From Digital Divide to Digital Literacies and Mother-Child Pedagogies: The Case of Latina Mothers


  • Jie Park Clark University
  • Laurie Ross Clark University
  • Ms. Deisy Ledezma Rodriguez Clark University



Latina mothers, pedagogy, digital literacy, COVID-19.


This article reports on a qualitative study of 22 Latina mothers and their experiences supporting their children’s remote education during COVID-19. Drawing on digital literacies and mujerista theory, the authors analyzed focus group data to find the following: Latina mothers’ struggles involved not just understanding online learning platforms but an educational system that was not responsive to the economic constraints and stressors faced by families; Latina mothers  perceived the school district’s response to COVID-19 as performative and inadequate; Latina mothers developed mother-child pedagogies or pedagogies in which the mother and child are involved in teaching to and learning from each other. The findings lend support to the idea that the digital literacy divide does not exist outside of social and economic structures, and to the resourcefulness of everyday Latina mothers.

Author Biographies

Jie Park, Clark University

Associate Dean, Director of the Center for Gender, Race, and Area Studies

Associate Professor of Education

Laurie Ross, Clark University

Professor of Community Development and Planning

Associate Dean and Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning 

Collaborative for Youth and Community Justice

Ms. Deisy Ledezma Rodriguez, Clark University

Graduate Student

Clark University


Bawden, D. (2008). Origins and concepts of digital literacy. In C. Lankshear & M. Knobel (Eds.,) Digital literacies: Concepts, policies and practices (pp. 17-32). Peter Lang.

Beetham, H., & Sharpe, R. (2019). An introduction to rethinking pedagogy. In H. Beetham & R. Sharpe (Eds.,) Rethinking pedagogy for a digital age (pp. 1-14). Routledge.

Bernal, D. D., Godinez, F. E.Elenes, C. A. & Villenas, S. (Eds.,) (2006). Chicana/Latina education in everyday life: Feminista perspectives on pedagogy and epistemology. SUNY Press.

Cleaveland, C., & Waslin, M. (2021). COVID-19: Threat and Vulnerability Among Latina Immigrants. Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work. 1-10.

Guzmán, B. (2012). Cultivating a guerrera spirit in Latinas: The praxis of mothering. Association of Mexican American Educators Journal, 6(1), 45-51.

Heath, S. B. (1983). Ways with words: Language, life and work in communities and classrooms. Cambridge University Press.

Hibel, L. C., Boyer, C. J., Buhler-Wassmann, A. C., & Shaw, B. J. (2021). The psychological and economic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic on Latina mothers in primarily low-income essential worker families. Traumatology. 27(1), 40-47

hooks, B. (2014). Ain't I a woman: Black women and feminism. Routledge.

Laurencin, C. T., & McClinton, A. (2020). The COVID-19 pandemic: A call to action to identify and address racial and ethnic disparities. Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, 7(3), 398-402.

Light, J. (2001). Rethinking the digital divide. Harvard Educational Review, 71(4), 709-734.

O'Reilly, A. (2020). “Trying to function in the unfunctionable”: Mothers and COVID-19. Journal of the Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement, 11(1), 7-24.

Oreopoulos, P, Page, M., & Stevens, A. (2006). Does human capital transfer from parent to child? The intergenerational effects of compulsory schooling, Journal of Labor Economics, 24(4), 729–760.

Parolin, Z., & Lee, E. K. (2021). Large socio-economic, geographic and demographic disparities exist in exposure to school closures. Nature Human Behaviour, 5(4), 522-528.

Pensiero, N., Kelly, A. & Bokhove, C. (2020). Learning inequalities during the Covid-19 pandemic: how families cope with home-schooling. Working paper.

Qin, D. (2004). Toward a critical feminist perspective of culture and self. Feminism & Psychology, 14(2), 297-312.

Rivera, L., Granberry, P. & Estrada-Martínez, L. (2020). COVID-19 and Latinos in Massachusetts (Gastón Institute Publications, 2020);

Street, B. V. (1984). Literacy in theory and practice (Vol. 9). Cambridge University Press.

Valdés, G. (1996). Con respeto: Bridging the distances between culturally diverse families and schools: An ethnographic portrait. Teachers College Press.

Villenas, S. A., Godinez, F. E., Bernal, D. D., & Elenes, C. A. (2006). Chicanas/Latinas building bridges. In D.D. Bernal, F.E. Godinez, C.A. Elenes, & S. Villenas (Eds.,) Chicana/Latina education in everyday life: Feminista perspectives on pedagogy and epistemology (pp. 1-9). SUNY Press.

Warschauer, M. (2002). Reconceptualizing the digital divide. First Monday.

Warschauer, M. (2003). Demystifying the digital divide. Scientific American, 289(2), 42-47.

Warschauer, M., Knobel, M., & Stone, L. (2004). Technology and equity in schooling: Deconstructing the digital divide. Educational Policy, 18(4), 562-588.

Worcester Research Bureau (2020). Broadening broadband: Considering Municipal Ownership as a Solution to Worcester’s Internet Challenges. Report 20-04.

Worcester Research Bureau (2021). Hybrid learning opt-in rates in Worcester Public Schools. Report. Report 21-02.

Additional Files



How to Cite

Park, J., Ross, L., & Ledezma Rodriguez, D. (2021). From Digital Divide to Digital Literacies and Mother-Child Pedagogies: The Case of Latina Mothers. International Journal of Multicultural Education, 23(3), 79–93.