Establishing Family-School Partnership with Iranian-Canadian Families: Cultural Context, Families’ Experiences, and Future Directions
Presentation: Dorna Rahimi, Laurie Ford
Session A | 9:00 – 9:40 | Location: Room 1003
Family-‐school partnership is an important aspect of the students’ success in the school (Kuperminc et al., 2008). Establishing family-‐school partnership is even more important with immigrant families since they may not necessarily have an established connection in the school community and may not be familiar with the practices and procedures of the school system (Rahimi, 2017). Recent scholars and researchers propose that educators and school systems should become familiar with the unique experiences of different immigrant families (LaRosque et al., 2011). As part of culturally responsive teaching practices, educators and the school systems can reflect on adjusting their practices and procedures to support the plurality of the experiences and the backgrounds in the school system (Ali, 2008). Iranian-‐Canadian immigrant families and students are one of the largest immigrant populations in Vancouver (Stats Canada, 2015). As immigrants from a different culture, Iranian-‐Canadian families have unique experiences in the Canadian schools (Zade et al., 2008). Further, their experiences may be different based on their own education system in their home country’s system (Zadeh et al., 2008). Understanding the Iranian-‐Canadian families’ cultural context and their experiences can help educators to establish a positive family-‐school partnership and engage in culturally responsive teaching practices. As part of her Master’s thesis project, the researcher interviewed Iranian-‐Canadian families in the Greater Vancouver area about their experiences in the school system.
The families’ experiences in the interviews were coded into broad themes consistent with the Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. The major themes expressed by the families were communication, emotional safety, respect, and recognition. The findings are significant because they reflected specific experiences of Iranian-‐Canadian families and can provide a direction on how our education system can better support Iranian-‐Canadian families. In this presentation, the researcher will provide a cultural context, discuss the Iranian-‐Canadian families’ experiences, and also her own experiences as an Iranian-‐Canadian school psychologist working in a predominantly Iranian-‐Canadian school district. The presentation will be followed by a discussion on the attendees’ culturally responsive experiences and approaches in working with Iranian-‐Canadian families.