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Taiwanese immigrant parents’ perceptions of their adolescent children’s ESL learning and academic achievement

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Title: Taiwanese immigrant parents’ perceptions of their adolescent children’s ESL learning and academic achievement
Author: Salzberg, Joy Lin
Degree Master of Arts - MA
Program Language and Literacy Education
Copyright Date: 1998
Abstract: This study examines the attitudes of recent Taiwanese immigrant parents, of relatively high socioeconomic status, toward the ESL learning of their adolescent children in one city in the Lower Mainland region of British Columbia, Canada. A qualitative, ethnographic approach was used to gather data from parents and adolescent children in eight families. The research questions for the study were: 1) How do Taiwanese immigrant parents perceive factors that influence their children's academic achievement? 2) What are their perceptions of their children's ESL learning experience and its relation, if any, to their academic achievement? and 3) What are the children's perceptions of their ESL learning experience and its relation, if any, to their academic achievement? The "reflective narratives" related by the parents and adolescent children shed light on the language socialization process and the social identities of both students and parents. Key emergent issues included differences in educational systems, tests and homework, pressure and discipline, and progress in ESL learning. Parents expressed dissatisfaction with the extreme aspects of the education system in Taiwan, indicating that a prime reason for emigration to Canada was their children's education. Nonetheless, parents' remarks also revealed deep discomfort and dissatisfaction with the holistic learner-centered approaches prevalent in Canadian schools and what were perceived as overly long periods spent in ESL classes without clear external markers for achievement or criteria for advancement. As parents compared and "weighed" their children's academic experiences in Taiwan and Canada, the balance tipped toward the lockstep, test-oriented Taiwanese type of formal academic learning, featuring authoritarian roles for teachers and parents. Parents' comments thus revealed a profound ambivalence. Students' remarks also showed them to be caught between two systems and two cultures, with divergent learning styles, and two authorities, the parent and the teacher, with differing values and expectations. The study identifies the apparent depth of difference between the views of parents and the classroom practices of Canadian teachers concerning English as a Second Language and academic achievement and suggests a possible model for use in bridging and accommodating those differences.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/7862
Series/Report no. UBC Retrospective Theses Digitization Project [http://www.library.ubc.ca/archives/retro_theses/]

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