Con amor [with love], a mothering narrative: Two case studies of two mothers of color and their perceptions of how they contribute to their children's education
The purpose of this study was to explore Black and Latinx mothers' perceptions of how they contribute to their children's education. The study used a qualitative, case study methodology. Specifically, two case studies were conducted wherein the participants were selected using a purposeful sampling approach. The data of the study was collected through interviews, participant-observations, and photovoice. Four interviews were conducted with each of the participants; each interview was conducted in the participants' first language (Spanish or English).
Participant-observations were also utilized to "obtain an insider's perspective by becoming part of the natural setting" (Punch, 2009). Utilizing the participant-observation method in the study allowed me to get an in-depth perspective of the research concerns by spending a prolonged time in the field.
Lastly, I utilized photovoice to allow for each of the participants to visually document, through photographs, their role as mothers in their daily lives, including their children's education and any other aspects of their community or family life they wanted to explore. In addition to the photographs taken during the study, previously taken photographs were included which added to the historical context of the study.
Following data collection, data analysis procedures were implemented to provide analytic insight into the dimensions and dynamics of the study (Dyson & Genishi, 2005). I utilized a combination of procedures described in Auerbach & Silverstein (2003) and the Miles & Huberman's (1994) framework for qualitative data analysis as described in Punch (2009). I first conducted a case-by-case analysis and then conducted a cross-case analysis using the same procedures.
The conclusions reveal that Jean and Maria Elena perceive themselves as making significant contributions to their children's lives in various ways, which include addressing their children's educational needs. Some of mothering roles addressed by both participants include: advocate, caregiver, educator, nurturer, and protector. They were both aware of the intersections of race, gender, culture, and language that create additional challenges for them and their families, specifically in the education of their children. Some of those challenges include academic intervention, racial discrimination, language barriers, cultural differences, ineffective instruction, low student expectations, and school relations that devalue parents. In addition to addressing these challenges with the appropriate personnel, Jean and Maria Elena also utilized several social networks of support such as extended family, church community, community programs, and parental support groups. They also relied heavily on their belief in God and their faith as coping strategies.
Additionally, Jean and Maria Elena's narratives contribute to countering the deficit perspectives held about mothers of color. They have done this by sharing their stories because their stories empower others and heal the damages created by the spread of deficit narratives.