Frameworks of Education Perspectives of Southeast Asian Parents and Head Start Staff Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 2003
Frameworks of Education
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Deborah A. Hwa-Froelich
    Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO
  • Carol E. Westby
    University of New Mexico, Albuquerque
  • Corresponding author: e-mail:
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 2003
Frameworks of Education
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, October 2003, Vol. 34, 299-319. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2003/025)
History: Received August 14, 2002 , Accepted June 16, 2003
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, October 2003, Vol. 34, 299-319. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2003/025)
History: Received August 14, 2002; Accepted June 16, 2003
Web of Science® Times Cited: 23

Purpose: Interviews with Southeast Asian families and Head Start staff, participant observation of family and staff conferences, observations of teacher-child and parent-child interactions, and a review of all written Head Start information given to parents were used to gain information regarding how Southeast Asian parents, children, and Head Start staff make sense of early childhood education, their roles in child learning, and the identification of disabilities or learning problems.

Methods: Nine Southeast Asian families and 10 children were participants. One Vietnamese and 3 EuroAmerican Head Start staff members participated in a series of two or three semistructured individual interviews. Additionally, 3 families were observed during scheduled conferences with Head Start staff. Each child was observed at Head Start during meals, center time, and outdoor play time. All literature routinely given to parents was analyzed. Ethnomethodology (the study of how participants make sense of their world) was used in collection and analysis of the data. The constructs of organizational culture (Schein, 1987, 1992), independence/interdependence, and power/distance relationships were used to help to make sense of the data themes.

Clinical Implications: Both families and staff were unaware of differences in their beliefs and values in the areas of education, parenting, child learning, and disability, which led to confusion and misunderstanding. All early childhood staff need to be aware of their underlying assumptions and how these may affect their interactions with children and families who may have different assumptions and expectations.

The authors greatly appreciate the families and staff who generously gave of their time and answered our many questions honestly. We would like to acknowledge the help of Tina Bennett-Kastor, Angela Burda, Marlene Schommer-Akins, Lisa Scott Trautman, Rosalind Scudder, Aivy Vo, and Nghia Tran. Additionally, the authors appreciate the financial support of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Administration for Children and Families (ACF), and the Administration on Children, Youth, and Families (ACYF), Grant #90YD006101.
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