‘Caught between dreams and deeds’: the hope avenue for school success of students with a roma background

T. Moreira*, P. Rosário, J. Martins, C. Silva, D. Moreira, L. Ribeiro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The expressive underachievement of students with Roma background is a problem for the education and economic systems, and society at large. The educational underperformance of either minority or non-minority students might be explained by the lack of a clear direction and future goals. Self-setting goals and reflecting on the future are key elements of self-regulation and behavior change, likely to provide students with the ability to overcome roadblocks and succeed in school. Goal setting is a helpful tool to foster students' motivation and hope, and therefore, to increase school engagement and success. Moreover, in line with broader ecological models focusing on ethnic marginalized students, we argue that cognitions about the future (i.e., goal setting, hope) are largely shaped by key agents of socialization within family and school contexts (e.g., parents, teachers). Drawing on a sample of eighteen elementary students with Roma background and their respective parents (N = 36), this study's aims are three-fold: i) to explore students' future perspectives regarding the domain (academic versus non-academic), consistency, and intentional self-regulatory skills; ii) to explore how parents' future aspirations and expectations for their children are aligned and shape children's perspectives about their future; and iii) to further understand how parents' goals are related to students' perspectives on the value of education and school engagement. Data were collected through semistructured interviews and visual tools (i.e., life-maps diagrams). A dyadic qualitative analysis was performed on data to explore patterns and emergent relationships within and across dyads. Anchored on the ecological acculturation perspective and hope framework, this study's findings are clustered in two main topics as follows: (i) parents' and children's individual patterns of the perceived value of education and future expectations and goals; (ii) parent-child dyadic analysis on children and youth's future envision regarding education (i.e., the perceived value of education and their school-related future goals). The current study contributes to the rather scant literature on the field of “Roma and Education” by picturing the perspectives of students and parents regarding their hope towards social upward mobility. Furthermore, findings are expected to provide relevant insights for policy-makers and teaching practices in multicultural classrooms, supporting the relevance of future expectations, goal setting, and hope as avenues to mitigate the achievement gap.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe psychology of self-regulation
EditorsJorja Dutton
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages29
ISBN (Print)9798886974164
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • Roma students
  • Goal-setting
  • Hope
  • Self-regulation
  • Dyadic qualitative analysis


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