This article critically examines the comparative research on maternal teaching behaviors of minority and low-status families. The article examines the conceptual and methodological foundations of the research and focuses on some conflicting aspects of the area. The article offers an alternative perspective for the study of maternal instruction that may be particularly useful in making cross-cultural and socioeconomic comparisons. Additionally, the article offers some exploratory data that reexamines the verbal teaching behavior of Chicana- and Anglo-American mothers while instructing their preschool-aged children to tie their shoelaces. Contrary to earlier studies, the findings suggest that ethnic differences in instruction may persist despite the level of schooling achieved by the mother. Specifically, Anglo mothers utilize significantly more perceptual questions in their instruction. Perceptual questions have been associated elsewhere with more controlling teaching strategies. Although it has been argued elsewhere that Chicana mothers are more controlling when compared to Anglo mothers, it appears that these groups may differ only in the mode by which they control their children.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science