About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 2886-2896
Publication year: 2009
ISBN: 978-84-613-2953-3
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain

DISCIPLINARY STRATEGIES OF LATINA EARLY CHILDHOOD TEACHERS: CHALLENGES TO THE RESEARCH LITERATURE

G. Wilgus

The City College of the City University of New York (UNITED STATES)
In a recent New York City study, the disciplinary strategies of three Latina early childhood teachers presented challenges to the research literature on disciplinary behaviors of working class, Latina adults.

THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
Valdes (1996) describes how Mexican-American children are expected to defer to adult needs, while middle class American children are permitted to frequently interrupt adult conversations. A mother in Holloway et al’s (1997) study noted when her child says, "But I don't want to!" she tells him "It's not what you wanna do, it's what I tell you to do!"

METHODOLOGY
The study took place at a New York City Early Head Start Program, serving 0-3 year-old children from Puerto Rican and Dominican, working class families. The three teachers, Ana, Marly and Lillian were all from working class Latina backgrounds.
Teachers were observed one hour, once per week, for 2.5 years and interviewed at the beginning, middle and end of the study. During initial interviews, teachers were asked to describe their early childhood education philosophies: what they valued most in their work, what they believed were the most important things they taught children, etc. They were also asked to describe how this correlated with the ideas of their heritage communities. Patterns and correlations in teachers ideas about disciplinary strategies were identified in the aggregated data.

FINDINGS
Three themes emerged from Ana, Marly and Lillian’s beliefs and practices regarding disciplinary strategies. 1. Concern over parents’ suppression of children’s attempts to be self-assertive: Marly asserted: "Convincing parents in this neighborhood that it’s important to just leave kids alone and let ‘em play - that’s just hard for them to catch on to. When we were comin’ up in this neighborhood, it’s like, nobody gave US blocks to play with, to do whatever we wanted. 2. Teachers believed that parents verbal limit setting styles were overly harsh: Lillian complained that parents address their children the same way they would an adult, saying “Don’t grab that from me, I was using it!”, or “Cut that out, you’re gonna break that!” Ana said her mother consistently hit her and her siblings and that she, Ana, had felt humiliated and debased by this. She did not want the children in her class to experience this. 3. Teachers disapproved of parents’ corporally punishing their children: Lillian complained that one mother frequently hit her daughters in front of school staff. Lillian said she could communicate disapproval of children’s behaviors with a certain facial expression: “The children can read my face...they “know if it's an angry face...only the face talks....” She believed parents could do the same.

IMPLICATIONS
While childrearing and early educational beliefs and practices are sometimes linked to individuals’ culture of origin and socioeconomic class, these categories do not comprehensively account for the disciplinary beliefs and strategies of Ana, Marly and Lillian. These women’s disciplinary behaviors suggest the operation of an “entanglement of multiple agents’ strategies”(Grofoguel, 2002). Along these lines, Eisenhart (2001) has challenged the notion that “individual behaviors, attitudes or self-identities derive from a coherent and given cultural tradition acquired in the family during childhood”.
@InProceedings{WILGUS2009DIS,
author = {Wilgus, G.},
title = {DISCIPLINARY STRATEGIES OF LATINA EARLY CHILDHOOD TEACHERS: CHALLENGES TO THE RESEARCH LITERATURE},
series = {2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2009 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-613-2953-3},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Madrid, Spain},
month = {16-18 November, 2009},
year = {2009},
pages = {2886-2896}}
TY - CONF
AU - G. Wilgus
TI - DISCIPLINARY STRATEGIES OF LATINA EARLY CHILDHOOD TEACHERS: CHALLENGES TO THE RESEARCH LITERATURE
SN - 978-84-613-2953-3/2340-1095
PY - 2009
Y1 - 16-18 November, 2009
CI - Madrid, Spain
JO - 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2009 Proceedings
SP - 2886
EP - 2896
ER -
G. Wilgus (2009) DISCIPLINARY STRATEGIES OF LATINA EARLY CHILDHOOD TEACHERS: CHALLENGES TO THE RESEARCH LITERATURE, ICERI2009 Proceedings, pp. 2886-2896.
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