Urban Parents' Motivation Regarding Their Child's Participation in STEM and Agricultural Activities
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Parents play a major role in the choices their children make regarding academics, leisure activities, and college and career preparation. Parent outcome expectations and behaviors are informed by their parenting self-efficacy in a specific subject or task. Parenting self-efficacy is the confidence parents have in their abilities to influence their children’s motivation, environments, and behaviors that could result in positive youth development. Parenting self-efficacy is informed by personal factors and experiences. Parenting self-efficacy can help to describe why or why not a parent engages in certain activities with their child.
The purpose of this study was to explore and describe how the motivation of parents of urban middle school students plays a role in their child’s interest in agriculture or STEM-related activities. The convenience sample for this study were parents of urban middle schools in Indianapolis, IN (N = 53) who’s children participated in afterschool programs. Quantitative data were collected using a parenting self-efficacy questionnaire, which included items related to participants’ parenting self-efficacy (PSE) as it pertains to their child’s academics, STEM and agricultural activities; parent outcome expectations (POE) as it pertains to their child’s college and career preparation, and discussing STEM and agriculture activities with their child; and, parents’ perceptions of their child’s post-secondary career and educational options and intended career field. Descriptive statistics including means, standard deviations, frequencies, and percentages were used to analyze the data. Correlations were computed to explore the relationships between the variables.
There were four conclusions for this study. First, urban parents were self-efficacious regarding their child’s academic performance and STEM activities, and had positive outcomes expectations regarding their child’s college and career preparation and engaging their child in agriculture and STEM activities. Second, on average urban parents reported participating in four different types of activities with their child, and recreational sports, visiting museums, computer games, and visiting the zoo were most popular. Third, urban parents agreed that their child would most likely pursue an associate or bachelor’s degree in arts, humanities, and social sciences as their post-secondary options. Finally, urban parents’ parenting self-efficacy for academic performance, STEM, and agriculture were positively related to parents’ outcome expectations regarding agricultural activities. Moreover, parenting self-efficacy regarding agricultural activities was positively related to the number of activities parents did with their children. Implications for practice and recommendations for future research were discussed.