This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

An Ethnographic Inquiry Connecting Home to School for Literacy and Mathematics Learning of Hispanic Families




Duenas, Gilbert

Type of Degree



Curriculum and Teaching


There is limited research on bilingual classroom teachers who conduct household visits of non-English speaking Hispanic families. The author and teacher explored (a) ways that three migrant, Hispanic families were involved with their children’s school to promote mathematics and language literacy learning and communication; and (b) how these Hispanic parents viewed themselves as critical partners in their child’s literacy learning. Findings from four months of household visits involving interviews, observations, and analysis of student schoolwork indicated the parents held several expectations. These parents hoped for a home-school partnership based on mutual respect and trust; and they desired that their children’s cultural experiences be woven into classroom learning. Older siblings served as language brokers between their non-English speaking parents and younger siblings during at home learning; and family members often code-switched when talking with each other about homework and understanding school notes. To connect with their children’s mathematics learning, these parents accessed their prior learning in Mexico. While in school, these parents memorized multiplication facts and solved computation problems in their mind. These parents also enriched their children’s mathematics via cooking, singing, paying utility bills, or buying refreshments from a passing ice cream vendor. These were the kinds of mathematics activities about which the parents felt most confident and knowledgeable. The parents often engaged their children in mathematics discourse at the kitchen table, living room, and the outside yard or local market. The parents’ voices echoed a persistent hope that their children would one day learn school mathematics and use that knowledge to push for needed social changes. Based on the researcher’s household visits, this paper recommends suggestions for improving home-school partnerships with migrant Hispanics and for reforming school mathematics’ practices to incorporate the student’s cultural knowledge and experience.