Chinese immigrant children’s first year of schooling: An investigation of Chinese immigrant parents’ perspectives
Citation:Liao, T. M. (2007). Chinese immigrant children’s first year of schooling: An investigation of Chinese immigrant parents’ perspectives. Unpublished thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the degree of Master of Education, Unitec New Zealand, New Zealand.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:http://hdl.handle.net/10652/1306
Research shows that immigrant families generally go through a process of acculturation when they first arrive in a new country. As they face a different set of cultural norms and beliefs, immigrant families need to decide what values and beliefs to maintain, what to give away, and what to adopt as their new values and expectations in the host country. Chinese immigrant parents and New Zealand teachers also have quite different values and educational expectations. A lack of understanding of the different expectations may potentially result in difficulties in adaptation to New Zealand education leading to dissatisfaction and other problems such as a lack of partnership, negative acculturation, and communication barriers. Thus, this research aimed to examine Chinese immigrant parents’ educational experience and expectations of their children’s first year of primary schooling in New Zealand. This study is a qualitative investigation where two data collection tools, a questionnaire and a focus group interview were used to answer the research question: what do Chinese immigrant parents expect and experience in relation to the first year of their children’s primary education in New Zealand? The findings highlight that Confucian values continue to remain central in Chinese immigrant parents’ educational expectations and practices. On the other hand, these parents are also prepared to adopt some New Zealand educational values and practices related to play and child-centred approaches. Furthermore, the study suggests that there is a lack of partnership concerning educational practices and goals among the teachers and the parents which results in Chinese immigrant parents’ educational dissatisfaction. The parents exhibited concerns over the communication between the parents and the teachers in relation to children’s learning content and progress. They were also dissatisfied about the lack of homework, discipline, and system-wide learning materials for their children’s learning. They identified problems such as language, communication, and socialisation as their children’s common experience. In conclusion, the research proposes that teachers should take the initiative to understand and appreciate the differences between their own and Chinese immigrant parents’ educational expectations, practices, as well as their underpinning values. In order to achieve effective parent-teacher partnerships and foster positive learning experience for children, Chinee immigrant families’ values, beliefs, expectations and practices need to be better understood.