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Between Home and School: Guatemalan Maya Students and Cultural Gender Roles in South Florida

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Date Issued:
2006
Abstract/Description:
Second-generation Guatemalan Maya children and adolescents who were born in Palm Beach County had to balance two cultures. As children of Guatemalan Maya parents, these youths belonged to Guatemalan Maya households--but many of their other roles in the United States, particularly their roles as students, involved the wider American culture. As such, they endured many of the same acculturation challenges that first generation immigrants do. They often had to choose between fulfilling student roles, family roles, and contrasting cultural beliefs and values, and negotiate shifting cultural, familial, community, and gender dynamics. My primary research interest was to understand how home, community, and cultural roles and identities affected students' school experiences and how their student identities and school experiences affected their home lives. 1 found that second-generation Guatemalan Maya faced maJor obstacles as students such as poverty, language barriers, and rigid grading standards and views of knowledge that educational institutions adhere to. In addition, because of the extreme persecution against indigenous Maya in Guatemala. most of the students' parents received little fonnal education; thus, they were often unable to help their children with homework. Further, Maya also have adopted cautious views of fonnal education because of the tendencies of mainstream curriculums to devalue an indigenous lifestyle. Maya beliefs about the usefulness of a Western education also influenced students' perceptions of school. Moreover, most Maya immigrants came to the United States poor, and often had to work several jobs and long hours to financially support their families. Poverty was the primary factor that created hardships in students' lives. Families faced challenges of poverty by staying interdependent and working together to maintain the household. Thus, Guatemalan Maya children were expected to fulfill Maya adult roles, which varied for women and men, and contribute to the household by doing chores. Students' responsibilities at home diverted time and energy away from school, but these roles also gave students a greater understanding of adult roles and responsibilities. Thus, Guatemalan-Maya students gave family, home, community, and adult Maya roles priority while giving school identities and roles second priority.
Title: Between Home and School: Guatemalan Maya Students and Cultural Gender Roles in South Florida.
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Name(s): Robbins, Kristin L.
Brown, Susan Love, Thesis advisor
Florida Atlantic University, Degree grantor
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Electronic Thesis Or Dissertation
Date Created: 2006
Date Issued: 2006
Publisher: Florida Atlantic University
Place of Publication: Boca Raton, Fla.
Physical Form: application/pdf
Extent: 239 p.
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: Second-generation Guatemalan Maya children and adolescents who were born in Palm Beach County had to balance two cultures. As children of Guatemalan Maya parents, these youths belonged to Guatemalan Maya households--but many of their other roles in the United States, particularly their roles as students, involved the wider American culture. As such, they endured many of the same acculturation challenges that first generation immigrants do. They often had to choose between fulfilling student roles, family roles, and contrasting cultural beliefs and values, and negotiate shifting cultural, familial, community, and gender dynamics. My primary research interest was to understand how home, community, and cultural roles and identities affected students' school experiences and how their student identities and school experiences affected their home lives. 1 found that second-generation Guatemalan Maya faced maJor obstacles as students such as poverty, language barriers, and rigid grading standards and views of knowledge that educational institutions adhere to. In addition, because of the extreme persecution against indigenous Maya in Guatemala. most of the students' parents received little fonnal education; thus, they were often unable to help their children with homework. Further, Maya also have adopted cautious views of fonnal education because of the tendencies of mainstream curriculums to devalue an indigenous lifestyle. Maya beliefs about the usefulness of a Western education also influenced students' perceptions of school. Moreover, most Maya immigrants came to the United States poor, and often had to work several jobs and long hours to financially support their families. Poverty was the primary factor that created hardships in students' lives. Families faced challenges of poverty by staying interdependent and working together to maintain the household. Thus, Guatemalan Maya children were expected to fulfill Maya adult roles, which varied for women and men, and contribute to the household by doing chores. Students' responsibilities at home diverted time and energy away from school, but these roles also gave students a greater understanding of adult roles and responsibilities. Thus, Guatemalan-Maya students gave family, home, community, and adult Maya roles priority while giving school identities and roles second priority.
Identifier: FA00000990 (IID)
Degree granted: Dissertation (Ph.D.)--Florida Atlantic University, 2006.
Collection: FAU Electronic Theses and Dissertations Collection
Note(s): Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters
Subject(s): Education and globalization--Cross-cultural studies
Mayas--Social conditions--Florida--Indiantown
Mayas--Cultural assimilation--Florida
Home and school--United States--Florida
Held by: Florida Atlantic University Libraries
Sublocation: Digital Library
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/fau/fd/FA00000990
Use and Reproduction: Copyright © is held by the author with permission granted to Florida Atlantic University to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
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Host Institution: FAU
Is Part of Series: Florida Atlantic University Digital Library Collections.