Parental expectations of Chinese immigrants: A folk theory about children's school achievement.

Parental expectations of Chinese immigrants: A folk theory about children's school achievement.

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Titre: Parental expectations of Chinese immigrants: A folk theory about children's school achievement.
Auteur: Li, Jun.
Résumé: Guided by the sociocultural approach (Wertsch, 1998; Wertsch, Del Rio & Alvarez, 1995), the study explores the relationship between parental expectations of the Chinese immigrants and their children's school achievement by pursuing three objectives: (a) to depict how immigrant Chinese parents and children "do things on the basis of their beliefs and desires, striving for goals, meeting obstacles which they best or which best them" (Brurier, 1990, p.43); (b) to obtain a better understanding of how immigrant Chinese parental expectations are constructed in a given sociocultural and historical context; and (c) to examine the affordances and constraints of immigrant Chinese parental expectations on their children's school achievement. With a qualitative grounded theory methodology (Strauss & Corbin, 1990), multiple data collection methods (open-ended interviews, researcher's journal, and document review) and multiple sources of data (parents, children, and other Chinese informants) were employed to ensure research trustworthiness. Seven recent immigrant Chinese families were primary participants in the study. The convergence and divergence of the accounts of the participants and other informants put forward an immigrant Chinese folk theory. The findings comprise four sections: (a) accounts of the parents; (b) accounts of the children; (c) visible minority experiences; and (d) role of parental expectations. Based on their cultural beliefs and life experiences, the parents mainly addressed their expectations in five areas, namely school achievement, career aspirations, integration of two cultures, moral character, and leadership role. The children expressed their perceptions of parental expectations, their anxious thoughts and feelings, and their self-expectations. All participants shared their thoughts on racial discrimination, visible minority ideology, and dreams of prosperity. Both parents and children affirmed that parental expectations fostered goal orientation, mastery learning experiences, internal control beliefs, and study habits. The study has demonstrated that the relationship between parental expectations of the Chinese immigrants and their children's school achievement is significantly shaped by the dynamic and complex interplay of multiple forces such as indigenous cultural expectations, personal life experiences, and the challenges of acculturation. High parental expectations and children's striving for excellence are rooted in Chinese cultural heritage and are situationally motivated and historically transformed in different ways in response to the demands of the Canadian sociocultual context. By giving voice to this fastest-growing yet under-researched largest visible minority group in Canada, the study makes educational experiences of the Chinese immigrants intelligible to the general public as well as to policy makers. It lends insights to the importance and necessity of anti-racism education. It assists immigrant Chinese parents and children to achieve mutual understanding in the process of acculturation. It also helps teachers and counsellors understand the cultural and family factors involved in schooling for immigrant Chinese children, so as to provide more efficient social and academic mentoring for non-mainstream children, and ultimately to enhance future school-home collaboration.
Date: 2002
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/6144

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