1. Keisha Varma
  2. http://www.cehd.umn.edu/edpsych/people/keisha/
  3. Associate Professor
  4. The ESPRIT Project - Fostering Equitable Science through Parental Involvement and Technology
  5. https://sites.google.com/umn.edu/espritproject/home?authuser=0
  6. University of Minnesota
  1. Abdirashid Abdi
  2. Research Assistant
  3. The ESPRIT Project - Fostering Equitable Science through Parental Involvement and Technology
  4. https://sites.google.com/umn.edu/espritproject/home?authuser=0
  5. University of Minnesota
  1. Julie Brown
  2. http://www.cehd.umn.edu/ci/people/brown.html
  3. Associate Professor
  4. The ESPRIT Project - Fostering Equitable Science through Parental Involvement and Technology
  5. https://sites.google.com/umn.edu/espritproject/home?authuser=0
  6. University of Minnesota
  1. Elena Contreras Gullickson
  2. The ESPRIT Project - Fostering Equitable Science through Parental Involvement and Technology
  3. https://sites.google.com/umn.edu/espritproject/home?authuser=0
  4. University of Minnesota
  1. Jiyeon Lee
  2. The ESPRIT Project - Fostering Equitable Science through Parental Involvement and Technology
  3. https://sites.google.com/umn.edu/espritproject/home?authuser=0
  4. University of Minnesota
  1. Tayler Loiselle
  2. PhD Student
  3. The ESPRIT Project - Fostering Equitable Science through Parental Involvement and Technology
  4. https://sites.google.com/umn.edu/espritproject/home?authuser=0
  5. University of Minnesota
  1. Junyo Park
  2. The ESPRIT Project - Fostering Equitable Science through Parental Involvement and Technology
  3. https://sites.google.com/umn.edu/espritproject/home?authuser=0
  4. University of Minnesota
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Jeanne Century

    Jeanne Century

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2018 | 12:35 p.m.

    Hi Keisha - 

    What important work you are doing! It is so important to find ways to garner parent support and involvement. I'm wondering how you are evaluating your success? 

    And, I'd love to hear a couple specific examples of interactions parents and teachers have had and how the teachers feel it has benefitted the students' learning?

     

    Thanks!

    Jeanne

  • Icon for: Jameela Jafri

    Jameela Jafri

    Informal Educator
    May 14, 2018 | 01:29 p.m.

    What an interesting project! Would love to learn how you incorporate family knowledge and interests into the question-making that drives the activities. Also, how do teachers feel about the effectiveness of integrating this into the classroom?

  • Icon for: Keisha Varma

    Keisha Varma

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 02:24 p.m.

    Hi Jeanne and Jameela.  Thanks for the questions.  We are just finishing up the first year of our project.  When we designed the project, we were relying heavily on surveys to measure changes in parent attitudes and engagement, and on paper and pencil pre-post assessments to assess student learning outcomes. 

    As the project progressed, we realized that we were going to have to be more creative about how we evaluate success in our work with immigrant families because many of them do not speak English.  Even though our assessment surveys were translated, they were still too long and cumbersome for the parents to complete.  Now, we using a more qualitative approach for our evaluation.  We are conducting focus groups with families and interviews with students.

    We conduct classroom observations to evaluate teaching practices and follow each with a teacher interview.

    Finally, we plan to analyze the videos that students and parents create to examine the ways that they are able to make connections between their everyday lives and the scientific content that students are learning in their science classes.

    During the parent-teacher workshops, teachers are able to work with small groups of parents.   Parents share knowledge from their culture that is related to the content that teachers are covering in their classes and teachers create culturally relevant questions and activities based on those ideas.  Teachers have expressed how satisfying it has been to know that the activities and discussions that they have in their classes are related to the students' everyday lives.  For example, based on these conversations with parents, teachers have posed questions asking parents and families to share their ideas about how they use plants in their culture and how they treat colds.  In multiple cases, parents respond in their native language and when teachers show the videos in their classrooms, the students translate what the parents are saying.  Anecdotally, teachers say that they see increases in student interest and engagement around the questions and activities that include their parents and families. 

    We are looking forward to learning more about how teachers feel their students are benefiting from the project activities during our year end focus group interviews and year two summer professional development activities.

    Thanks again for the questions!

    Keisha

  • Icon for: Jeanne Century

    Jeanne Century

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2018 | 08:43 a.m.

    Thanks, Keisha. I'm really impressed with the ways you have been able to engage parents for everybody's benefit. In some of our work, it's very challenging to reach/engage with parents. How have you been able to engage parents who maybe were a little less interested at first - or maybe that is a challenge for a coming year?

  • Icon for: Keisha Varma

    Keisha Varma

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 09:15 a.m.

    Hi Jeanne.  Reaching less interested parents is definitely a challenge for us as well.  In some cases, I think the challenge is that the practice of reflecting on science in a community that includes teachers, students, and other families is unfamiliar to parents.  I am hoping that this summer, we can brainstorm with teachers and parents about how to engage more parents and also talk about what they think may be some of the barriers that are holding some parents back.  Day one of our professional development meeting will include parents and teachers.  I am hopeful for some innovative and creative ideas!

    I also hope that since the teachers will be participating for a second year, they will be more familiar with the practice of inviting parents to share their ideas and will have some good ideas about how to better integrate the project activities into their regular teaching practice.

  • Icon for: Carrie Tzou

    Carrie Tzou

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 15, 2018 | 01:40 a.m.

    This is such an interesting project Keisha! I'm wondering how you get equitable participation in your parent-teacher workshops, where you don't just get the parents that are already super involved, but also getting parents who may not feel as invited to the table? What are some strategies that have worked for you in this respect?

    Thanks for sharing your work! 

    Carrie

  • Icon for: Keisha Varma

    Keisha Varma

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 07:12 a.m.

    HI Carrie,

    We do have a few parent participants who are super involved in school events, but many of the parents who participate in the parent-teacher workshops are newly involved in this kind of event.  Our research team works with teachers and the school's family liaison to invite parents so that we get to hear multiple perspectives from parents who are not usually involved in these types of events.  We have many parents who are new to the US and do not speak English.  So, our project provides interpreters at the parent-teacher workshops.    Parents have shared how valued they feel because teachers are asking for their input and guidance to develop curriculum materials (culturally responsive questions and activities). 

    Our project is striving to create new pathways to parent involvement that can reach all parents and make them feel more welcome and valued in their child's school.  It is a challenge.  The project workshops only include a 5 to 10 parents each meeting.  As I reflect on your question, I am wondering if there is a way that we can involve more parents in these types of collaborations since both the teachers and the parents find them so meaningful.

    Thanks for the thought-provoking question!

    Keisha

  • May 15, 2018 | 04:56 p.m.

    I love the very end of the video! I am curious how you flatten out the power dynamics between teachers and parents? How do you talk with teachers about these different powered dynamics? How do you help parents to know you really value their cultural knowledge and expertise?

  • Icon for: Keisha Varma

    Keisha Varma

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 05:51 p.m.

    Hi Angela,

    Thanks for viewing our video.  We are very early in our project, but so far, the power dynamics have not necessarily been an issue (or at least not one that we are aware of).  The teachers we are working with have a true desire to elicit cultural knowledge from parents that can enhance their science instruction.  Even before they began the work, they commented that parents' knowledge and expertise would strengthen their connections to their students and enrich their science instruction practices.  When the parents and teachers work together we make sure that the parents have a lead role (sharing their knowledge and ideas) so that they feel valued.

    However, these dynamics are only so strong with the parents who participate in the parent-teacher meetings.  I think that we have to figure out how to convey the message to all of the parents in the school population that their cultural knowledge and expertise is valued and that they are an important part of the school community.  Right now, they participate in the activities and answer questions with their students, but because they have not had the direct interactions with the teachers, they may not realize how much the teachers value their cultural knowledge.  

    You raise important questions that our project must consider more deeply.  The timing is perfect because now, I have made a note to ask parents whether they feel that their cultural knowledge is valued in general and whether participating in our project's activities improves their perceptions about this.  I also want to ask them whether they feel that there is a power differential between them and the classroom teachers during our collaborative meetings.  I want to be careful not to assume that things are equal just because we have not experienced overt issues.  

    Finally, during our conversations with teachers, they often wonder why some parents do not participate in the project activities.  Maybe the different power dynamics are a barrier.  I am looking forward to discussing this further with the ESPRIT research team, the teachers and the parents.  Thank you for these questions!

  • Icon for: Keisha Varma

    Keisha Varma

    Lead Presenter
    May 16, 2018 | 10:40 a.m.


    Thanks for viewing our video.  We are just finishing the first year of our project.  Please share any comments and questions that you have about our work.  I also have a few questions about working with parents.  Maybe you have had some experiences in your work that you could share.

    1.  What kinds of assessment and evaluation tools are you using to measure changes in parent involvement and parent attitudes toward involvement in your project's activities?

    2.  Are you looking at the relationship between student learning outcomes and parent involvement?  If so, how are you investigating this relationship.

    3.  How are you supporting sustained parent participation in your project activities?

    Thanks!

    Keisha Varma

  • Icon for: Levi Patrick

    Levi Patrick

    Facilitator
    May 16, 2018 | 06:43 p.m.

    Thanks for your work, Keisha and team! 

    One thing I'm recently learning more about is culturally responsive instruction and self-documentation strategies. I'm really interested in how your work particularly promotes culturally responsive instruction and, if it does, what has the response been from your teachers and parents? 

  • Icon for: DeeDee Bennett

    DeeDee Bennett

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 16, 2018 | 12:07 p.m.

    Great work, Keisha! I am glad to see your project includes immigrant communities. 

  • Icon for: Mike Stieff

    Mike Stieff

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 16, 2018 | 04:31 p.m.

    This is such a great project. Thank you for sharing your work! I'm curious whether you have (or plan to collect) data on whether parents' attitudes toward science or science instruction is affected in any way by participating in the curriculum development activities? It would be interesting to see if the parents together with their children become more engaged in science learning outside of the classroom given their experiences making the videos.

  • Icon for: Keisha Varma

    Keisha Varma

    Lead Presenter
    May 16, 2018 | 04:39 p.m.

    Hi Mike,

    We have given parents surveys to try to measure changes in their attitudes toward science.  I am hopeful, that we will be able to say something about changes in their attitudes in the near future.  I anticipate us having to think of more creative ways to measure changes in engagement and attitudes.   However, the surveys will provide some great initial knowledge.

    Thanks for the comments and question.

    Keisha

  • Icon for: Pablo Bendiksen

    Pablo Bendiksen

    Facilitator
    May 17, 2018 | 02:52 p.m.

    I really appreciate the intent to increase the science education involvement of cultural minorities and children of immigrant parents. As an extension to Mike's question that focuses on measuring parents' attitudes toward science, can you say if, generally, parents are very willing to collaborate and have been enjoying collaborating in videos with their children? I wonder if this could be difficult for immigrant parents, and if capturing their survey responses is also more challenging.

  • Icon for: Keisha Varma

    Keisha Varma

    Lead Presenter
    May 17, 2018 | 03:52 p.m.

    Hi Pablo,

    Generally, parents are willing to collaborate because they want to be involved and are excited to share their ideas.  However, there are cases when the parents or students may be shy about being video recorded.  In these instances, they record their voices and cover the camera.  There are some parents who did not participate in any of the project activities.  We are hoping to find out why with our end of the year focus groups and surveys.  

    You raise a great point.  Capturing immigrant parents' ideas with surveys has not been very fruitful so far.  They are certainly willing, but even with translated versions of the surveys and interpreters present, we can see that the entire process may be too taxing.  Therefore, we have opted to do some focus groups with a subset of the parents in addition to the surveys.

    As we reflect on our methods from the first year of our work, we will definitely consider which data collection procedures went well and which ones must be modified.

  • May 18, 2018 | 12:27 p.m.

    Thank you for your work!  Do you know anyone in the San Francisco Bay area that is focusing on immigrant communities around science or early Math?  Our young people are very interested in including their parents in their STEM experiences.

  • Icon for: Debora Lui Ann-Ling

    Debora Lui Ann-Ling

    Researcher
    May 18, 2018 | 06:02 p.m.

    Hey Keisha- It's great to hear about this work, it's so powerful seeing that video at the end, and also finding out what led to it.

    One question I had is about parent-to-parent or family-to-family interactions within particular immigrant or cultural groups, and whether or not these have ended up having an influence in your intervention. Since you mentioned that there have been some parents who have been shy or reluctant to participate, I'm wondering if those more active parents have been working to bring others more into the fold or not or if parents encourage one another, especially if they interact outside of the school settings (e.g., living in the same neighborhood, being a part of a larger network of families/friends). 

  • Icon for: Keisha Varma

    Keisha Varma

    Lead Presenter
    May 18, 2018 | 06:47 p.m.

    Hi Debora,

    This is exactly what I hope will happen more and more as we continue to strengthen our relationships with the parents and families who are participating in our project.  The families we work with are definitely part of a tightknit community outside of the school setting.  I hope we can think of new ways to capitalize on this interconnectedness and further strengthen our partnerships with the parents and families.  Thanks for your question.

  • Icon for: Kristina Yu

    Kristina Yu

    Informal Educator
    May 19, 2018 | 10:47 a.m.

    Hi Keisha - congratulations on your first year, and thank you for sharing this wonderful project.  I am a parent of a young child and I also work at a science center.  I've noticed that parents are sometimes uncomfortable being in a position of 'not knowing the answer' when it comes to science conversations with their kids.  What are your thoughts about supporting parents in this?   Looking forward to following your project as it progresses!

  • Icon for: Keisha Varma

    Keisha Varma

    Lead Presenter
    May 19, 2018 | 11:19 a.m.

    Hi Kristina,

    You raise an interesting concern.  One of the things we really work on in our professional development and in our parent teacher meetings is figuring out ways to ask questions that highlight the cultural and personal knowledge that parents and families have that is also very relevant to the scientific content being covered in the students' classroom.   In one of our focus groups, a parent commented that she was excited that her child could see that her knowledge was valued by the science teacher.  We are striving to create questions that ask about experiences that can be shared instead of questions that have a "correct" answer.  Teachers have requested that we spend more time planning these types of questions during our professional development meeting because it is difficult for them to generate culturally responsive questions that elicit everyday scientific knowledge during the school year.  They would love to have a set of questions they could go to that they have for various lessons.  We will work on this during our PD institute next month.

    Ideally, we would like for the ESPRIT project activities to encourage more parent child discussions of science at home.  In your work at the science center do you explore the nature of parent child discussions?  If so, will you share some of the key findings from your work?

  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.