Master of Arts (M.A.)
California North Coast is a suburban city with a population approximately 27,000. In 1984, the Mong people, an ethnic minority subgroup from Laos, established their community on the California North Coast. Presently, the Mong population decreased to about seventy families in 1998. They came to the United States as political refugees as early as 1976 due to their involvement with the United States' Secret Army in Laos during the Vietnam war. Since the Communist government in Laos declared genocide on the Mong people, they escaped to Thailand and resettled in the United States. Not all of the Mong families were initially resettled in the California North Coast but they moved there as second migration from other cities and states. Other families came directly from the Thai refugee camps in Thailand. There were approximately 130 Mong families in the city of California North Coast in 1993. With limited jobs in the area, many families left the California North Coast in search of employment in other states. Since the majority of the Mong parents did not have any formal education, this has created problems for themselves and their children due to their lack of knowledge about and experience with education. This study examines an after-school program and multicultural activities for Mong students at an elementary school in the California North Coast and its implication for home-school collaboration and/or partnership learning environment. The author wants to know the kinds of communications and learning environment during school, after-school and/or at home that Mong parents and teachers had developed collaboratively to provide opportunities for Mong students to succeed in their education. Within the context of qualitative research method, this study ethnographically interviewed nine teachers, nine Mong students and nine Mong parents. Also, the author reflected on past experiences and data collection from 1993-1998 in the school district and the Mong community. This study examined the teachers and Mong parents' responses to the education of Mong students. This study revealed that school personnel, Mong parents and Mong students work well together when there are trusting relationships. If educators create a warm welcoming school environment that excepts the Mong culture and appreciates Mong parents' struggle living in the United States, this helps the Mong families to have less fear about school. The more Mong parents know about school, the greater involvement they have in their children's education. The after-school program that was studied provided positive reinforcement to Mong children's education. The Mong children who participated in the after-school program had less trouble with their schooling. They remained connect to their home language and culture. The after-school program allowed Mong parents and school personnel to gain personal experience with each other's cultural values. The author also found that a home environment and school environment which reflect on both the students' home culture and school culture are important learning environments for the success of Mong children's education.
Thao, Yer J., "Multicultural learning environment for Mong children in the California north coast : home and school collaboration" (1999). Capstone Projects and Master's Theses. 259.