From Theory to Practice: Engaging Immigrant Parents in Their Children’s Education


  • Judith K. Bernhard Ryerson University



immigrant families, Latinos and education, postfoundational theories, Freire, Bourdieu, Cummins


The development of a series of theoretically based interventions for newcomer (immigrant) parents was undertaken over a 10-year period through an iterative method of designing and analyzing a series of ethnographic studies of its implementation. The results of three such interventions are reported here. The work was based on the critical theory of Freire and the post-Marxist and radical theories of Bourdieu and Cummins. Specifically, the interventions were designed to help immigrant groups of parents (of Latino origin) to understand their position of marginality, to help empower them, and to provide them with a basis for acting in support of their children’s education in the new host country. The findings of the interventions reported show how the research program evolved along with the dialectic refinement of practice and theory.

Author Biography

Judith K. Bernhard, Ryerson University

Judith Bernhard is a professor in the Faculty of Community Services and Director of the MA program in Early Childhood Studies. She has investigated the effects of migration on family functioning.