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Parental perspectives: Examining caregiver experiences and perceptions of growth and learning within an out-of-school elementary engineering program

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2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Paper Authors


Peter Knox State University of New York at Binghamton

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Postdoctoral Fellow
University of Vermont

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Kelli Paul Indiana University-Bloomington

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Dr. Kelli Paul is a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Research on Learning and Technology at Indiana University where her research focuses on the development of STEM interests, identity, and career aspirations in children and adolescents.

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Jungsun Kim Indiana University-Bloomington

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Jing Yang

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Amber Simpson State University of New York at Binghamton

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Adam Maltese Indiana University-Bloomington

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Sawsan Werfelli State University of New York at Binghamton

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Caregivers are critical to children’s academic and social growth and development. As an adult who provides direct care and support, caregivers play a large role in what concepts and experiences children are exposed to, engage with, and pursue. A growing body of research has highlighted how caregiver influence manifests within out-of-school contexts, yet less is known about the impact of out-of-school learning and engagement from the perspectives of caregivers themselves. This study explored experiences and shifts in caregiver perceptions of shifts within themselves and their children through participation in an out-of-school home-based engineering program. Data were derived from post-program interviews with over 20 participating caregivers from three years of the program. Results illuminate various experiences and shifts in caregiver self-perception and understanding of their children’s learning and development. Specifically, these shifts included enhanced self-reflection and introspection, positive shifts in caregiver interactions with children, and observed increases in self-efficacy and complex thinking within children. Findings contribute to a growing body of knowledge of family engagement and the distinct perspective that caregivers can provide on children’s learning. Further, shifts in caregiver self-concept and self-efficacy in engaging in engineering content make a unique contribution and provide insights into ways that caregiver engagement in out-of-school learning might be adapted to incorporate more accessible learning opportunities, especially those that occur in the home.

Knox, P., & Paul, K., & Kim, J., & Yang, J., & Simpson, A., & Maltese, A., & Werfelli, S. (2022, August), Parental perspectives: Examining caregiver experiences and perceptions of growth and learning within an out-of-school elementary engineering program Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN. 10.18260/1-2--41907

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