The issues of race, discrimination, national identity, as well as those of career development and national peculiarities of this step, have always been of crucial importance for the existence of the human society (Aleman, 1999, p. 67 – 76). All those problems acquire special significance when one considers them in the historical and socio-cultural contexts. Thus, the pilot study will focus not only on the research of the current state of Hispanic Women in education in the USA, namely in one school district of the Florida, but will also examine the reasons for this state and possible consequences of it (Aleman, 1999, p.67).
The problem to be studied in this work has deep cultural and historical roots, and the work is going to consider them as well so that to understand the current processes better. The role of the research is rather large in the socio-cultural discourse of today’s world. Issues of interracial relationships, cultural contacts and integrations are very important nowadays due to the global integration of all nations, economies and cultures.
Education, as a part of every culture, is to be considered with special attention. When cooperation of people of different ethnic groups and cultures takes place within education, this sphere of human activity acquires special significance. Garcia (2001) stresses the significance of the Hispanic Education in the US. It is motivated by the facts that Latino people constitute one of the largest communities in the US and the knowledge about this ethnic group will contribute not only to the overall knowledge of the members of society but to the interracial understanding and avoiding all possible conflicts.
The prominent topic of the current research on Hispanic women in education focuses on what predetermines the choices of Hispanic female teachers not to develop their careers in educational system (Turner, 2002, p. 74). The topic is rather significant because education is a means of forming new generations and race is an especially delicate issue. Due to these facts, a lot of scholarly works were dedicated to this very topic. Researchers tried to see what the main decision-making factors are that influence Hispanic women teachers and prevent them from developing their educational careers and applying for positions in administration (Rodriguez, 2001).
Moreover, researchers paid a great piece of attention to the issue of work of Hispanic and other ethnic minority women as professors in higher educational establishments or administrative positions. Scholars tried to review the studies of the experiences of the Hispanic women in educational positions, consider racial, sexual and social differences, as well as conducted their own research works so as to see any considerable progress in this respect. The scholars examined contexts of history, culture and social attitudes together with personal values and beliefs of every particular participant of this or that research in attempt to find out the major reasons for Hispanic female teachers not to develop their careers beyond classrooms. (Verdugo, 1999, p. 669).
Historical context is, according to Aleman (1999), one of the fundamental aspects of studying every problem in research. This is due to the fact that phenomena and processes of the human history tend to be recurrent, and thus, causes of a certain modern phenomenon can be clearly seen from the history of this race, nation, etc. Consequently, the work by Aleman (1999) presents a great amount of scientific and direct research information about the historical explanations of the differences that are found between the attitudes of Hispanic women and women of other races towards the development of their careers and career goals.
Garcia in his work published in 2001 also considers the history of the interracial relations within the US society. The author emphasizes the needs of historical and cultural education and presents numerous interesting facts, which are of great help for this pilot study of choices of Hispanic women in education careers. The historical context of the issue presents a foundation of this very study, but it goes without saying that I consider here other theoretical parts, namely cultural context of the problem and research data from the works by other authors, and the practical framework for the current pilot study.
Cultural context embraces such spheres of human life as customs, traditions, race and national identity. Similar to the historical explanations of the issue, cultural context elaborates on discrimination and inequality of rights, but also focuses on the traditions of the Hispanic ethnic group among which family is one of the greatest values. That is one of the reasons why Hispanic women make such choices in respect of their further careers development.
Garcia (2001) ponders a lot on the topic of power that traditions and customs have in the Hispanic community and pays much attention to the concept of machismo as one of the decisive factors in this issue. It is a rather updated source which allows me to obtain objective and relevant information. This source is rather useful in my study as far as I aim at identifying the reasons for Hispanic female teachers not to develop their careers and one of these reasons can be machismo and strict obedience to husband and family which are characteristic features of machismo.
The work by Cole (2000) states that considerable changes are made to the social and cultural life of the American society and claims that Latino community should try to accustom to them by changing and modifying its cultural values and outlook of the world in order to preserve or increase influence and authority of Hispanic people in the system of education. Thus, the constantly increasing role of women in all spheres of social life will be complied with the views and traditions of the rather conservative Hispanic culture.
The work by Cole is rather significant for this pilot study because its aim is to study the Hispanic women in education in the context of the American society, so the comparison of cultural and social standards will be of great use. Rodriguez (2001) in the respective article touches upon the problem of lack of assertiveness that Hispanic women have in their teaching practices in schools and higher educational establishments. This issue is quite significant as personal factors, such as assertiveness, can be equally important for the choices of Hispanic female teachers as the outside factors such as family influence, cultural or discriminatory factors.
To continue the theoretical research of their colleagues, other scholars present their practical studies that are aimed at consideration of female teachers’ choices either to develop their careers or not. Turner (2002) interviewed professional women of Hispanic background and examined the factors that affect their career development and choices. Her research revealed that the most important points include fear of discrimination by non-Hispanic colleagues, fear of violation of native traditions, wish to spent more time with family, affection to the work in class directly with students and absence of which to change anything in their lives.
Racial discrimination is a rather significant factor in this list, as Turner (2002) reports about the numerous facts of such discrimination which becomes even more hurting when amplified by sexual discrimination. Fear of violation the traditions is also connected to the issue of sexual discrimination because in the Hispanic culture a woman is to keep the household and be a good mother rather then a successful business lady. The role of men is more relevant in this culture. that is why there is a need to study this aspect as well. The wish to spend more time with family is also in the close connection to the previous point and to the cultural factors.
Due to this, many Hispanic women, as reported by Turner (2002), choose family instead of career and this fact needs to be studied. This, as well as wish to work with children and unwillingness to change the way of life, are the factors predetermined by the psychological peculiarities of Hispanic women and I should consider these aspects in detail in this pilot study. Another important aspect of Turner’s article is the description of the many challenges and hardships for Hispanic female teachers who opted for professional promotion.
The research under consideration will be a qualitative research carried out by means of interviewing 5 Hispanic female teachers in a County in Florida and with the help of the information obtained from other works on this topic.
The research will have established and clearly explained questions, purposes, developed methodology and instruments for data collection and analysis. The pilot study is aimed at finding out what factors influence the choices of a lot of Hispanic women-teachers not to develop their careers further than school classrooms and not to apply for further career development. I will analyze the theoretical information and answers of the interviewed Hispanic women so that to understand the reasons for them not to develop their careers, credibility of their answers and possible application of these answers to the wider scope of research.
- What are the factors that influence the career choices of Hispanic women to remain as classroom teachers?
Answering this question will allow me to see the main reasons for Hispanic women to remain as classroom teachers and to make conclusions about the next questions of this pilot study. I will obtain the answer from the interviews of 5 Hispanic female teachers who experienced the problem of career choice in their lives.
- Who makes these choices?
This question, if answered properly, will allow me detect whether the choices made by Hispanic women are their own choices or enforced by some outside factors. The answer to this question will allow me to see if the decisions to stop career developments after reaching the position of classroom teacher were self-made or dictated by certain cultural or discriminatory factors.
- What are the effects of culture upon Hispanic women?
I have chosen this point as a research question because numerous scholars (see Literature Review) stress the importance of culture in decision making of Hispanic women, so there is a need to study this issue in more detail. Moreover, this question and answer to it will allow me to see if the situation with Hispanic women in education can be changed for the better by means of persuading them in their greater importance at higher positions.
- Which role is attributed to possible discrimination at administrative work in these choices?
The question of possible discrimination is one of the most important because Turner (2002) and a number of other scholars call it as the main reason for passive career development in Hispanic female teachers. I stipulated it as one of the research questions so that to consider its significance in Broward County school district and trace changes in it.
- How does the affection to work and wish to help children affect the choices of Hispanic women in education?
This research question is necessary to see clearer the connection of Hispanic women to their families and their wish to conform to the national traditions. Answer to this question may either support or deny other questions and hypothesis to be studied during this research.
- What needs to be done in order to encourage Hispanic women to be more decisive to take on leadership positions beyond classrooms?
Answer to this question, as well as the question itself, are dependant upon the findings of this research in other questions. Specifically, this research question allows seeing the full picture of the situation by synthesizing answers to the previous questions and confirming, or neglecting, the necessity in changes of career choices of Hispanic women.
The respective purposes of the pilot studies can be outlined on the basis of the research questions enumerated above:
- To test and out the choices of Hispanic female teachers in order to help the research in my dissertation in terms of instrument development and research design.
This is the primary purpose of my pilot study and all other purposes are derived from it. The essence of this purpose lies in the necessity of well-developed instruments and basic knowledge that would allow m to create a dissertation researching the problems of Hispanic community.
- To study the processes that take place in the Hispanic community in respect of education, career development and women rights.
This purpose will be achieved by gathering theoretical information about possible reasons for lack of career development initiatives of Hispanic women. Statistical data will be collected and analyzed from the works of other scholars to support the data of the study carried out by the author of this pilot study by means of interviewing Hispanic women-teachers. The interviews will touch upon their future careers, factors affecting their decisions and main points that keep them from applying for certain positions outside classrooms, like administrative work or professor’s positions in higher educational establishments (Aparicio, 1999).
- To examine the role of discrimination and other factors in affecting the decision making of Hispanic women in education.
This purpose is set for the pilot study as the means to show Hispanic women in education that discrimination, if such exists, can be overcome. Examples of this can be found in numerous scholarly researches on the topic and can influence the views and choices of women. The cases of such discrimination were reported by different scholars as evidenced or experienced by subjects of their studies that is why it is necessary to study this issue.
Setting this purpose will help us to examine the positive changes, if any, which happened in this respect over the past few years. It will also allow seeing the factors that lead to discrimination, develop discrimination in educational sphere and possibly cause the problem the current pilot study deals with. Having achieved this purpose, the author of this research will be able to take measures to eliminate discrimination, if it is, from the reasons making up choices of Hispanic women. This will be achieved by starting a club where Hispanic women would be able to share their experiences and find solutions to their problems.
Another step would be the distribution of newspapers and academic articles that teach women how to resist discrimination. This all will be done to demonstrate the actual state of things in the system of education and explain to women that they have wide circle of opportunities for development of their careers.
The method chosen for this pilot study is the method of the Qualitative research. The choice of the method was not accidental and can be supported by the number of strong arguments in its favor. The main argument supporting the usage of the qualitative research method in this pilot study is that, according to the interpretative paradigm of relations, social reality is a sum of subjective experiences of people who participate in it (Smith, 1998, pp. 23 – 25).
In this case, it is necessary to use a qualitative method of research because only this method allows seeing the reasons and the underlying facts of a certain phenomenon. As far as I am going to interview 5 Hispanic women-teacher of our school district in respect of their subjective attitude towards their careers, there is no necessity in alternative to the qualitative method of research (Bogdan, 2005, pp. 23 – 24).
Moreover, the qualitative method of research is used when the task is to explain certain processes and phenomena of the objective reality from the subjective point of view, when it is necessary to see causes of phenomena, to decode them and interpret (Mitchell, 1999, pp. 383 – 390).
It is the main advantage of the qualitative method of research in comparison to the quantitative method, according to Smith (1998) which is aimed at finding out the rate at which this or that phenomenon may occur the quantity of this or that phenomenon occurrences for a certain period of time. As far as for research I need to be focused on the essence of the phenomenon we are to study, qualitative method is of great use because it does not presuppose the usage of categorical formulations, formulas or definitions, it is concentrated on collecting and synthesizing the subjective data in order to make conclusions about this phenomenon (Matveev, 2001).
To make the support of this very method of research for this pilot study, the following characteristic of the qualitative method can be considered. First of all, qualitative research is a study of relations between people in the form of conversations and texts created by them in this process. This means that while quantitative research deals with figures, the qualitative one examines the attitudes of people towards events they took part in.
This method allows more access to the hidden messages that are not accessible from figures. Secondly, qualitative method is used to interpret and properly understand the symbols used by people in the already mentioned process of conversational communication. Thus, the things that are implicit, i. e. encoded via certain symbols, can be interpreted and analyzed seeing their reasons. Finally, it is a method that studies roles of different people in situations that happen in different contexts, and by this allows consideration of numerous subjective opinions that can picture the objective reality (Matveev, 2001).
Among the weaknesses of the quantitative method, the following ones can be mentioned. Firstly, change of original object of research following the changes of context. This is a noticeable weakness, as it does not provide for study of on and the same object and demands constant gathering of data as the phenomena one studies change. Secondly, lack of objective results as they depend upon the personality of the researcher can be noticed in some research works carried out by qualitative method. This is true, but not in all cases, and depends mainly on the researcher and his or her principles of work.
Finally, qualitative method in some cases displays inability to insure the truthfulness of the data acquired as far as respondents can drop certain, for instance, personal or shameful, details and there will be no chance to identify the respondent as private data are excluded from the research (Matveev, 2001).
Nevertheless, the weaknesses enumerated can are true not in all situations and can be opposed by the following arguments. Firstly, change of the original object is not a good term to use here because the object remains and only its qualities and states change. It is a usual process as far as we are studying a dynamic phenomenon which is constantly subject to change both in different contexts and in different time periods.
Secondly, objectivity of research is not guaranteed by any research method because the researcher can choose to drop certain data that seem to be irrelevant to him or her but can change the results of the whole study drastically. Nevertheless, even in this method it is not the common practice and reputable researcher will never allow him/herself doing it (Mitchell, 1999, pp. 383 – 390).
Even the quantitative method aimed at using of exact data can be subjective as far as the opinion of the majority is presented as the general truth despite the fact that the difference in number between those who support and neglect certain point of view can be very slight. To avoid such situations in the study, I will consider answers of each particular respondent and make conclusions with certain amendments if at least one of them has the point of view that differs from all others.
Furthermore, the following strengths of the qualitative method will be enumerated so that to make the usage of this approach completely grounded:
- ability to interact directly with the subject of the research;
This advantage is enumerated here because the data obtained from people who are directly participating in the phenomenon one studies is much more reliable than the conclusions that one can make from figures obtained from statistical surveys carried out by some other researcher.
- usage of various tools and instruments while conducting research without limiting on figures, percentage, etc.;
- due to the two above mentioned factors ability to get the full picture of the phenomenon under consideration (Matveev, 2001).
Site and Subjects
Each research demands certain site and subject for its conduct. The choice of the site and subject is carried out on the basis of the purposes of the research and research questions, as well as the methodology chosen for the research. In this study, the following site and subjects will be involved.
The site chosen for the pilot study is the school district in a County in Florida. The single site selection is due to the fact that it is a pilot study and it does not involve wide range of research. To be more exact, the site will be a single school district with the interviews carried out with 5 – 10 persons. A wider scope of the study will not allow us to get precise and proper data. Besides, the qualitative method chosen for the current pilot study does not demand great numbers of participants of the research and only aims at analyzing subjective experiences and attitudes of a focused target of people.
To support the choice of this school district, one can notice that the current selection covers the area where I am studying and I have the greater possibility to receive consent from respondents to gather information in this very district. Furthermore, the quantity of Hispanic women working as school teachers in this district is quite large (about 35%), so the research will cope with assignment of finding the necessary number of people and clear up the questions that are the research questions of this study.
Subjects of the pilot study will consist of 5 Hispanic women who are working in this school district as classroom teachers and do not seek any further development of their educational careers. These teachers are chosen so that they could represent Hispanic female teachers in this school district, i. e. women of Hispanic origin who work as school or kindergarten teachers and are led in their careers by their cultural and personal values more than by strive to take some high position. These women are of different age, have different experience in education and may present different reasons for such career choices.
Consequently, I need to study their answers in this research in order to make basis for my subsequent dissertation. Moreover, it is necessary that the Hispanic female-teachers selected for the pilot study should answer all the questions asked by the researcher. So the procedure of the interview and its main aspects should be discussed beforehand in order not to fail the research and not to insult any of its.
This very interview will be carried out with the help of survey monkey and the questionnaire consisting of 13 targeted questions. The aim of the questionnaire is to identify the most important aspects of the problem considered, thus the questions in it will touch upon the working experience of the respondents and their main reason for not developing their careers further than being classroom teachers. So that to make the research as proper as possible, the interviews with Hispanic female-teachers will be structured and the whole research will be well organized.
Data Collection Procedures
The interview for the purposes of the basic data collection will take place in the oral form and separately with each participant of the research, i. e. study subjects. I will carry out the interviews in accordance with the following time table:
- The first step will be the preparation of the questionnaire for the interviews. It will take 2 days and involve the study of the most significant points that can be helpful in the research, like support of the family, personal objectives, importance of culture and traditions, etc.
- The second one will be selection of Hispanic female-teachers according to their positions, working experience and age. This step will take approximately a week (approximately because there is no guarantee that I will meet all teachers on a single day and arrange with them for interviews. That is why I will take into consideration the working time tables and personal business of the teachers and meet with them to receive their consent in the time appropriate for them.)
- The third step will be the interview with the selected teachers. I will try to carry it out during a day after so that to have more time to analyze information and make conclusions.
These are the main instruments and tools for collecting the information needed in the research but it goes without saying that special instruments are needed for the purposes of structuring, analyzing and making conclusions of the research information (Rodriguez, 2001). That is why the first instrument needed for the above specified purposes is the table that would give clear structure to the answers acquired from the interviews and show the data collected in comparison of every point to all others.
The next instrument needed will be the interpretative paradigm which is always used together with the qualitative method of research. This paradigm presupposes that the researcher will pay special attention to the interpretation of all aspects of the issue his or her research is concerned with. That is why, according to the interpretative paradigm of research, I am going to consider the data in respect of their historically-predetermined, culturally- or socially-predetermined factors so that to see such aspects of situation as its causes, developing factors, differences in various contexts, possible results of the situation and probable ways to change the situation if such a need will be present (Wolf-Wendel, 1998).
Conclusions regarding the information collected during the research will be made by means of logical thinking and argumentation of different points of view, if any. One more instrument of special significance for this pilot study will be the guarantee of confidentiality of all information that the subjects of the research will consider to be such (Bogdan, 2005).
I will write down and then process with the help of the survey monkey all the answers of the subjects in order to obtain the data that will allow the researcher to make respective conclusions and answer, positively or negatively, the research questions enumerated in the respective section of the pilot study. The data obtained from the interviews with the 5 Hispanic women-teachers will be structured in a specific table that will display the trends of the answers and demonstrate the main causes of the processes that we are to study in this research as below:
|Fear of discrimination|
|Reason for the choice|
I will fill the above presented table with the data about the subjects of the research and with their answers to the questions of the questionnaire. Close attention to the answers with special awareness of the context, i. e. personal information about each participant, will allow the researcher to make the respective conclusions about the reasons for these people and for the Hispanic female-teachers on the whole to limit their careers in education by being the classroom teachers and not to apply for higher positions in the educational career ladder.
This will be done by consideration of family factors, origin of each particular respondent and motivations for making this or that choice. Next step will be the usage of the interpretative paradigm for the processing of the data from the table. Answers will be interpreted based on the cause-consequence model as for their reasons and possible factors of influence, as well as for their possible consequences. This means that if a respondent says that she does not want to develop her career, but at the same time says that her family supports her in her current positions, I can assume that her own will is not quite considered in this choice and she acts according to the will of her family members.
Ethical considerations are essential for this study. First, it is necessary to submit the WU required IRB application and obtain official approval (see attached). Second, there is a need of consideration of the ethical limitations that the researcher will face during the conduct of the research (Bogdan, 2005). Among the most significant ones are:
- guarantee of information confidentiality;
I will guarantee it by signing a paper with each of the respondents that will involve certain administrative or even criminal responsibility in case of its violation. Moreover, I will not inquire about family members of the respondent and about the state of the family on the whole. It will be inevitable, however, to know the name and surname of all respondents but these data will be secured by the written guarantee.
- politeness and political correctness;
This point is rather important. I will ensure its presence during the whole research by learning the most updated information about the standards of communication with representatives of different races, sexes and sexual preferences. Here I can only give my personal guarantees, i. e. my word, so that to be sure that neither of the research subjects will be offended in any way.
- respect to religious, political, sexual preferences of the subjects.
This point will also be guaranteed by me personally, but the respondents can seek defense of their rights in court if some word or action of mine will offend them in any of the senses, including religion, political or sexual preferences.
This is where the role of the researcher comes into play. As the person who initiates and carries out the study, I will have to assure the people that not even a bit of their confidential information will be made public. It will not be difficult to do as far as all the information will be in possession of the researcher only, and after the publication the subjects of the research will obtain the copy of the pilot study so that this person could be sure about the compliance with the specified guarantees.
My assignment would be to establish as close contact with the subjects by means of being polite and displaying purely scientific interest in their problems so that do not drop any important information on the topic and answer with the maximum sincerity. If the assignments of the researcher will be completed with the highest accuracy, the data of the research will be the most objective and reliable that will demonstrate the success of the study.
Thus, I will support the reasons for Hispanic female-teachers to stop their careers by specific examples. My role in this study is quite big but it would be impossible to carry it out without the scholarly theoretical framework and well developed methodology. My role in this study lies in collecting and structuring the information, as well as in making sure that the research is objective, scientific and accurate. To achieve these purposes I will have to study a considerable amount of literature. This step will provide for the better understanding of the issue and of the direction of my subsequent study. This will allow me to make sure that the research is scientific and accurate because I will keep to the main principles of the qualitative method expressed by Matveev (2001), Bogdan (2005), etc.
My role in the ensuring the objectivity of the research will lie in presenting the whole amount of data obtained during the interviews and supporting them with purely scientific analysis according to the interpretative paradigm. For the interview, I will select teachers whom I will consider to be the most reliable and sincere, so that to be sure about the objectivity and relevance of the information presented by them.
The research findings state that the issue of passive career development of Hispanic female-teachers exists and displays features of a serious problem. The literature studied before the research displayed lack of research in this field and the current work aimed at filling this gap. In this research I found out that Hispanic female-teachers in a County school district, to be more precise the 5 interviewed female-teachers, choose not to develop their careers and apply for administrative positions or higher educational positions. Motivations for such choices are quite similar, with slight exceptions, and can be reduced to wish to work with children, wish to spend more time with their families and complete support of the families in their current positions.
|Title||ESE Clerk||Core Reading Specialist||ESE Teacher and Team Leader||Teacher Assistant||Teacher|
|Workplace||Elementary School||Elementary School||Elementary School||Elementary School||Kindergarten|
|Experience||13 years||12 years||18 years||15 years||20 years|
|Degree||No||Master’s Degree||BA in Education||Associates Degree||BS in Education|
|Further Career||No||Yes, but for purposes of development||Not now||No||No|
|Fear of discrimination||No||No||No||No||No|
|Reason for the choice||Work with children||Work with children||Social Importance of education||Work with children||Work with children, Wish to help|
The table reflects all the most important aspects of the interviews carried out with the 5 Hispanic women-teachers working in the Broward Country school district in the state of Florida. Respectively, the research findings according to the research questions are as follows.
According to the interviews, all the women that took part in the research made their choice not to develop their careers outside the classrooms according to their personal preferences and family needs. To be more exact, women decided to remain school teachers because they liked their work, liked school environment and communication with people: ”I would never consider position in administration. This is not what I want to do.
I like working in class, besides this position leaves me much more time to spend with my family than administrative one.” (Respondents 3, Interview, 2008) According to the Table 1 above, all the women had the same reason not to apply for higher position – they liked working with children, wanted to help the new generations with their intellectual development and understood the necessity of education for the development of the sound society. Their families also support them in their activities, being at the same time other reasons for choice of such a career – all the respondents want to spend more time with their families and children and only a position of a school teacher allows to do it and to have holidays simultaneously with children.
The women also displayed almost complete rejection of administrative positions or career development in education. Only respondent 2, Core Reading Specialist in Table 1, claimed to have had career development plans but had to drop them when she had two children and got to care for the family. Nevertheless, all women enjoy their work and would not like to change it. They consider their own preferences and family values to be the leading reasons for such choices.
Answer to this question was quite similar for every respondent, and even though they did not state it directly, it is obvious that family decided more than women themselves. Respondent 1 commented:”I have no interest in administrative or higher educational positions, but I have lots of support from my family to be in this field and position” (Respondent 4, Interview, 2008). Hispanic culture is characterized by values of family, home and a role of housekeeper attributed to women, that is why answers saying about family support in decision making and wish to be closer to the family, allow giving affirmative answer to this question.
Neither of the respondents determined possible discrimination as the cause of passive career development. They did not even mention it answering the question about the reasons for which they stay in class. All respondents called family and work with children as their main reason for that: “I would not go to administration as I enjoy working with my students, and I get as much support from the family as anyone can get.” (Respondent 5, Interview, 2008)
Scholars write a lot about racial and sexual discrimination taking place in educational establishments staffs towards Hispanic and other women of color (Aleman, 1999; Aparicio, 1999, etc.), but the answers of the specific respondents allow me to state that they either do not want to talk about it due to certain reasons (being afraid, shame, lack of whish to consider such global problems) or have never experienced them in a County School district.
According to Turner (2002) and Wolf-Wendel (1998), work as professors in higher educational establishments is connected with considerable discrimination of Hispanic women taking these positions, but, as can be concluded from the pilot study and the answers given to the questions of the interviews, in elementary school or kindergarten environment such a problem can not be faced or is faced in some other districts but not in the County. This means that writing my dissertation I will widen the scope and study these issues in other districts so that to confirm their existence or state that they are not existent.
According to the interviews, all the women questioned answered that dedication to work with children, whish to help young individuals develop their personalities and understanding of the great role of education in further lives of these children keeps them away from planning and developing further careers in education or administration: “I want to help. I want to give a chance for my students to find a way to make sense of something. I believe I can make a difference in someone’s life.” (Respondent 5, Interview, 2008).
Working in school environment, solving problems that their pupils have from time to time and watching them grow and develop under their control were the main factors that influenced teachers from applying for higher positions. Here we can also see that family values are dominant in decision making for Hispanic women who, besides their students, want to spend more time with their own children and career development might prevent them from doing it, that is why they choose a stable work and structured schedule where time for everything is provided: “I have a large family to take care of and it is a great convenience to have time off the same time as my children.” (Respondent 3, Interview, 2008).
Drawing from the answers to the previous questions, we can not see any possible ways to overcome the factors influencing choices by Hispanic women-teachers. Thus, the situation with the number of Hispanic women taking heading positions in education and administration can be changed only simultaneously with the change of cultural values of this ethnic group for the better so that it could be rightful member of the social life.
Moreover, it is possible if these women decide for themselves that careers can help them realize their goals of help students by developing and adopting decisions that will benefit the education system, for example measures to reduce inequality of access to education for different social groups, provide students with more job opportunities after study, etc. State and private schools should provide additional funding for education of poor people and contact different companies so that to create working places for their future graduates. These issues are close to Hispanic community as there are many poor people in it who do not have access to education or can not find job after it. Thus, Hispanic women will be able to change the situation and improve the quality of education for ethnic minorities and socially-insecure classes.
Discussion and Reflection
In this study I have learnt that the main reasons why Hispanic women in a large number of cases choose not to develop their careers applying for higher positions on the career ladder are those connected with their families. 5 Hispanic women-teachers from the a County school district were interviewed in order to carry out the qualitative study of their answers and all of them responded that they wanted to have more time to spend with their families and due to this did not develop their careers.
All respondents of the study were sure in their choice being right as far as they liked work with children, being in a classroom environment and understood the necessity of the elementary education for further development of personalities and the whole society. Work with children is their personal preference, a kind of their psychological peculiarity, while understanding of the importance of education is a rather social quality. I mean that the interviewed Hispanic female-teachers displayed personal and social awareness in their motivations for career choices.
Moreover, all the subjects of the pilot study reported to have the absolute support from their family members in the decisions they make. That is why it is obvious from the data obtained that Hispanic women choose not to develop their careers due to the family and cultural factors, but not due to the discrimination possible or prohibitions from the side of family or relatives. The situation can be changed and Hispanic women may become more active in this issue if they change their personal career orientations and values and if the Hispanic cultural legacy will not influence their decision making so much.
To examine this in my dissertation I will extend the questionnaire to include more related questions in it, and carry out special tests with the respondents that will be aimed at showing them other culture, American or European, and comparing it with their culture so that they could see and accept that more liberal views are not always bad. For example, if a Hispanic woman would realize that there is nothing negative in developing career, she would find time to take care of her family and work as numerous American women do.
Another way to change the situation with Hispanic women in educational system is to persuade them that by career development and taking higher positions they can improve the quality of education and post-educational opportunities for the children they are so concerned about by means of adopting the respective decisions at the highest level.
All the information obtained during the study will be of great use for my future dissertation. I obtained a lot of valuable data relevant to the topic. They demonstrate the main processes in Hispanic community and system of education as interrelated phenomena. My future dissertation will benefit from the study findings in respect of theoretical framework and specific practical data, as far as the literature studied for the study will be of help for the dissertation and answers to the interview question will give information for further analysis. They will demonstrate one of the sides of the problem studied in more detail in the dissertation and show which areas are still in need of further research. Thus, the study will provide the dissertation with comparative material as well as with the guidelines for the further research.
The current research was a pilot study of the important phenomenon in the social life of Hispanic community and of the whole American society exemplified by specific examples of 5 Hispanic female-teachers from a County school district in Florida. According to the studies of numerous researchers, great part of Hispanic women in education tend to stop their careers after achieving the positions of classroom teachers in elementary schools or kindergartens and not to apply for higher educational or administrative positions. As the problem is significant for Hispanic community as the largest in the USA, I decided to study it and to use a qualitative method for this purpose. The theoretical framework for the study was obtained from knowledge got in class and from considering the literature on the topic.
Practical part of the study was the interview of 5 Hispanic women-teachers in elementary schools and kindergartens of the school district in Florida. I questioned the subjects of the study in regard of their professional and family values and their answers displayed the full picture of the situation. Despite the fact that numerous scholarly works call racial and sexual discrimination as the reason for Hispanic women not seek higher positions in education, respondents of the study did not mentioned this aspect focusing on their family values and love for children as factors that predetermine their choices. I structured the study data in the Table 1, analyzed using the interpretative paradigm and logical thinking, and reported in accordance with the stipulated research questions.
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