Volume 29, Issue 3 (2000)
Consultant Practices in Two Heterogeneous Latino Schools
Barbara S.C. Goldstein, Kathleen C. Harris
Abstract: Bicultural communities, particularly Latino communities, are often described as if they were monolithic communities that share similar language, values, politics, educational,and socioeconomic concerns. This article describes the implications of the consultation process when working with an educationally and linguistically heterogeneous Spanish-speaking immigrant Latino community. Using qualitative research methodologies, the researchers studied two “Latino” elementary schools in one district. Three themes emerged:(a) role of primary language in education, (b) role of parents in the school, and (c) prevalent attitudes regarding the nature of disability. Parent participants differed in ways that impacted the role of the consultant and subsequent consultation interactions. Formal educational experiences in the parents’ native country and language influenced parent participation in the educational process. Suggestions for consultants include recognizing the heterogeneity within bicultural communities and conducting thorough family interviews in an informal setting and before formal meetings to determine the concerns and goals of family members.
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