keywords:belonging, Discourses, family literacy, migrant education, mobility, parent education
In the current context of extensive national and cross-cultural migration, the education of migrant and refugee children is an important and critical consideration. In the U.S., the education of migrant childrenâ€”who move with their farm worker parents within states, across state borders and sometimes across national bordersâ€”brings challenges that relate to educational discontinuity as well as the cultural contexts and expectations of schooling. This article reports on research that investigated a family literacy program that catered for migrant families in one rural location in the United States Midwest. Through a multipronged approach, the program supported childrenâ€™s early literacy development, provided adult education including English language instruction and parenting education, and offered liaison between the parents and their childrenâ€™s schools. Research data were collected through interviews with migrant mothers who participated in the program. Using Geeâ€™s (1996) notion of Discourse, the article considers the way that the program enabled the mothers to negotiate the outside-inside barrier of the rural community. By building their skills and strategies, the mothers were developing into active agents who could participate in their childrenâ€™s education in ways that community outsiders could not usually do.
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