Learning in diversity: Redefining parenting in communities of practice
Paper in a Symposium (Symp)
2:10 PM, Thursday 31 Aug 2017 (40 minutes)
Convention Center - 2104 B
After migration parents are challenged to reflect upon and reconstruct their parenting beliefs and practices, sparked by the cultural contact zone they engage in. This paper discusses how informal and formal social learning processes of transnational parents can be seen within a perspective of communities of practice (Wenger, 2010), while also addressing issues of intercultural learning (De Haan, 2011). Its goal is to analyze 1) how transnational parents learn about parenting through spontaneous social encounters within their social network and 2) if and how these learning processes are affected by a parenting training program. The training program, which was set up by a grassroots organization, is a so-called bottom-up intervention aimed to support parents who are part of the Moroccan diaspora and living in Dutch urban areas. The program takes the migration history and religious background of the parents into consideration and sees the agency and learning of its participants as important principles. The perspectives of communities of practice (Wenger, 2010) and cultural translation (De Haan, 2011) are used to understand the way transnational parents seek, select and use parenting capital and support each other in informal and formal learning spaces to define new (hybrid) parenting beliefs and practices. Pre- and post- intervention survey and interview data (n=80), pre- and post- intervention social network interview data (n=23) and ethnographic observations of the training data were gathered. Participants include mothers as well as fathers. Preliminary analyses show that transnational parents engaging in cultural contact zones become more conscious about moral, religious and cultural aspects of parenting. Moreover, the training helps parents to increasingly see themselves as learners, who become more reflective about their own parenting and learning and that of others, while expanding their repertoire of parenting skills. Analyzing the learning of parents in the formal setting of a parenting program from a perspective of communities of practice sheds light on the networked learning processes that lay at the base of the reconstruction of parenting beliefs and practices. Implications for the field include the integration of informal social networks in parenting program designs and the adoption of a learning approach.