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A Comparative Study of Conflicts Experienced Between Immigrant Parents in Canada and in Israel and Professionals in Educational Institutions about Appropriate Responses to Children's Misbehavior

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-05-21, 15:26 authored by Judith K. Bernhard, Ron Shor
One of the barriers which immigrant parents may encounter in the process of acculturation into their new country is differing expectations about ways in which teachers and other professionals involved in the educational system should relate to their children’s misbehavior. To examine the potential sources of conflicts relating to disciplinary measures, a comparative study utilizing a qualitative methodology was conducted with 65 immigrant parents from Latin America in Canada and with 103 immigrant parents from the Former Soviet Union in Israel. The findings indicate that, in the two samples, participants experienced differences between their expectations about the way in which teachers should handle student misbehavior and the actual behavior of the teachers. The differences which the immigrant parents indicated could be characterized primarily as culturally based disagreements about (a) the types of misbehaviors which justify intervention by teachers, (b) the kind of disciplinary measures which should be used, (c) the factors that should be considered when deciding about disciplinary actions, and (d) the lack of sensitivity to the impact of immigration related difficulties on the behavior of children. The immigrants’ current expectations of teachers’ behavior was based on their experiences in their country of origin, and these were often in contradiction with the common approach in Canada and Israel. Ways of developing reciprocal channels of communication between professionals in schools and kindergartens and immigrant parents are suggested in order to overcome barriers and bridge gaps in communication.