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Roles Do Parent , Family Background, and Culture Play in Student Motivation

Based on the information in What Roles Do Parent Involvement, Family Background, and Culture Play in

Student Motivation? (Usher & Kober, 2012)

Identify 2 or 3 critical ideas you believe are most important for teachers to understand and respond to in
order to foster student learning in the classroom. Provide rationale for the choices you made.

Week 5 Discussion

The two critical ideas that are most important for teachers to understand and respond to
foster student learning in the classroom include; circumstances in which children are raised, and
the racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds of learners. According to Usher and Kober (2012),
one of the factors that contribute to achievement gaps between students from affluent families
and their disadvantaged peers is variation in the socio-economic status of their families. For
instance, academic achievements of children from disadvantaged families are likely to be low
due to poor parental skills that are inherent in those families. It is the responsibility of the teacher
to identify family factors that may be hindering their students’ academic performance in the
classroom. To enhance student learning in the classroom, teachers should utilize instructional
strategies that are intended to support parenting skills which children are exposed to back at
home (Usher and Kober, 2012).
Moreover, cultural and social contexts in which children are raised have a direct
influence on their abilities to learn. For instance, children of Asian American origin have been
found to perform better than those raised by Hispanic mothers (Usher and Kober, 2012). As
Usher and Kober (2012) explain, cultural discrimination and stereotypes have a negative impact
on students’ motivation. Additionally, parental behaviors and values across different ethnic and
cultural groups may influence students’ aspirations either positively or negatively. The teacher is
charged with the responsibility of identifying ethnic, racial, and cultural factors that may
negatively affect their students’ academic achievements. By applying culturally sensitive
instructional strategies, the teacher can quickly enhance students’ motivation in the classroom,
thereby improving their learning abilities (Usher and Kober, 2012).


Usher, A. & Kober, N. (2012). What roles do parent involvement, family background, and
culture play in student motivation? The George Washington University: Center On
Education Policy.

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