Exploring Academic Resiliency and Educational Experiences of Kenyan and U.S. Adolescent Girls

October 22, 2014, 12:30 - 1:30 pm

Wisconsin Idea Room 159, Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall

Tonia Durden

University of Nebraska, Assistant Professor in Child, Youth and Family Studies

Tonia Durden

This research talk will elaborate on research conducted comparing how African American adolescent girls in the Midwest and those in Kenya conceptualize resiliency. The primary focus of this research was to compare the experiences and perceptions of girls in high-risk communities across the diaspora, to identify individual, family, educational and community factors that enhance academic resiliency. Analysis yielded shared factors including access to quality schools and an intrinsic motivation to be academically successful. Differences included family-level factors. U.S. girls value support from trusted adults and peers, whereas Kenyan girls relied on parental support. Spirituality was identified only by Kenyan girls. Similarities and differences in resiliency reflect the elements of the African worldview shared by both groups and the need for adults’ awareness of the socio-political influences that impact these students' lives daily. Culturally responsive practices to promote educational equity will be discussed.