Resiliency Factors In Education: One Migrant Child's Success Story

This ethnographic case study focuses on the resiliency factors of one migrant farm worker in navigating the American public education system. The barriers farm workers’ children face are numerous and include: English language difficulties, teachers who do not understand their plight, culture or language, parents who have difficulty managing their child’s education due to work, language gaps, fear of deportation and a plethora of other immigrant problems. The literature regarding migrant farm worker children education centered on outreach initiatives designed to address the children’s needs for English language development, academic achievement, and mobility issues. This qualitative ethnography explores the question of resiliency factors in migrant children and how those factors can propel a migrant student to succeed in educational systems as they travel from job to job following the crops they harvest. The case study focuses on one child who came to the United States at the age of four and worked from kindergarten through high school as a migrant worker while at the same time successfully managing his education in central California schools. The ethnography and research data revealed several outcomes: The importance of effectual, caring teachers, the value of a culturally relevant pedagogy, the influence of social capital on success, and the magnitude of parental authority and how it influences migrant children.