Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Young Latino children show strong classroom skills, despite many growing up in poverty

03.05.2010
But for teens, peer pressure, mediocre schools undercut initial gains

Immigrant Latinos display strong parenting practices and raise socially agile children, but these early gains are likely to be eroded by mediocre schools and peer pressure in poor neighborhoods, according to findings published by the American Psychological Association.

In a special section of the journal Developmental Psychology, a team of researchers examines how no-nonsense parenting practices – especially Latino traditions of strict discipline, respect for adults and strong family bonds – shape children's social and cognitive growth and their assimilation into mainstream culture.

"Immigrant kids begin school with surprisingly good social skills, eager to engage teachers and classroom tasks, even though many are raised in poor households," said Bruce Fuller, PhD, of the University of California at Berkeley, who co-edited the special section. "This stems from tight families and tough-headed parenting. Our findings shatter the myth that immigrant or low-income parents necessarily produce troubled children."

One study, based on 19,500 kindergartners nationwide, found that Latino children engaged in classroom activities and displayed cooperative skills at levels equal to those of white non-Latino children, despite vast differences in family income between the groups. In addition, Latino children's social skills contributed to their learning about numbers and mathematical concepts during this first year of school, the researchers found.

But children's social agility and classroom enthusiasm often wanes by middle school, according to the researchers. "These children benefit from a strong foundation against outside negative forces, which contributes to their early school achievement but fades over time, especially during adolescence," said Cynthia García Coll, PhD, of Brown University, co-editor of the special section. "Assimilation places many children at risk of losing tight bonds to family and [experiencing] school failure."

The national study of Latino kindergartners included teacher reports of five social competencies: engaged approaches to learning, self-control, interpersonal skills, internalized problem behaviors (anxiety, loneliness, low self-esteem) and externalized problem behaviors (propensity to argue, get angry, act impulsively). "Those Latino children who were the best at focusing on learning tasks showed the steepest learning curves in math," said Claudia Galindo, PhD, a University of Maryland professor who co-directed the study.

The scientists discovered wide Latino-white gaps in 5-year-olds' knowledge of numbers and mathematical concepts. But the children's social skills and eagerness to take on classroom tasks were just shy of being statistically equal to those of their white non-Latino peers. In the first year of school, children raised in bilingual homes displayed more concentrated learning, after taking into account a variety of family background factors.

Children from African-American homes did not show comparable levels of classroom engagement and social agility. "Poverty alone does not explain the strength of parenting or the social assets that children bring to school," Fuller said. "Culture and language growth play a huge role in boosting achievement, which we now see benefit many Latino children."

Children from Puerto Rican families, in contrast to those of Mexican heritage, showed disparities in social competence when compared to white non-Latino children. Children of Cuban or South American descent (whose parents had higher education levels, on average) showed equal competence when compared to white non-Latino children.

Two additional studies in the journal's special section show how early gains for Latino children can be undercut during adolescence through peer pressure, weak schools and the perception of ethnic discrimination. In the first study, Latino teens who pulled away from parents and their ethnic identity displayed weaker school engagement (Umaña-Taylor and Guimond). When teens perceived ethnic or racial discrimination, they tended to retain stronger family ties that strengthened their ethnic identity, the researchers found.

The second study – tracking 294 older Latino and Asian immigrant children – found that those attending highly segregated or violent schools went downhill in their own school achievement (Suárez-Orosco and others). The rising rate of single-parent families in many immigrant communities is associated with a drop in children's school performance.

Other findings include:

Young Latino children's enthusiasm and agility in classrooms stems from warm yet firm parenting practices (Livas-Dlott and others). Researchers observed 25 Mexican-American 4-year-olds inside their homes and found that mothers on average were clear and direct when children misbehaved or failed to complete an assigned task. This tough-love parenting occurred within a supportive climate, nurturing cooperative children who expressed mutual obligations to family members, researchers said.

Another study shows how strong customs from one's native country can promote learning by teaching children to pay attention to what is going on in front of them (Lopez and others). Researchers gave instructions to 38 6- to 11-year-old siblings in order to examine differences in learning processes between those raised under Mexican traditions and those raised by parents who practiced American customs. Children paid more attention to their siblings' activities and learned a novel task more readily when living in homes where Mexican customs were practiced. Children paid less attention to their siblings, and learned less, when living in homes where Western traditions and individualistic practices prevailed.

Researchers surveyed 15,362 African-American, Latino and Asian tenth- graders from 752 schools about their understanding of how racial and socioeconomic barriers affect their expectations for well-paying jobs (Diemer and others). Two years later, the researchers asked the students about their extracurricular activities, school achievement, community participation and vocational expectations. Reading and math achievement had the strongest effect on the students' expectation of winning high-paying jobs, while awareness of racial and economic barriers had the strongest effect on the value that students placed on work.

Special Section: "Latino Children and Families: Development in Cultural Context," Developmental Psychology, Vol. 46, No. 3.

Articles:

"Learning From Latinos: Contexts, Families, and Child Development in Motion: Introduction to the Special Section"
http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/dev-46-3-559.pdf
Contact Bruce Fuller by phone at 415-595-4320 (cell); or contact Cynthia Garcia Coll by e-mail at Cynthia_Garcia_Coll@brown.edu or by phone 401-447-4590-(cell).
"The Social Competence of Latino Kindergartners and Growth in Mathematical Understanding"
http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/dev-46-3-579.pdf
Contact Claudia Galindo by e-mail at galindo@umbc.edu; or by phone at 814-876-0683.
"Sociopolitical Development, Work Salience, and Vocational Expectations Among Low Socioeconomic Status African American, Latin American, and Asian American Youth"
http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/dev-46-3-619.pdf
Contact Matthew A. Diemer by e-mail at diemerm@msu.edu; or by phone at 517-614-9274.
"Attention to Instruction Directed to Another by U.S. Mexican-Heritage Children of Varying Cultural Backgrounds"
http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/dev-46-3-593.pdf
Contact Angelica Lopez by e-mail at axlopez@ucsc.edu; or by phone at 831-459-2002.
"Academic Trajectories of Newcomer Immigrant Youth"
http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/dev-46-3-602.pdf
Contact Carola Suarez-Orozco by e-mail at cso@nyu.edu; or by phone at 718-431-4232 or 609-734-8266.
"Commands, Competence, and Carino: Maternal Socialization Practices in Mexican American Families" http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/dev-46-3-566.pdf

Contact Alejandra Livas-Dlott by e-mail at alivas@gmail.com or by phone at 919-608-4007.

"A Longitudinal Examination of Parenting Behaviors and Perceived Discrimination Predicting Latino Adolescents' Ethnic Identity" http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/dev-46-3-636.pdf

Contact Adriana J. Umana-Taylor by e-mail at adriana.umana-taylor@asu.edu; or by phone at 480-727-8670.

The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world's largest association of psychologists. APA's membership includes more than 152,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting health, education and human welfare.

Pam Willenz | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.apa.org

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>