Research on Cultural Socialization

Research Question 1

What are the everyday routines of young children? How do everyday settings, activities, and interactions vary across cultures and contexts?

Children's everyday interactions are embedded in culturally scripted routines, which serve as important contexts of cultural socialization, and shape children's learning. In a series of studies, our lab investigates the context and content of daily interactions between ethnically diverse infants living in NYC and infants living in Tajikistan, with a focus on how activity settings structure the children's daily opportunities for interactions.

What are features of settings (home, neighborhoods, schools) that characterize children's everyday lives? How do they shape learning? 

The types and features of contexts children spend time in shape their developing skills. In our lab, we focus three types of settings children spend time in: home, school, and neighborhoods. We describe features of those settings, and relate them to children's cognitive and social development. 

What are the types of "funds of knowledge" children enter school with? 

Children from different cultural backgrounds enter school settings with various funds of knowledge, defined by Vélez-Ibáñez and Greenbergas as a historical accumulation of abilities, bodies of knowledge, assets, and cultural ways of interacting. These capacities are often ignored in the classroom setting, not captured by standardized curricula, and not used as a resource for enhancing students' abilities. For ethnic and racial minority students, and those from non-dominant groups, the funds of knowledge go invisible, and frequently lead to deficit discourse, in which they are labeled as underperforming in comparison to students from dominant groups. In our lab, we examine the various funds of knowledge that children come to school with through observational methods, qualitative interviews, and survey methodology. 

Social worlds of children: who do they spend time with, where, when, and how do their interactions with peers shape their development?

Peers are important to children's everyday experiences. In a series of studies, we explore the characteristics of children's peers across the first 6 years of life, and how children's friendships shape their development. To answer these questions, we use both quantitative and qualitative methodologies, working with both parents and their children. 

How are children socialized around race, ethnicity, and gender?

Across all cultures, children are socialized to become competent and contributing members of their own communities. In the context of daily routines and interactions, children make meaning out of messages about their race, ethnicity, and gender. Using qualitative, quantitative, and observational measures, we focus on the types of messages children receive about their race, ethnicity, and gender, and how those messages vary as a function of age, context, and speaker. 

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